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High demand, low supply cause pricey airfare, experts say

"Flights that normally that would go for $500 or $600, they're upwards of $900 to $1,000 a ticket," Sylvania-based travel advisor Christianne Box said.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — If you're still hoping to book a flight for spring break, prepare for high airfare.

Christianne Box, a travel advisor with Central Travel's Sylvania branch, said those who haven't begun spring break travel planning will "be in for quite a surprise" as domestic and international travel prices have nearly doubled from what was normal in years past.

"Flights that normally that would go for $500 or $600, they're upwards of $900 to $1,000 a ticket," Box said.

But why?

Erik Gordon, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business said a simple economics concept is the cause: a high demand for flights and fewer planes available means expensive tickets.

There are multiple factors in play, though, Gordon said.

"In part because of a holdover from (the COVID-19 pandemic), in part because of a labor shortage and in part because you make more money flying fewer airlines each of which is full of people paying higher prices," he said.

Labor shortages in particular are taking a toll on the airline industry.

"You get on an airplane ... you see pilots and flight attendants, but it takes a lot more people to get a plane in the air," Gordon said. "People loading the baggage, people working the gates, people working in maintenance and scheduling."

Box said pricey airfare is causing travelers to rethink their plans.

"If our clients have their passports ready to go, we can give them those options and present to them something that is going to hopefully be easier to swallow on the budget," she said.

High demand and low supply can lead to more expensive products. But the inverse can lead to prices falling, Gordon said.

He said while rising and falling airfare prices are a cycle and costs will go down eventually, it is hard to predict when.

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