A recent investigation by Simon Calder and The Independent uncovered some startling differences in the cost of short-haul air fares. According to this research, flights to Benidorm for half-term were more expensive than flights to Bangkok, while flights to Malaga cost more than flights to Florida!
The research highlighted how airlines make the most of high demand during peak periods by inflating the price of flights to popular destinations.
As a result, it was often more expensive for travellers to fly to Spain than to book a long-haul flight to a far-flung destination.
Steve Campion, Managing Director at HDC, said: “The low-cost carriers know when demand outstrips supply, and will vary their prices accordingly. Booking a last-minute package holiday, where flights are included as part of the deal, is one way of avoiding this kind of price variation.”
According to ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2015, 51% of Brits opted for an overseas package holiday in 2014. Given the price of some budget flights, this trend looks set to continue.
With one low-cost airline, the cheapest return flight from Manchester to Alicante was £444 – and that’s without extras, such as hold luggage and food and drink. This compared to £426 for a return flight from Manchester to Bangkok with a leading long-haul airline, which included meals and a 30kg baggage allowance.
By contrast, a package holiday to Benidorm in July, including flights and 7 nights in a 4-star hotel, can cost as little as £285 per person* – that is, considerably less than the peak price of a flight to Alicante.
These prices are even more striking when differences in Air Passenger Duty are taken into account. For short-haul flights to Europe, airlines pay only £13 per passenger, while the rate for long-haul flights is £71.
Airlines defend these prices as a reflection of supply and demand: prices are highest at peak travel times and tend to increase nearer to departure. Airlines advise holidaymakers to plan and book ahead in order to avoid the heftiest of the price hikes.
However, if you’re looking for an affordable last-minute holiday in the sun, it might be cheaper to – and simpler – to book a package deal. And that is something that we can definitely help with!
Have you noticed the increase in short haul flight prices recently? Does this encourage you book a holiday further afield to make the most of the price difference?
Join in the conversation on Twitter and let us know!
* All deals correct at the time of publishing