Expecting cut-price flights and holidays? Don't count on it...
I'm caught on the horns of a dilemma at this very moment. I need to book flights for the end of January. Do I:
a) book them now, so I can plan the rest of my trip?
b) sit it out until the beginning of January, when the airlines are bound to have sales, aren't they?
My thinking is that airlines need to roll out the sales to entice us on board when money is tighter than a pig in a passage. The number of flash sales in recent weeks to pre-sell seats suggests the industry is having a tough time of it, so those of us with incurable wanderlust can look forward to barrage of cheap flights.
Well that's what I thought, until I read what Thomson and First Choice had to say. Seemingly holidays are still a priority for British consumers; 88% of people say they'd cut back on eating out and home improvement, rather than cut back on their holidays. 6 out of 10 people stated that even if they had to cut back on spending, their main annual holiday would be the last thing they would give up.
Now the small print to this research is that it focused on summer holidays, but it shows how much we treasure our time out. It may also be some posturing by the travel agents, positioning holidays as an essential cost rather than one that can be easily dropped from the household budget. However, if there's any truth in it then airlines and tour operators may not see the massive decline in bookings that some expect.
Following flash sales by most the major airlines and STA throwing away return flights to new York for £150, what will the following months bring? Will prices be cut to stimulate business? Will airlines drop the number of scheduled flights? Or will it be business as usual?