SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Flight-tracking experts at Hopper say the average cost for a domestic roundtrip ticket was $330 dollars in March. Ticket prices are up 40% from the beginning of this year. Hopper predicts the average round-trip ticket to continue going up in price by 10% through May. In that scenario, a round-trip ticket would cost as much as $360. This report comes as leisure travel is making a comeback and oil prices are rising.

At the Springfield-Branson National Airport, some folks say they haven’t seen prices go up too much. The airport also hasn’t implemented a fuel surcharge. But, Lea Sykes tells OzarksFirst she paid nearly $700 for a connecting flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Jackson, Mississippi.

“That to me is ridiculous, a round-trip ticket worth $700 from Springfield, Missouri,” Sykes said. “Normally the prices here have never been that expensive to me ever. They definitely climbed. It’s just becoming ridiculous to go anywhere. You want to get away. This is a time you need to get away just to relieve yourself of the stress of what’s going on.”

Sykes says her situation is frustrating, as she was headed to her father’s funeral out of town.

“You have to make sure that you have that money set aside, especially if you have something like what I have, a funeral to go to,” Sykes said. “I paid double for my baggage claim.”

OzarksFirst spoke with Linda Overend, manager of The Travel Group in Springfield. Overend says reserving a seat on a plane has also gotten more expensive. Seats that used to cost $40 are now sometimes as much as $100.

She tells OzarksFirst that Springfield also doesn’t have as many flights as it used to have.

“I think that’s because they don’t have the equipment, and they don’t have the personnel,” Overend said. “I think during the pandemic a lot of the pilots took early retirement. Now we’re in trouble.”

Considering the circumstances, she has told her clients to be as flexible as they can. She recommends booking a trip in advance, which would give you a much better price than if you bought last-minute tickets.

“We are seeing people balk and say, ‘Oh my gosh are you kidding me? I went last year, two years, three years ago and I paid half of that,” Overend said. “It is what it is. It’s just like going to a grocery store and finding a loaf of bread. It’s gone up twice as much as it was a few weeks ago.”

Even with prices going up, she says that hasn’t stopped some people from buying a plane ticket anyway.

“There’s a pent-up demand,” Overend said. “People want to go places. They want to go domestic. They want to go to Florida and California. We’re seeing people who want to travel, booking flights and going to Paris, or London. They’re still traveling.”   

She tells OzarksFirst some people have been selective about where they’re headed, especially during the Russia-Ukraine war.