The most talked about obstacle to most pandemic travel has been inflated flight prices. Has the bubble finally burst?
Data from Flight Centre shows that in the back-half of 2023, an outbound economy ticket was on average, $280 cheaper than in 2022. And Flight Centre analysts tip that the trend will continue.
Business class and first flight prices have also dropped by around 8 per cent. This represents savings of around $834 for business class flights and $1282 for first-class flights.
What do the experts say?
Flight Centre Corporate MD for ANZ/Global FCM COO Melissa Elf said: “We’ve spent some time now assuring our travellers that as airlines continue to recover. As capacity and competition comes back to the network, our travellers would start to see the cost of travel drop.
“We’re starting to see the signs of exactly that. And although we’ve still got some way to go yet in terms of getting back to full capacity, particularly internationally, there’s no doubt we’re beginning to feel the positive effects.”
This comes as a welcome relief, with Skyscanner reporting that plenty of Australians are having trouble with flight prices.
Skyscanner’s Australia Travel Expert Jarrod Kris said: “According to Skyscanner’s 2024 Travel Trends Report, travel remains a top priority for Aussies this year. Despite the rising cost of living and 42 per cent of Australians reporting flight costs as their highest cost factor, 35 per cent have admitted to budgeting the same if not more for travel compared to 2023.”
What are the predictions for flight prices?
However, this isn’t stopping the bookings from rolling in. In tandem, Kris predicts we are approaching a level of demand and competition that will see prices continue to drop.
“When we look at this past December compared to December 2022, Australia has seen a 44 per cent increase in bookings. This indicates the increase of travel interest has no sign of slowing down. With January almost at an end, the travel industry appears to have a busy and exciting 2024 ahead of it. A whopping 40 per cent of Aussies are looking to increase their travel this year. Around 35 per cent accounting for the cost-of-living and increasing their travel budget.
“January is the peak booking time for many travellers and across Skyscanner platforms we are seeing some record-breaking numbers as we start the year.
“Airlines and destinations will need to compete for this demand, and we are already seeing seat sales being put into the market to this effect.”
The airline shaking up Europe
Elf says that the regions that are experiencing price drops for Australians are those adding airfare capacity, such as Southeast Asia, New Zealand and North America. This isn’t all good news for keen cruisers, with prices staying more stagnant in key destinations like Europe.
“There’s more room for prices to drop to destinations like the Middle East, New Zealand, and North America. For example, which are at pre-2019 capacity levels of 81 per cent, 86 percent and 91 per cent respectively.
“There’s still restricted capacity on European flights. And that’s the last frontier we need to conquer for customers to feel relief on routes to the likes of the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. This is evidenced by softer airfare decreases to these destinations.
“With demand into Europe high, it’s critical more flights and competition are added. The recent announcement like the granting of slots to Turkish Airlines being exactly what the industry needs for prices to drop even further.”
Sharon Summerhayes, owner of Deluxe Travel & Cruise says Turkish Airlines are definitely making an impact for Australians looking to cruise.
“It’s great news that we are getting a new international airline here. I’m sure they’re going to shake things up!
“My clients that have flown Turkish Airlines have had great experiences with them. Being the biggest airline by destination outside of the USA, they’re going to be a very convenient option for a lot of travellers.”
Want to cruise? Here’s when to save on flight prices
Skyscanner has exclusively gathered data for Cruise Passenger on the best times that you can jet off to some of the hottest cruise destinations like Europe, the Caribbean and Alaska.
Kris says: “Every destination around the world, has a month which is cheapest to book.
“While it is curious to see what months are the cheapest to travel in, Skyscanner also has the insight of which months have peak search volume for 2024.
“For example, while there may be peak interest to travel to Athens in March and April (possibly for school holidays), the cheapest month show us October and November are the best time to fly.
“Alternatively, Rome’s peak search volume is May, aligned with the cheapest month.”
- Athens – Fly return from Sydney for as low as AU$854 for flights in October and November
- Rome – Fly from Melbourne for as low as AU$883 for flights in February, March, April, May and June
- London – Fly return from Brisbane for as low as AU$1206 for flights in February
- Florida – Fly return from Sydney for as low as AU$1330 in February
- Alaska – Fly return from Melbourne for as low as AU$1383 in March