Flight hacks: How to find cheap airline tickets as fuel prices spike

Sky-high domestic flight costs expected after Russian invasion of Ukraine

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Flight hacks: How to find cheap airline tickets as fuel prices spike
Here's how to find cheap flights from Chicago as the fallout from Russia's invasion on Ukraine causes a ripple effect of problems.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The fallout from Russia's invasion on Ukraine is causing a ripple effect of problems. In the U.S. and here in the Chicago area, experts expect sky-high domestic flight costs.

"I'm looking for two places Las Vegas with family and Paris, I'd like to go there in fall. I'm looking now so I can capture a flight that is not cost prohibitive," B.J. Parker of Chicago told the I-Team. She has big travel plans for the future, but is nervous about budgeting for flights.

"I'm going to look at Cheap Air, Southwest, Expedia, I'm looking at all flights," she added.

SEE ALSO | Russian oil ban expected to make high US gas prices worse; CA reaches $7 a gallon

Parker said the air prices she's seen so far are 50% higher since the invasion on Ukraine. But she has limited time, so flying is the best option.

"Global markets are connected, and one of the biggest things folks need to keep in mind is the price of oil. Jet fuel tends to be one of the very biggest expenses," said travel expert Willis Orlando at Scott's Cheap Flights.

As Spring Break approaches, consumers will likely be paying more to fly domestically.

"We've already seen average fares hop up about 2% In the first part of this year. That's going to continue in the near future," he warned.

SEE ALSO | US banning Russian oil imports as Biden warns of 'costs' to Americans

Traveling to Asia will likely have more stops to avoid Russian airspace. But traveling abroad may now be cheaper, due to people's concerns over the conflict.

Experts say European airlines are locking in their jet fuel prices so travel to Europe likely won't increase, plus lower demand to Europe during a war could also lower prices.

"When demand is low, airlines have to put things on sale in order to sell those tickets," Orlando said. "We saw a $420 nonstop roundtrip flight, for example, from Chicago to Portugal. If you're planning to travel to Europe, the summer time or the fall, it might be a good opportunity to actually lock in those fares now.

When looking for less expensive flights, always book early and add flexibility to your travel dates. Try to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

You can also look to see if using one airline for departure and another airline for your return will give you a better price.