Home Travel consultant How to Beat Rising Flight Prices on Your Next Vacation

How to Beat Rising Flight Prices on Your Next Vacation


Holidaymakers could pay up to 25% more on flights this year due to rising jet fuel prices, according to reports.

Fares for international flights could increase by 5% each month through June, said Hopper, a travel app booking app company.

Jet fuel is the largest expense for airlines and the cost per barrel has increased 62% in the last 12 months. The previous examples show that passengers could foot the bill, as carriers pass the costs on to customers.

“The last time the price of oil was this high was in July 2014, when a combination of strong demand, conflicts in Africa and the Middle East and sanctions against Iranian oil, pushed the price up to $109/barrel (higher than today)” says Bernard Lavelle, Principal Consultant at BL Aviation Consulting.

“These surcharges were slow to disappear when the price of fuel fell in the second half of 2014 and some airlines simply renamed the fuel surcharge to ‘carrier imposed surcharges’ or incorporated it into the base price”, he adds.

“Airlines stopped using the term fuel surcharge when the price of oil fell, but they wanted to maintain their margins, hence the surcharge imposed by the carriers. BA gives it a code YQ [ie a short code].

“Given the high price of oil, airlines will reconsider this issue now, but may not actually announce it. Instead, they can simply change carrier-imposed surcharges upwards.”

Among Lavelle’s advice is to check which airlines charge fuel surcharges (or surcharges imposed by the carrier). The website matrix.itasoftware.com is a way to find this detail. Choose your flight, dates and cabin and see the cost breakdown.

Not all travel industry executives and insiders believe that an increase in the price of jet fuel will translate into an increase in flight fares.

However, everyone agrees that even if these costs do not materialize, for those planning a trip abroad in the coming months, booking earlier will help you avoid possible price increases.

Indeed, according to Olivier Ponti, vice president of Insights, ForwardKeys, a flight data provider, “travel demand is on the rise again”.

It adds: “As of 15 February 2021 (which is the latest data available), UK outbound flight bookings for the summer months (July 1 – August 31) are currently at 86% of pre-March levels. pandemic (2019). Platinum Jubilee weekend bookings currently make up 94% of the end of May bank holiday in 2019.”

Here’s how to secure cheap flights in 2022 and avoid price hikes.

Book early

The repercussions of two years of border closures and travel restrictions, which have affected both travelers and, more importantly, the airline industry, will be felt for months.

John Grant, senior analyst at global travel data provider OAG, says: “Given two years of pent-up demand, large numbers of travelers still have to redeem vouchers with airlines and the risk of additional fuel surcharges being incurred. applied, then booking sooner rather than later is a smart step, especially if you’re able to book with an airline that still offers flexibility to change your travel plans.

Even those who are more skeptical of the impact of rising jet fuel costs point to the benefits of booking earlier if you’re planning a peak season break.

Noel Josephides, director of industry issues at AITO and chairman of independent tour operator Sunvil, said it is “premature” to think flight prices will rise due to fuel costs.

“Flight prices depend mainly on the seat capacity in the market compared to the demand for these seats,” he adds.

Still, Josephides agrees it’s worth booking European summer holidays now to get the best deal.

“There will be huge demands domestically from our traditional summer holiday destinations – for example, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese holidaymakers in their own country [taking breaks there]

“There will also be strong demand from all countries in Northern Europe and the Eastern Bloc: this will add to limited availability across Mediterranean Europe.”

Demand could be high again this summer, but John Strickland, aviation consultant and director of JLS Consulting, doesn’t necessarily think the pressure of the past two years will lead to airlines passing the costs on to passengers.

“The fragile nature of the recovery and competition will make it more difficult to pass through price increases, although going forward there is likely to be upward movement.”

However, his advice, based on typical demand and booking patterns, is that it’s almost always better to book ahead because the lower fares, which are limited by capacity, are more likely to be available.

Laura Lindsay, destinations and trends expert at price comparison site Skyscanner, says: “The general rule of thumb for determining the best time to find cheap flights was [before the pandemic] at least three months before departure [for long-haul] and at least one month before departure for short-haul.

She adds that if seasonal booking trends start to return, Skyscanner expects travel suppliers to continue to offer holiday deals (although not necessarily last minute) to boost consumer confidence and stay competitive.

Set up a price alert

There are some basic tactics to get the cheapest airfares whether or not fuel prices are absorbed by flight prices.

Nicky Kelvin, head of The Points Guy UK, says that while budget airlines generally sell their cheapest seats first, fares with other carriers “can fluctuate significantly throughout the year.

Kelvin suggests setting alerts on Google Flights and waiting for big sales, which happen every few months.

Lindsay offers similar advice from Skyscanner: “As seats fill up, prices go up, but airlines are watching trending destinations very closely and increasing flights on busier routes to maximize demand. In doing so, prices will match, it so it’s worth setting up a price alert for your chosen route – that way Skyscanner can email you if the cost drops.

“There are still plenty of direct return fares to European favorites in March for under £10. In August – peak summer holiday period – there are plenty of fares to France and Italy for under £30 and the UK’s favorite destination Spain can be enjoyed for under £50 .

Plan a package holiday

Tour operators that sell vacations as part of a package often charter flights to accommodate their customers.

For popular package destinations, like Orlando, Florida, these types of vacations can be especially inexpensive, more so than booking flights and accommodations separately.

You can also benefit from price agreements between tour operators and airlines, and the security offered in their terms and conditions in the event of new travel restrictions.

Josephides says: “The advantage of booking with tour operators who have commitments on charter flights is that, as they usually agree fixed prices for seats, they won’t necessarily raise prices as fuel costs rise.”

Watch out for empty charter seats

Package travel providers who book a glut of seats to UK holidaymakers’ favorite destinations may seek to sell alternative tickets – search the airlines’ own websites, such as Tui, talk to travel agents or browse flight comparison websites to find a good deal.