Autumn sales start

By | Category: Travel news

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have both announced air fare sales. And this was before August was out! And by British Airways, that means that associated airlines, American and Iberia also are included.

I used to say to people that they should wait to book air tickets till about the middle of September because that was when the sales started. Now, it seems to get earlier and earlier. But how much of a sale are they?

In the last two years air fares have risen across the board as airlines merged and they cut out loss-making routes. As the economy began to pick to up so did fares. It is a cruel fact of life that the cheapest fares tend to be in times of econominc downturn. Some commentators write that high APD charges would reduce the number of people seeking airline seats but that has yet to shine through in any strong way. Therefore airlines managed to get price rises through.

Looking at a Heathrow- New York ticket where there is a lot of competition anyway, BA is charging £420.45 for a flight in mid-October. Virgin Atlantic is charging £ 460.45 for flights on the same day. Just two or three years ago the price would have been £ 100 cheaper.

Both airlines compete on the London-Edinburgh route now. A return flight for one of the cheapest days of the week, a Wednesday (and I’ve picked 23rd October) is £107.97 on Virgin and £167.97 of roughly the same flight times on BA if you fly from Heathrow. Fly from Gatwick on BA, however, and he fare is just £103.72. But if you look at the cost of an easyJet flight for the same day from Gatwick it is £59.43. (paying with a credit card but no baggage; adding a hold bag brings the fare to £80.96) And easyJet has no sale!

General the best fares will be found where there is lots of competition. Apart from New York look at flights to the Canaries, the Balearics, southern Spain and don’t just opt for an airline that says it has a sale. It still might be cheaper to use a no-frills airline.a

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