After dozens of flight cancellations and passengers being stranded at several European airports in the summer months, we are now finding out how much it will cost to fly from autumn. Can we still afford to book flight tickets from September, or will increasing ticket prices make us forget about air travel in the upcoming period?
This summer has seen air chaos across Europe due to cancellations and delays of low-cost flights. There have been several issues in the last couple of months. Tourists stranded at European airports, lost or forgotten luggage, extra costs passed on to passengers and even the consumer protection procedure launched and won in the first round by the Hungarian government. And it is still not the end.
Reasons and upcoming difficulties
The upcoming months will bring new challenges for airlines and, thus, for tourists who plan to travel in the autumn. One reason is that fuel prices have risen significantly as a result of the war in Ukraine, where countries have imposed trade restrictions on oil from Russia. Lower demand at the time of the pandemic turned into a sudden increase in demand after the restrictions were lifted, putting a strain on immediately available oil supplies – reported by Roadster. Another important factor is labor shortage. Although the number of people wanting to fly has increased significantly, the pandemic has still left much of the aviation industry with reduced human resources. In addition, there is also constant dissatisfaction among existing workers, who are protesting across Europe in the hope of higher salaries and better working conditions. For this reason, many airlines have reduced their flights to avoid possible mass delays and cancellations due to weather and staffing problems. Scott’s Cheap Flights estimates that there are currently 15-20 percent fewer flights than needed.
Declining travel demand
However, the situation has improved somewhat with the reduction in the number of flights in July. In June, with several last-minute cancellations a day, many flights were delayed for 2-3 hours or more. Today there are only a few major delays a day. Even the performance of Wizz at Gatwick, which is usually the most delayed flight, is improving steadily – reported by Forbes. However, there is no news of this in the press, news portals rather report about the extreme, chaotic situations. After an incredibly strong touristic season in the summer, the effect of media may have had something to do with the autumn ticket prices that have started to drop in recent weeks. Additionally, the continuously increasing inflation, the gas crisis and the risk of recession are also among the factors due to which people are giving up on traveling, and rather save money for the forthcoming period.
Is the era of cheap tickets over?
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, recently said that the era of the € 10 ticket is coming to an end and that passengers will not see such offers in the coming years. Up to now, this tendency could be experienced in the latest two months. Airline costs have risen brutally in the last period, mainly due to the skyrocketing fuel prices. As a result, low-cost airlines have only been able to fill their planes at high prices during this short summer peak. However, the pricing strategy might change for the autumn due to the declining travel demand.
As for now, there is indeed a price increase in the cheapest ticket category, but the difference is not significant. Numerically, the most popular € 10 tickets are offered for € 15 for the autumn-winter period by the two cheapest low-cost operators. However, we can still choose some routes to Budapest for less than € 10 which is even cheaper than the HUF 3,900 (~ EUR 9,54) passenger tax. In addition, many destinations are still available from Budapest for the same price. Therefore, for the vast majority of passengers, ticket prices will not be the primary determinant of whether to take the next trip.
Source: forbes.hu, roadster.hu