WHY ARE FLIGHTS CURRENTLY EXPENSIVE ?

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  • FLIGHTS PRICES ON MOST DESTINATIONS ARE FACTORED BY SEASON
  • PRICES OF GAS AND OIL PRODUCTS ARE ROOT CAUSES
  • WAR ZONES AND LONGER DETOURS ALWAYS IMPACT ON PRICES
  • THERE IS NO BALANCE IN SUPPLY AND DEMAND

 

If you’ve been browsing Travel agency sites for air travel recently, you have probably been perplexed by the prices you’re seeing. Despite your best efforts to be flexible on travel dates and airports at the destination, you just can’t seem to find that good deal you have been used to. So one would want to know why are flights currently so expensive. There are lots of factors that go into ticket pricing.

 

 

Qatar Airways -Business class -flights
Qatar Airways business class. Image by Tropical Travel

 

 

After it nearly evaporated in 2020, demand for travel is back and isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it might be higher than ever. That’s both good and bad news. As with all things, one of the biggest factors behind flight prices is the simple law of supply and demand. Demand disappeared as the pandemic first struck two years ago, forcing airlines to cut the supply of flights until it returned. Airlines dropped routes and cut frequencies, running just 20% of their normal operations or even less. Some airlines actually were grounded.

 

When more people want to fly, even if it’s on specific routes, airlines know that they can charge higher prices. When the opposite occurs and fewer travelers are looking for tickets, airlines have no other option than to lower prices to sell more.While your most recent recap of low demand might be from the pandemic, that is not the only situation that can raise or lower the desire to travel.It can be because of a range of things: weather, the season, natural disasters to mention but a few.

 

Demand Fell During the Pandemic

Naturally, flight prices plummeted (for the flights that were still taking off).  The pandemic basically stopped the travel industry temporarily . Whether it was forced due to lockdowns and closures or by choice because travelers didn’t feel safe, fewer people were looking for air tickets  during the pandemic. As the situation improved and borders opened up, the calm waters turned into a massive tidal wave. Demand skyrocketed, and those super-low ticket prices got harder to come by.

 

 

KQ -Flights
Kenya Airways – Image by CGTN Africa

 

Season Will Affect Demand

Forgetting all the fun of pandemics, demand goes up and down based on many more standard factors in the travel industry; such as the season. It is currently summer and as with summer, lots of travellers are on tour mode , headed to the best beaches and game reserves in the world. Demand is high hence airlines are taking full advantage. Destinations like Dubai , London South Africa , Bali , Mauritius and Hawaii become instant cash cows to airline operators during summer. Well, Qatar will be hosting the FIFA world cup this coming November. You can imagine what impact the tornament will have on air tickets for that route in regards to the event and season since the competition will proceed well into late december which traditionally is high season in most regions.

Traveling basically anywhere in the weeks surrounding Christmas are always double, triple, or even more than during off-season .

Jet Fuel Prices Impact 

Well, I’m sorry if you are tired of hearing aboutThe topic of  high gas prices on the news has been with us since february when Putin decided to unnecessarilly flex his muscles on one of his neighbors. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that extends far past your weekly car  fill-up and is one of the biggest contributors to higher fares on planes and all kinds of transport that entails gas and oil products.  Higher fuel costs lead to higher ticket prices.

 

 

Gulf Air- Flights
Gulf Air -Image: Wikimedia Commons

Higher Jet Fuel Prices in the 2020s

When the pandemic struck, oil prices plummeted to record lows. Combined with the virtually zero demand for flight tickets, airlines were able to offer rock-bottom fares. But the oil market recovered relatively quickly. Price rises made fuel more expensive, and this ate away at profit margins as demand recovered more slowly.  Then all hell broke loose when Putin okayed a millitary operation on a neighboring country. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made things significantly worse, driving fuel prices to all-time highs and more demand on non-Russian flights due to the international shunning of Russian airlines.  The world is currently  witnessing some seriously expensive tickets in the aftermath.

Direct v/s One Stop or Connecting Routes

If you consider the typical business trip , it often involves connecting two major cities where  business is transacted or companies are based. Since a business is less concerned with good prices and more concerned with convenient connectivity, airlines can charge premium airfares from these particular point-to-points. Direct flights are costlier than connecting flights.

If you just care about getting there and don’t mind a stop in a third city, the price decreases significantly. This is an important observation if you care more about cheap fares than the inconvenience of changing planes – it can save you some serious cash.

 Avoiding Airspace Makes Airline Tickets More Expensive

The longer the airplane spends flying, the more fuel it has to use and the more the crew has to be paid  and the higher the price becomes  and while you probably aren’t researching the route map to see how direct the journey is, you can monitor world events and travel news to get an idea of what certain things will impact on much desired low fares.

 

 

Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines- Their tickets are fairly priced but most destinations have a stop-over. Ooops, their crew is super photogenic –

Conflict Zones and Safety

In recent times, one of your first thoughts might be the Russia-Ukraine invasion, which airlines of course must avoid. For example, flights from the UK to some Asian destinations now have to make a major detour to avoid that mess leading to several extra hours of flight time and fuel. Most airlines have been avoiding North Korean airspace for many years due to the risks, which have major impacts on flights from Europe to South Korea and Japan. Basically, all war zones that usually have a flight path  will have a negative impact on pricing of air tickets occasioned by change of route which quite often means a longer route. This extra costs of mainting a route/destination will be off-setted by you the traveller. No airline wants to make lossess.

Check out the following Travel sites and their ticketing tools for comparison and possibly good deals.

  • Orbitz.
  • Agoda.
  • Hotwire.
  • Skyscanner.
  • Travelocity.
  • Google Flights.
  • CheapOair.
  • Hopper.

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