As the holiday season kicks in and expatriate families living in the UAE travel home, ticket prices to some destinations soar.
Travel agents revealed that flight rates to some sectors have soared massively from 100 per cent and, in some instances, all the way up to 300 per cent, compared to non-peak rates.
According to Premjit Bangara, general manager, Sharaf Travels Services, flight rates to Mumbai during the summer is hovering around Dh3,000 (non-peak rates being between Dh850 and Dh1,200, marking between 200 and 300 per cent increase).
“A key reason for a spike in flight rates to Mumbai is because of the massive cancellations on Jet Airways. Owing to the high demand and drop in flights, the rates are soaring,” said Bangara.
“Even though Air India put on some additional flights, this is still not meeting the huge demand from people travelling to Mumbai from UAE.”
He added, rates to destinations like Trivandrum, Cochin, Calicut, Kanoor are nothing less than Dh3,000. “Off-peak rates to these destinations are between Dh1,000 and Dh1,200. For example flight rates to Trivandrum during the non-peak season is Dh1,200, to Calicut is Dh1,000, Kanoor is Dh1,200,” said Bangara adding rates to god’s own country, Kerala is 300 per cent higher.
He added that owing to the high season rates, prices on budget flights are close to what other carriers are offering.
According to Sharaf Travels executive, rates to Bangalore are 100 per cent higher. “Current rates are around Dh2, 900. Off-peak rates hover around Dh1,300.”
Meanwhile, flight rates to Pakistan have spiked 200 to 300 per cent. “Current rates to Karachi and Lahore hover around Dh2,700 and Dh2,000 respectively. Off-peak rates to these destinations are normally between Dh800 and Dh900 respectively.”
The only respite seems to be to Manila as Albert Fernando, founder and ceo of Travelwings.com, an online travel company based in the UAE said, summer is not peak travel time. “The Philippine expat population from the UAE usually travels during December for Christmas and New Year. Few with families only take the opportunity to travel during summer to the Philippines. Hence the flight rates are not as high. For example, current flight rates to Manila is around Dh3,500 per person, in comparison, peak rates during the winter time is around Dh4,500 per person,” he said.
According to Piljo Paul of AFC Holidays, “Flight rates to Cochin on Air Arabia is Dh3,900, Trivandrum – Dh3,500 (Air Arabia), Karachi – Dh3,500 (Etihad), Lahore – Dh1,700 (PIA), Colombo – Dh2,000 (Emirates), Bangalore - Dh2,500 – (Air Arabia) and Dh3,000 (Indigo).”
Praveen MS who sent his two children on vacation to Cochin, Kerala in India said he paid Dh2,000 per person for a one-way ticket. “It is way too much but what to do. Going on a holiday during summer is pretty much the norm. Something has to be done about putting a standard on flight prices. Not everybody can afford such high rates,” he said.
Another Indian expat, Dr. Poonam Sharma, is shocked by the massive spike in flight ticket rates. Dr. Sharma said she booked her daughter’s flight ticket to Pune on July 1. “My daughter is travelling on July 27 and returning on August 29. The fare from Dubai to Pune cost me Dh730 per person but the return fare on August 29 is a staggering Dh1,800 per person. It is massive. I don’t know what to do.”
She added that flight rates to Jaipur were three times higher. “We normally get tickets for Dh600 round-trip. Right now it is Dh1,800 per person.”