Holidays 2020: Simon Calder says flight costs could ‘increase by 50 percent’

UK airlines have begun to announce plans to return to the skies in time for summer holidays as lockdown restrictions ease. However, travel expert Simon Calder has warned that some speculative measures could see operators forced to increase ticket costs by as much as 50 percent.


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easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, TUI and British Airways have all suggested they will be flying again in varying capacities by July.

As part of these plans, many of them are outlining ways to increase the health and safety on board for both passengers and crew.

Travel expert Simon Calder appeared on the BBC Travel Show over the bank holiday weekend and explained that some of these measures could see customers forking out more than anticipated for their next holiday.

In particular, there are concerns surrounding the theory that removing the middle seat onboard could improve social distancing.

“If you take the middle seat out on an aircraft then you can reduce the distance for passengers from maybe 50cm to one metre,” he explained.

“A lot of people would say that in the course of a three-hour flight that’s actually not going to make much difference but it would certainly make a lot of difference to the fare.

“If you take out one-third of the passengers the cruelty of fractions means you need to increase the price by 50 percent.”

What’s more, additional cleaning measures will mean longer turn-around times between flights and ultimately mean airlines operate fewer flights.

“There are certainly going to be some increased costs,” he said.

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“If you’re a low-cost airline and you have to clean out the aircraft thoroughly after a two-hour flight that’s going to add to your turns, it’s going to reduce the time that the aircraft is in the air.

“It’s going to effectively undermine your business model.”

He added: “Extra costs at the airport, of course, are going to put prices up.”

He did point out, though, that there could be a different future for flight costs.

“Against that, we are going to see the airlines and holiday companies coming in with all sorts of deals to convince us that it is a good idea to go travelling once again,” Calder continued.


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“For the brave, maybe for the foolhardy, there will be plenty of bargains out there.”

Yet while bargain offers might kick start flights, they may not last long due to the amount of money the travel industry has lost during the lockdown period.

He concluded: “I think when things settle down we won’t see quite as many flights, we won’t see the same range of opportunities that we have now, and we will currently see higher prices because the only way the airlines can recoup the billions of dollars that they have been losing over the past few months is, of course, to push open prices, and they will do that by keeping a lid on capacity.”

Jet2 has become the latest airline to announce plans to resume services in July, selling flight to destinations including Spain, France, Greece, Turkey and Portugal.

Meanwhile, easyJet plans to increase its flight offering from June.

British Airways has suggested a “meaningful return” in July, with a range of global destinations already on sale to customers.

TUI has said holidays will kickstart in July in line with global restrictions.

Ryanair hopes to jet off from July 1 with new safety measures in place including mandatory face masks for all who travel with them.

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