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Flight prices: Holidaymakers to spend more than £2,000 extra as fares leap by 42%

Flight prices jumped by 42% on average. Photo: PA
Flight prices jumped by 42% on average. Photo: PA

Holidaymakers will spend more than £2,000 ($2,132) extra on flights for half-term getaways this year, after prices jumped compared to pre-COVID levels, according to new analysis.

Consumer group Which? found flight prices had risen by 42% on average, with the typical price of a one-way ticket for the week-long school holiday in October going up from £150 to £212.

Passengers booking six weeks before departure paid an average of £262 more each way compared to 2019, adding £2,096 to the cost of a holiday for a family of four, according to the analysis.

The surge has been blamed on rising fuel costs, pent-up demand for travel and airport passenger caps.

The largest fare hike was on flights from Gatwick to Dublin. When booked at the same time, these increased from £42 in 2019 to £160 this year — an increase of 281%.

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Heathrow to Malaga flights cost £282 in 2022 compared to £89 in 2019, up £193 (216%), while Heathrow to Dublin flights rose 181% to £236.

Passengers who booked their flights from Heathrow airport to Tenerife six weeks before their departure date paid an average of £262 more each way than in 2019, up 159%.

Which? analysed prices from data company Skytra, a price comparison site, six weeks before October half-term departures in 2019 and 2022.

It looked at flights from six of England’s busiest airports —Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton and Birmingham — to popular destinations including Alicante, Antalya in Turkey, Dubai, Dublin, Malaga and Tenerife.

Bookings made well in advance of the holiday period cost less, the research showed. The average prices for trips to Alicante, Antalya, Dubai, Malaga and Tenerife were found to be much cheaper when booked six months in advance.

Read more: Why has the pound fallen and what does this mean for you?

Holidaymakers are also contending with much higher prices thanks to the fall in the value of the pound.

Many travellers suffered from flight cancellations and long queues at airports during the first half of the year due to staff shortages across the aviation industry.

Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said: "Travellers have had a torrid time this year and our analysis shows they’re paying through the nose for their trouble.

"With fares so high, it’s even more important that airports and airlines are held to account for the unacceptable disruption travellers have faced.

"The government should give the Civil Aviation Authority stronger powers so it can hit operators with heavy fines when they flout the rules."

Watch: Airline refunds: What are your rights as a consumer?