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How Fuel Costs Could Impact Summer Travel Plans

June 21, 2022
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If you are planning a trip this summer that involves flying, not driving, you may incorrectly assume it is possible to avoid the effects of rising fuel prices. Unfortunately for flying travelers, airlines also face the pressure of rising fuel costs. Due to stiff competition and slim profit margins, some airlines decided to cancel flights and decrease flight frequency. Learn how fuel costs may impact your summer travel plans and how to adapt if the airline cancels your flight.

Flight Cancellations and Fewer Flight Schedules

Some airlines have already announced cuts in their summer flight schedules because of rising fuel costs. Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, and other smaller or budget airlines feel the squeeze. They are planning to decrease flight frequency during relatively low-demand times.1

Flight cancellations may also occur, depending on demand. If a particular flight is only 40% or 50% full, it may operate at a net loss to the airline. Budget-conscious airlines may cancel flights that have not sold enough of the available seats within a couple of weeks before flight time.

Preparing for Summer Travel Uncertainty

It is difficult to predict how fuel costs might affect a specific trip. However, you may consider a few things to give yourself greater flexibility if your flight changes.

Check refund policies

Carefully review the refund policies of any airline you use to make a reservation. Airlines that cancel flights may give you credit instead of refunding your purchase. This policy may make it tougher to have enough funds to book a flight with a different airline.

Choose flexible vendors

You may also not want to lock yourself into a non-refundable Airbnb or hotel reservation if there is a chance you may need to reschedule after a canceled flight. Choosing vendors with flexible or generous refund policies may help manage the stress associated with last-minute cancellations caused by an airline.

Have a backup plan

Consider potential backup options. For example, if you count on making a specific flight to allow you to board a cruise ship on time, review other flights and hotel options. Determine if going a day earlier might provide extra time if the airline cancels your flight.

Consider driving instead

You may also consider renting a car and driving instead of flying. However, this alternative may require more lead time than is available for last-minute flight cancellations, depending on the distance.

What To Do if a Flight is Canceled

If the airline cancels your flight, do not panic. Instead, explore your options.

Contact the airline to see if you may be able to rebook the trip on a later flight traveling to the same destination, sometimes even later that day. You may be able to get a partial refund or flight credits, depending on the flight time and whether you have any connecting flights.

Investigate whether other flights are traveling to that destination during the same time frame. You may be able to leave from or fly to a different airport for less disruption to your schedule.

Consider your other travel options—car or train. Though it may not be feasible for a long distance, shorter trips by car or train might be possible instead.






Footnote

1 Airlines Begin To Cut Flying as They Grapple with Fuel Costs, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-08/airlines-begin-to-cut-flying-as-they-grapple-with-fuel-cost-jump


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

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