Cash in Before Price Rise

AUSTRALIA’S leading travel agency group has urged travellers to cash in on the current array of airfare bargains before this month’s price increases.

Flight Centre Limited managing director Graham Turner said Qantas’s decision to increase overall prices by raising fuel surcharges from February 19 meant travellers had a relatively small window of opportunity to lock in the current deals.

“Australian travellers continue to enjoy a golden era in air travel with increased competition delivering some amazing bargains,” Mr Turner said, ahead of this weekend’s two-day Travel Expo in Melbourne.

“For example, fares to the US remain about half the price of two years ago.

“Today, Flight Centre is advertising return fares from Melbourne to London for just over $1000, which is less than the average weekly wage in Australia now.

“A more typical fare costs in the order of $1600, which is the same or comparable to fares that were available in 1990, despite the significant increase in average wages during the past 20 years.

“In 1990s, a $1600 fare represented between three and weeks’ pay for the average worker, meaning a trip to London is now considerably more affordable.

“Prices do, however, look set to rise in the short-to-medium term, so now is the time to take advantage of the current Qantas specials before the upcoming increases.”

From February 19, Qantas’s fuel surcharges will increase to:

  • $145 each way to the UK and Europe, a $50 increase each way
  • $115 each way to mainland USA, Canada, South America, South Africa and India, a $30 increase each way; and
  • $75 each way to Asia, the Pacific and Honolulu, a $20 increase each way.

Travellers who book and pay for their Qantas fares before February 19 will avoid the price increase.

Flight Centre will release a host of special airfares and travel deals, including offers on Qantas, this weekend in Melbourne at the company’s annual travel expo.

The expo will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre tomorrow and on Sunday.

Admission is free.