Fares are soaring amid the cost and staffing crisis. Video after video showing “chaotic scenes” at international airports. While some travellers are told to expect “significant delays”. The trouble was, airport staffing was already stretched.
Air travel is surging and with it, airfares and delays, as the airline industry struggles with soaring fuel prices and staff shortages.
The lesson in all of this? If you’re flying soon, don’t expect a seamless experience. But don’t expect a disaster, either. Just be patient and roll with whatever inconveniences, major or minor, present themselves. Everyone is doing their best.
The message is simple — if you see a “good” airfare grab it because there are no signs in the short to medium term to suggest it will get better.
The airline industry has chalked up losses of $285 billion over the past 30 months and the latest fuel spike, due to the war in Ukraine, has seen the price of fuel double since February.
That fuel spike has added an estimated $178 billion to airlines’ operating costs for the 2022 calendar year.
When the effects of COVID hit in March 2020 hundreds of thousands of experienced airline staff were laid-off across the globe and many have found other careers.
Airlines are struggling to get staff back and often can’t find replacements and when they do it can take months to get them properly security cleared and trained.
This is leading to longer check-in and security queues as well as delayed luggage arrival after your flight lands.
Also, airlines are grappling with absenteeism due to COVID which means many flights are cancelled forcing fares up, as fewer flights translates to fewer seats and therefore higher fares.
Planning is essential to get the best airfare deals
1. Plan and book well ahead to secure the cheapest fares.
2. Think about alternative routes to your destination and maybe via another city. For instance, instead of flying direct to Melbourne or Sydney — a flight via Adelaide or Brisbane could be cheaper. Going to London? Think Manchester instead if you can.
3. Be flexible. Try to fly in off-peak times, off-peak days or even off-peak months.
4. Seek the help of a good travel agent who knows what the good deals are.
5. Look at other ways to trim the cost of your trip. For instance, car hire. If your going to the UK try Carflexi which may have rates at half the price of other well-known brands.