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Summer airline season expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels amid gas price hike

Rising costs at the pump are impacting the cost of jet fuel while airlines are working to maintain normal operations.

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — Another day, another record high for gas prices, but the rising costs at the pump are impacting all forms of summer travel, including air travel. 

It's making plane tickets more expensive as the summer travel season is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, according to travelers FOX61 spoke to Tuesday at Bradley International Airport.

With a shortage of airline workers, travel is causing headaches for some travelers. 

Lee Perrine’s family vacation is off to a rough start and his plans to take his 18- month-old daughter to Disney World are set back almost a full day after their flight was canceled early Tuesday morning. 

"Our families are waiting for us, we won't get in until midnight now. I’m sitting here at the airport now for 16 hours instead of getting to my family in Florida," said Perrine. 

RELATED: Gas prices soar above $5/gal. in Connecticut, new record high prices

It's a problem many airlines have been experiencing, a shortage of airline staff mixed with a new demand for trips. 

"We’re expecting we will be back at pre-pandemic levels and maybe exceed pre-pandemic levels between now and Labor Day," said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA).  

Bradley is expecting 10,000 passengers flying out of Windsor Locks each day, and at a time when gas, food and other costs are going up, traveling is causing a strain on customers' wallets. 

“There's definitely been an effect with prices going up. Now getting through COVID, people are getting antsy and willing and wanting to travel, not only flying but also taking long trips," said Paul Hirschauer of Woodbury. 

RELATED: Rising diesel prices hurt Connecticut businesses

As the summer travel season gets underway and a record number of people are looking for tickets, it's still unclear if and when prices will start to come down.

The rising cost of jet fuel is a problem for the industry but they work to keep operations normal, according to a Frontier Airlines spokesperson.

"We have to operate business as usual but that is a growing concern but we feel we’re not the only airline that has to deal with that it’s just part of doing business," said Will Evans, senior manager at Frontier Airlines.

As for summer traveling tips, it's important to get to the airport early. 

Plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before your flight is set to depart, CAA officials advise. Also, come prepared with your parking plans already in order whether that's parking in the parking garage or a different lot. 

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Travelers can also order food at the airport ahead of time by ordering on mobile apps. Instead of waiting in long lines, customers can pick up their food right away. 

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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