Flight prices soar 30pc as airlines cash in on travel chaos

·2 min read
gatwick flight travel chaos flight prices - OLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
gatwick flight travel chaos flight prices - OLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Airline tickets have soared by a third for British travellers attempting summer getaways, as airlines cash in on travel chaos.

The cost of a ticket on the top 36 routes out of the UK was on average 30pc higher than pre-pandemic levels in the first week of August, according to travel agency Kayak.

Passengers booking short-haul flights from UK airports face the steepest price increases, with average airfares from London to Athens and Portugal's Algarve now more than double what they were in 2019.

The rise in prices comes amid a wave of flight cancellations, which is creating huge demand for seats on flights still running.

One in every 14 flights from Gatwick was cancelled in June, pushing up airfares for those flights that did happen.

Customers looking to book last-minute breaks have faced particularly steep price increases, after British Airways halted short-haul bookings for the first two weeks of August. The decision sent ticket prices spiralling within hours of the announcement, as passengers raced to book with other carriers.

Airlines have been cancelling flights due to staff shortages as companies struggle to hire post-pandemic. Passengers have faced lengthy delays for flights that have gone ahead, as airports also struggle to hire security staff following the end of pandemic restrictions.

The price increases have been across the board, including at discount carriers. Wizz Air said earlier this year that ticket prices would rise by 10pc over the summer.

On average, ticket prices to destinations in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East were up by around 20pc in the first week of August compared to 2019 levels, Kayak said. Some routes have doubled in price, including London to Bangkok, as a result of pent-up demand for gap-year getaways and as more Asian destinations start reopening to visitors.

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary said last month that airfares were “too cheap” and predicted at least five years of rising prices.