Travel agents say rise in flight prices is not deterring clients

Trade eyes first meaningful revenue in two years

Travel agents say rise in flight prices is not deterring clients

Agents say higher pricing is not putting customers off booking Easter breaks as they eye their first meaningful income for two years.

The trade reported “astronomical” prices for flights, despite Jet2 and easyJet last week adding more than 100,000 seats to destinations in Spain and Portugal to meet surging demand.

Cruise Nation owner Phil Evans warned airfares would be “an issue” in the coming months. He said: “You can see that flight prices are astronomical. The demand is there but it’s quite expensive.”

Evans said flights from Heathrow to Rome in May would “normally be around £200” but were currently “£350 per seat”. “Flights [cost] as much as a cruise,” he added.

Hamish Kaumaya, managing director of homeworking agency Travel-PA, said pricing reflected high demand. “You can quote a price and 24 hours later the cabin class could be gone,” he said.

Kaumaya said about 45% of Travel-PA’s 85 homeworkers had made their first new booking in two years in the past two months.

Neil Basnett, co-owner of Holiday Inspirations in Stratford-upon-Avon, said he booked a family of four to Egypt, departing April 12, and noticed the price went up by £1,500 the next day. “That’s because of flight availability,” he said. “The customers are absolutely delighted.”

Paul Hardwick, Fred Olsen Travel’s head of commercial, also reported customers were willing to splash out.

Speaking on Monday at the opening of the agency’s 17th shop, in Heathfield, East Sussex, he said: “They have been sitting on their cash and now everything they book, they are wanting to do it slightly better.”

Hardwick added that the average booking value across the agency’s network had rocketed from £3,600 pre-pandemic to £5,000.

Premier Travel director Paul Waters said customers at its 24 branches were spending “a bit more” but still wanted value for money.

Advantage Travel Partnership leisure director Kelly Cookes said high prices were due to a capacity squeeze triggered by rebookings of holidays held over from the past two years. But she stressed: “There are still some good deals out there.”

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