Cheap flights harder to find as airline prices go up: How to hunt for a bargain

Garrett Gardner

Flight prices are rising and will only get more expensive this year, experts warn… so should you book now for summer? Plus, how to get a good deal

  • Britons are still keen to book holidays despite the wider cost of living rises 
  • But with flight costs high – and getting higher – booking soon could save money 
  • Ticket prices went up 44% last year, official statistics show 

Holidaymakers could save money by booking flights soon, as both airlines and aviation experts think prices will soar later in the year.

The price of flights is already high, even during the off-peak winter season. Ticket prices rose by 44.1 per cent in the year to December, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

That is the biggest rise in airline prices for more than 30 years.

Many airlines reported business is booming, with flight sales up despite the cost of living crisis

But despite flight prices hitting historic highs and the wider cost of living crisis, Britons are still keen on booking holidays. 

EasyJet said its Easter ticket yields were already up 25 per cent on 2019, before coronavirus pandemic restrictions hit airlines.

But booking flights for this year’s holidays soon might be a smart move, as prices are set to increase further over the next few months.

This week Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said that ‘based on current booking profiles, we think that fares will rise into Easter and the summer’.

Wizz Air boss boss Jozsef Varadi last week said ‘bookings are strong’ as the firm enjoyed a surge in ticket sales.

Based on current booking profiles, we think that fares will rise into Easter and the summer

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary 

Meanwhile aviation analyst John Strickland said prices were likely to rise for the next few months due to high fuel prices and airline capacity, mostly on long haul flights, is still getting back to pre-pandemic levels.

Strickland said: ‘We are seeing average prices are going up. It is evident that that trend is firmly in place. The hard evidence from airlines is for price increases even in recent winter months.

‘These price increases are not airlines trying to exploit the situation, they reflect increasing costs, like aviation fuel. Aviation fuel prices remain high, and this is around one third of airlines’ costs.

‘The other factor is capacity on long-haul flights, which has not returned to the level it was pre-Covid.’

However, the future of ticket prices beyond the next few months is harder to predict.

Strickland said: ‘We have got little idea what will happen with Ukraine, broader economies and consumers’ ability to pay. Seventy to 80 per cent of people say they put price ahead of everything else, when booking.’

How to get cheaper flights 

  • Be flexible on location. Flight-search sites such as Skyscanner or Google Flights show you the best-value destinations from your nearest airport. You never know what may catch your eye.
  • Be quick off the mark. Airlines usually release tickets around a year before departure, but some carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet have shorter pre-sale periods. This can be the cheapest time to book as prices usually go up based on demand. 
  • Fly mid-week. Airfares are at their cheapest for flights to Europe on Tuesdays, according to the travel comparison site Many business travellers prefer to fly on Mondays and return on Fridays, so the cheapest weekend mini-breaks can often be Thursday to Tuesday.
  • Set up alerts. Setting up a few Google alerts will allow you to track ticket price fluctuations on your favourite routes. You can even take things a step further and use Google’s extensive reach to help you identify seasonal drops in prices. 

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