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Surging jet fuel prices could lead to rise in plane ticket costs

Sticker shock at the pump and on planes means higher prices for travel this summer.

With gasoline prices currently at record high levels, jet fuel prices are following suit. According to industry experts, the cost of jet fuel is the highest it's been since 2014.

The costs are a blow for airlines, said Scott Miller, Harrisburg International Airport's deputy director of business development. Miller noted companies are still trying to chase down the profits they lost during the pandemic.

“Air fares aren't coming down," Miller said. "The airlines have spent [the] last two years hemorrhaging cash. They're just bleeding money, so they're trying to get profitable again."

Miller explained there are several factors contributing to higher ticket prices, including staffing shortages, lack of business travel and fuel.

However, to try and recoup some of those losses, Miller said airlines could begin passing along the extra cost of higher jet fuel onto passengers through fuel surcharges. He said they're unpopular for both airline and consumers because they often come off as deceptive when tacked onto base fares.

“What will happen is...they'll add $50 to the ticket," Miller said. "If today oil costs $100 a barrel and in June its $200 barrel—let's hope not, but if it is—you bought your ticket at a much reduced cost for fuel. So, sometimes you'll see a surcharge later as you get closer to the time of departure.”

Meanwhile, airlines are currently trying to get ahead of the crisis.

American Airlines Global Communications Specialist Andrew Trull wrote to FOX43 saying, in part, “American doesn’t hedge fuel prices, and it isn’t something we’re considering at this time.”

The only good news in this ongoing fuel crisis? It could take time before travelers see the fuel price hikes in tickets.

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