Dubai: Airlines are turning up the heat this summer as ticket prices rise between 10 to 15 per cent compared to previous months, according to experts in the travel industry.
Prices of flight tickets fluctuate seasonally, explains Manu Mehrotra, general manager at Al Tayer Travel Agency.
“It’s all about supply and demand. In the months leading to summer, travellers go on a booking frenzy leaving a limited number of seats behind and forcing airlines to hike ticket prices,” he said.
“The prices change depending on the availability of seats,” he added.
Buying a round trip economy class ticket to London at today’s price via Al Tayer can cost you between Dh3,800 to Dh4,200, when you could have saved a few hundred dirhams if you had bought it in mid January for around Dh3,500.
At tour operator Alpha Tours, a round trip economy class ticket to Paris costs approximately Dh3,800 today, while in January it stood at around Dh3,000.
So buying a ticket months in advance can save you money, according to Mehrotra.
“The earlier you book, the lower the prices, “he said.
So when is it early enough to book your ticket? At Sharaf Travel, travellers have started booking tickets from March, according to Aloke Dey, holidays manager at the travel agency.
If you’re a last minute planner, you can still fly this summer at a price you can afford.
Flight ticket prices are expected to drop in the month of Ramadan, which falls between July 10 and August 8 in the UAE this year, because people tend to travel less during that time, says Dey.
“But after Ramadan, peak season will come back,” Mehrotra said, as people prepare to travel back to their countries in time for the start of the academic year.
According to Tarique Khatri, senior vice president at Cleartrip.com, bookings done on his travel website between April and June have gone up 100 per cent compared to the same time last year.
While the number of customers has gone up, “the amount people pay [for a ticket] has gone down by 15 per cent,” he said.
The rise in the number of destinations provided by carriers is one of the reasons behind this dip in prices, he said.
Some of the popular destinations this summer include London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Kuala Lampur.
European cities continue to top the list of popular summer destinations for a number of travel agencies in the UAE. Customers are attracted to the cool weather and close proximity of these cities, explained Ghassan Aridi, CEO at Alpha Tours.
“The summer break is from mid June to July 9-then it’s Ramadan- so people have a short vacation,” he said.
Sri Lanka is another destination that has been gaining interest from travellers recently.
“Sri Lanka is doing well [in terms of ] marketing, availability of hotels, and it is also close by,” said Kulwant Singh, managing director of Lama Tours, a tour operator.
Travellers can find a myriad of holiday packages on offer.
Emirates Holidays is offering its Harry Potter package to families travelling to London for Dh5,000 per adult. It includes hotel accommodation for seven days and six nights and a tour of the sites featured in the Harry Potter films.
Not all travellers choose to buy a holiday package; some choose to plan their itinerary and pay for accommodation, transportation and tours individually.
But packages can be useful if you have not decided on locations to visit or a hotel to stay in, says Dina Al Herais, vice president of commercial operations at Emirates Holidays.
Also, Al Herais said packages give travellers a good deal.
“Bundle services can give you better discounts,” she said.
Emirates Holidays can get lower room prices from the hotels they promote. But these hotels must offer the best services for the consumer segment Emirates Holidays targets, Al Herais explained.
Meanwhile, there are other offers for travellers.
You can get up to Dh600 off the price of a ticket to the destination of your choice if you book on Cleartrip.com using a visa card. The offer is valid until July 31.