Flight Centre boss warns Aussies planning to head overseas for Christmas holidays will have trouble flying due to ‘lack of capacity’ – as a travel expert offers her top booking tips for travellers
- Flight Centre CEO warns of Christmas holiday chaos due to lack of capacity
- Graham Turner says overseas flights at just 50 per cent of pre-Covid capacity
- Airfares soar as in-demand airlines face staff shortages and high fuel costs
- Aussies can beat the sky-high ticket costs with a few sneaky booking tricks
- All cost-conscious travellers can evade price hikes by booking on the right days
The CEO of Flight Centre has warned Christmas holiday travellers who haven’t already booked flights will struggle to get seats as major carriers continue to experience limited capacity.
Graham Turner told Gareth Parker on Perth‘s 6PR radio station that airlines are still struggling with capacity issues as they recover from the setback to international travel caused by Covid-19.
A lack of plane seats is already putting certain countries off limits as Christmas travel chaos looms as inevitable.
The CEO of Flight Centre Graham Turner (pictured) has warned Christmas holiday travellers who haven’t already booked flights will struggle to get seats as major carriers struggle to resume pre-Covid levels of operation
‘It is inevitably going to get better but the lack of capacity between now and Christmas – particularly around Christmas – is going to be an issue if people want to travel at Christmas,’ Mr Turner said.
‘Domestically, it’s not too bad generally but internationally, we still only have just over 50 per cent of our pre-Covid capacity flying out of Australia at the moment.
‘That’s the main problem… The demand is very heavy and it is just particularly the international carriers.
‘The lack of pilots for the international flights is one of the problems.’
‘It is inevitably going to get better but the lack of capacity between now and Christmas – particularly around Christmas – is going to be an issue if people want to travel at Christmas,’ said Mr Turner
While flight prices have risen due to rising fuel costs and the seat shortage, Australians have not been put off, with research showing three out of five Aussies are looking to travel in the next 12 months.
Airlines behind the mass cancellations and delays at airports in recent months have pushed up their prices with tickets rising 14 per cent in the last two months alone. The average return economy international flight price in Australia has risen to $1,761, based on flight searches in July.
At the same time, the price of a domestic fare has also increased.
While flight prices have risen Australians have not been put off wanting to travel – research shows three out of five Aussies are looking to travel in the next 12 months
Experts say there are a few booking tricks the average Australian can use to get a cheaper fare
HOW TO BEAT SOARING AIRFARES
1. Book flights when they become available at a discounted price
2. Set up price alerts to see fare changes
3. Try to fly in weekday slots, with Tuesday often being the cheapest day of the week
4. Book as early as possible
Finder’s travel expert Stephanie Yip says there are some sneaky ways consumers can beat the pinch and save on their travel costs, including booking flights for later this year now while major airlines are still having sales.
‘Now’s actually a great time to book late 2022 and early 2023 flights as a bunch of sales were released this week,’ she said.
‘If you have a destination in mind but the price is too high, set up a price alert to be notified whenever the fare changes.’
There are some days cost-conscious Aussies should not plan to fly at all, Ms Yip said.
‘Weekend flights from Friday to Sunday are often the most expensive and most in demand.
‘If you can fly out on a weekday… Tuesday is often the cheapest, that can really help to keep costs down.
Her other tip was to jump on cheap fares as soon as they show up.
‘Book as early as you can. If you see a cheap international fare, snag it straight away,’ she said.
Consumers should be looking to book flights for weekdays, particularly Tuesdays, and getting in early during current sales before the price of airfares rises further later in the year