CLT Airport ranked #2 in country for highest airfare increase during first part of 2022

The report was based on solely on the first quarter of this year looking at the average flight costs, percent of price increases, and the dollar amount for 2021 and 2022.
This report was based on solely on the first quarter of this years looking at the average flight costs, percent of price increases, and the dollar amount
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - People flying out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport this year have seen a sharp increase in flight prices.

That known fact by travelers is now backed up by data from Smart Asset which ranked Charlotte Douglas as #2 in the country for airports with the largest increase in airfare.

The financial tech fire analyzed data from 100 airports across the country to build this list. Smart Asset looked at the average flight costs, percent of price increases, and the dollar amount for 2021 compared to 2022.

Related: Charlotte Douglas International Airport ranks among top 10 for most delays, cancellations this summer

Passengers leaving Charlotte Douglas during the first quarter paid $382 on average for their flight.

Year-over-year, that’s more than a 36% increase leaving passengers paying $102 more.

Vigal Chokshi of Charlotte said, “I can feel it every time I book a ticket, things are really volatile and it’s really frustrating that prices are getting doubled compared to last year.”

Nationally, the average airfare increased by 26% with flights costing $328.

That’s $54 cheaper than Charlotte, one reason why it’s ranked second on the list.

Susannah Snider, the managing editor of Financial Education for SmartAsset said, “this is a list in which you do not want to see your home airport score in the top 10 and unfortunately for people in Charlotte, their airport did.”

Chokshi added, “we definitely had to cut down on the vacations,”

Experts say there are a few reasons for this increase nationally.

The increased cost of fuel, increased flight demand, and staffing issues.

Ethan Klapper, a Senior Aviation Reporter for The Points Guy said, “when you have that, they have to pass it on to consumers and it has become very expensive to fly.”

On a local level in Charlotte, those points still apply, but American Airlines has a lot to do with it.

“American Airlines rather uniquely controls 90% of the capacity at Charlotte Douglas airport and that gives American Airlines a lot of pricing power,” said Klapper.

WBTV reached out to American Airlines about the data for Charlotte and the airline responded: “American’s fares out of Charlotte (CLT) are competitive for the market. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on future pricing plans for specific markets or routes.”

Snider said, “I would look into a nearby regional airport if the drive isn’t too difficult, there are two airports in your area that are smaller and regional and did not rank quite as high.”

SmartAsset tells WBTV, that Raleigh-Durham International Airport ranked 46th on the list and Piedmont Triad International Airport ranked 59th.

If you’re not willing to travel far from Charlotte, the Concord Padgett Regional Airport, just north of Charlotte offers cheaper flights to several cities in Florida as an alternative flying option.

Chokshi said, “we don’t know what’s the right time to book, flights are fluctuating more than the stock market.”

SmartAsset offered this advice to travelers trying to find the best deals.

“The first would be thinking about flying midweek, so Tuesdays or Wednesday are going to be better in terms of prices than a weekend, the second thing would be those unpopular times, early in the morning or the last flight of the night,” said Snider.

Travel experts from ‘The Points Guys’ tell me that fall should be a cheaper season for people to travel with demand naturally lower and decreasing cost of fuel nationally.

As for prices in Charlotte, experts say don’t expect a drastic drop with American Airlines controlling most of the flights.