Soaring fuel prices and lack of flight capacity is pushing airfares, especially for the summer season, to astronomical prices.
According to Flight Centre, prices for the pointy end of the plane are costing travellers up to $20,000 ex-Australia to London, Europe or the United States. And sales are three per cent higher than prior to the pandemic.
“On average, across all classes including economy, we’re seeing the cost of flights sitting about 40 per cent higher than pre-Covid prices,” Flight Centre Corporate ANZ Managing Director Melissa Elf told the Australian Financial Review.
“I’ve seen tickets into the United States ranging from $15,000 to $22,000 for business class return over June and July.”
But if you’re looking for a bargain to get that overseas holiday, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best price on flights to London, Europe and America.
Consider another airport
Rather than choosing Sydney to Paris on Qantas it might be more economical to fly to London. If you flew economy from Sydney to Paris, your return fare would start at $2867 but if you flew from Sydney to London in April 2023, your fare would start from $2664 return. Flying to London worked out $203 cheaper than flying to Paris.
If you flew from Sydney to London, it would cost $1543 return on Singapore Airlines. If however, you flew from Sydney to Munich it would cost $1430 for a round trip on Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. You would therefore save $113 on your trip.
Flying to Madrid from Sydney on Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa would cost $1493 for a round trip so you still save money and get to tick another destination of your bucket list if you haven’t been before.
Sign up for fare alerts
Most airlines send out regular emails when they’re having sales or offering reduced fares. You’ll be notified anytime that there’s a sale. Qantas and Jetstar generally send out emails before their sales start, so you have plenty of notice and can plan your trip accordingly so that you are ready to book.
Look at alternative airlines
When booking flights people tend to look at the major airlines such as Qantas which costs $2664 for an economy fare to London from Sydney. Surprisingly, Singapore Airlines offers the best price at $1542 return.
We looked at other airlines such as Sri Lankan Airways ($1593), Qatar Airways ($2296), Cathay Pacific ($2280), Thai Airways ($2325), Japan Airlines ($2335), Emirates ($2489) and ANA ($2937). Singapore Airlines had the best price for the dates we selected which were departing April 10, 2023 and returning April 25, 2023.
Change the time you take off
Early mornings and evenings are a popular time of day for flights because there’s a lot of business traffic. To avoid paying peak-hour prices, consider flights that leave in the middle of the day.
Find the best day to depart
Sundays, Mondays and Fridays are the busiest days for flights and they often come with the price to match. If you want to save some money then look at flying on a different day of the week. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to have better prices.
Be flexible with dates
It may be hard if you only have certain dates you can take off work but, if you plan in advance, you may find a better price. It’s best to work backwards – find the best time to travel and then ask for those dates off work.
It is also never a good idea to book last-minute as all the discounted or saver fares have been snapped up. If you can, book as soon as new flights are released.
Check flight comparison websites
If you’re travelling from Sydney to New York on a budget, rather than booking direct through the airline’s website, look at comparison sites such as Webjet, Expedia and Skycanner. They have hundreds of flights listed on airlines that you may not have considered, such as Air Canada, Korean Air or Philippine Airlines. Aside from showing you hundreds more prices, the booking sites will find routes and airlines you may not have known were an option.
Don’t always fly direct
Although flying direct saves you time, it doesn’t necessarily save you money. Check to see if it might be cheaper to include short stopovers on the way. Work out the cost to fly direct to your chosen destination and then see how much it would cost if you flew to a nearby city and then take a budget flight or train to your end destination. If you do travel this way then ensure you leave at least three hours between connections so that you won’t have to worry about cutting it fine. It also gives you room if you later need to make an insurance claim.
But one-way tickets
It may be cheaper to fly Singapore Airlines from Sydney to London, but Qantas is cheaper on the return route. Consider using different airlines for different segments of your holiday. It may mean that you have to spend time shopping around for the best prices, but you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars. Websites such as Kiwi.com can make the process much simpler as they search flights so that you get the best prices available.