Surging airfares, gas prices make for expensive Memorial Day weekend

From the roads, to the air, travel this Memorial Day weekend was more expensive than usual.

Airlines are blaming the spiking fares on steeper jet fuel prices, coupled with a rapid surge in demand for leisure travel and too few flights. Staffing shortages remain a key issue for a number of airlines.

"It’s chaos, I mean the airports are so full right," said Karen Brennan, who was at SFO on Monday, heading back home to Wyoming after flying in for her best friend’s wedding. 

Travel site Hopper reports that domestic airfares into the summer are averaging more than $400 dollars a round trip, 24 percent higher than this time in 2019 and a 45 percent price increase from just one year ago.  

"To come to San Francisco would usually be $300 bucks a person," said Brennan. Instead, she says this weekend's Sonoma getaway, cost $600 dollars a ticket.

"As a family of four, I had to save, and be prepared for the cost of gas here for the car, and the flights," said Brennan.

For those opting to hit the road instead this Memorial Day, spiking gas prices didn't make driving any more affordable.

"Prices are just too high man," said Miguel Solis, who was getting gas after driving his family of six back from Santa Cruz on Monday.

"From San Francisco to Santa Cruz it’s about $140," said Solis.    

The average price of gas in California, hit $6 a gallon for the first time ever this weekend.  

"No, I’m not happy, I’m not happy at all," said Renata Hobbs, who was filling up on Monday after driving to Bodega Bay for a wedding. Industry analysts blame the soaring costs on tight supplies, volatilty in the crude oil market and the war in Ukraine.

"You’re going to weigh it between is it cheaper to fly or cheaper to drive, but is it going to stop you from doing anything, probably not," said Hobbs.

"We would typically go to Seattle, and we’re not 100 percent sure we’ll do that right now, and Disneyland in October, I really wanted to go, but again I’ll have to save up all Summer to decide by September," said Brennan. 

Analysts are expecting travel to remain busy through the summer, with some estimating that air travel will be either be on par with, or eclipse pre-pandemic levels.