Americans are on the move again, encouraged by the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. And that could be bad news for anyone hoping to strike a deal over a summer vacation this year. More than 1.28 million people passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports on Thursday, according to data released by the government agency. It is the third highest number of people to pass through airports in the United States since mid-March last year, when public health officials warned against travel as the number of cases of COVID-19 across the country has skyrocketed. The only two days that saw more travelers occurred around the Christmas and New Years holiday season. The milestone comes even as health officials maintained their travel warnings. When the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its interim recommendations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 this week, the agency notably did not update its travel guidelines. But millions of Americans have been vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, leading to a drop in the number of cases. “The fact that the number of TSA checkpoints continues to climb 5% each week underscores the optimism that travelers feel at all levels,” said Scott Keyes, founder and chief flight expert of the website. travel Scott’s Cheap Flights. Seniors, in particular, are taking off. Citing recently released data on Bank of America BAC credit card spending, + 1.39%, Keyes noted that seniors are currently booking flights three times higher than millennials. Seniors have been among the first to have access to vaccines. “With the acceleration of vaccinations and all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1, their world will soon be our whole world,” Keyes said. From now on, discounts are always available. Among the amazing deals Keyes has found are $ 199 round-trip flights to Alaska and $ 179 round-trip to Cancun. But that won’t be the case forever, and most travel experts have recommended vacationers plan their spring and summer trip as early as possible. “There are certainly still some discounts, but they’re mostly with companies not adapting quickly enough to the surge in demand that’s happening right now,” said Jordan Staab, president of the Hopjump travel website. “We advise all of our subscribers to book their travel as early as possible and take advantage of the deals while they last.” A number of factors are expected to cause airline ticket prices to rise in the near future – and the growing number of Americans being vaccinated is just one of them. “’There are certainly still some discounts in the market, but they are mainly for companies that are not adapting quickly enough to the increase in demand that is happening now.’ – Jordan Staab, president of the Hopjump travel website Part of the problem is that carriers have reduced capacity due to the pandemic. Airlines have taken the planes out of service and reduced the number of flights they make daily to reduce their losses with so few people traveling. These companies can’t just flip a switch and get things back to normal because more people now want to travel. “The number of domestic flights remains down about 30% from 2019 in April – in other words, supply is down and if demand increases, fares will rise,” said Edward Russell, a airline reporter for the Skift travel journal. Gas prices are another factor. This week, gasoline futures – which are contracts that guide fuel prices in the coming months – hit the highest closing price for more than two years earlier this week. Travel is expected to pick up overall, which means there is more demand for fuel. Airlines will eventually begin to price these higher costs into the air fares they present to customers, Staab said. Another factor that airlines need to consider when pricing future flights is the glut of vouchers they have provided over the past year. Rather than providing cash refunds to customers who canceled trips due to the pandemic, in most cases airlines have offered vouchers instead. In some cases, these vouchers have expiration dates 2021. And anyway, people who hold these vouchers may feel better about traveling now and wanting to cash them out. “Airlines will seek to recoup some of their losses from last year and will look to raise prices as demand increases,” Staab said. What about international travel? “It should be noted that this boom is almost entirely aimed at domestic travel,” said David Slotnick, senior aviation reporter at The Points Guy. At present, it is still difficult to travel abroad due to the precautions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. All air passengers are required by the CDC to have a negative COVID test or documents they have recovered from the disease before boarding a flight from another country to the United States – even if they are US citizens. Indeed, flight research data shows more reluctance to travel outside the United States. Searches for summer domestic flights actually exceeded pre-2019 pandemic volume at the end of February and have increased 22% since then, according to data from the Hopper travel app. But this is not the case for international flights. Searches for these trips were still down 45% from 2019 levels at the start of March. “As sentiment around international summer travel improves, we’ll likely see a much longer recovery horizon compared to domestic travel,” said Adit Damodaran, economist at Hopper. .