Half-term flights ‘42% more expensive’ than before Covid pandemic, says Which?

Consumer group Which? said the typical price of a one-way ticket for a seven-day holiday in October half-term was £212, compared with £150 in 2019

Flights for half-term holidays are 42% more expensive on average than before the coronavirus pandemic, new analysis shows.

Consumer group Which? said the typical price of a one-way ticket for the week-long school holiday in October booked six months, three months and six weeks in advance was £212.

By comparison, a ticket for the same period cost just £150 in 2019 - a price difference of £62.

The increase in ticket prices has been blamed on rising fuel costs, a surge in demand for travel after Covid restrictions eased, and airport passenger caps.

Flights for half-term holidays are 42% more expensive on average than before the coronavirus pandemic, Which? says (Photo: Getty Images)

Travellers ‘paying through the nose’

Which? analysed prices from data company Skytra for flights from six of England’s busiest airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton and Birmingham – to six popular destinations. This included Alicante, Antalya, Dubai, Dublin, Malaga and Tenerife.

The largest price increase was seen on flights from Heathrow to Tenerife.

Passengers booking six weeks before departure paid an average of £262 more each way than in 2019, adding £2,096 to the cost of a holiday for a family of four, Which? said.

Meanwhile, flights from Gatwick to Dublin booked at the same time increased from £42 in 2019 to £160 this year.

As well as soaring prices, holidaymakers have had to deal with delays, flight cancellations and long queues at airports during the first half of the year due to staff shortages across the aviation industry.

Several airlines have also announced strikes in disputes over pay, causing further disruption to travellers.

Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said travellers are “paying through the nose” and called on the government to give the Civil Aviation Authority more powers to tackle “unacceptable disruption”.

Mr Hobbs said: “Travellers have had a torrid time this year and our analysis shows they’re paying through the nose for their trouble.

“With fares so high, it’s even more important that airports and airlines are held to account for the unacceptable disruption travellers have faced.

“The government should give the Civil Aviation Authority stronger powers so it can hit operators with heavy fines when they flout the rules.”

What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?

If your flights are part of a package holiday you will either be offered alternative travel or a full refund, but if you purchased the flights alone, your compensation depends on when your flight is cancelled and how long you are delayed for.

If your flight is cancelled, your airline should offer you the choice of an alternative flight or a refund.

If your flight is cancelled with less than two weeks’ notice, you may be able to claim compensation based on the timings of the alternative flight.

The amount you are entitled to also depends on how far you were travelling. For flights under 1,500km, you can claim up to £220 per person, and for flights more than 3,500km, you can claim up to £520 per person.

Airlines must also offer sufficient drink and accommodation if your flight is cancelled at short notice and your new flight is the following day. This assistance must also be offered if your flight is delayed by at least two hours.