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£1,000 to fly at half term next winter
Thursday May 8, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

The prices on scheduled airlines have literally gone sky-high. Return flights are nudging £1,000 and may rise further. PlanetSKI reports.

If you want to fly from Gatwick to Innsbruck departing on February 14th 2015 and returning the following Saturday it will cost you £985.03 with easyJet. 

That allows for one piece of hold luggage, but not skis or a snowboard. 

That would push the price over the £1,000 mark.

We have been looking at a few other routes and airlines and it is not much better.

It is currently £818 to fly with BA from Heathrow to Geneva on the same dates.

Even the so-called 'backdoor' routes to the Alps are pricey. It is £613.59 return with BA to fly from Gatwick to Verona over the half-term period.

Airports like Verona and Milan in Italy or Basel in Switzerland used to offer a cheaper alternative.  Other options were Munich and Lyon.

"The prices are ridiculous and it is putting independent ski holidays out of the reach of many," one industry insider told us.

Scheduled flight prices have always been high on peak dates, but here at PlanetSKI we have noticed a particularly sharp rise, on all routes and airlines, over the last two to three years.

The season before last skiers would have been able to fly with BA from London to Geneva for £300 or less if booked around this time.

Literally sky-highLiterally sky-high

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some cheaper prices, but costs are still high. 

Luton to Geneva on the same dates with easyJet is £602.98.

Still priceyStill pricey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are though a few options.

"The mainstream routes have gone stratospheric in recent years but there are some alternatives and you can still get relatively good prices if you are canny and quick," said Fraser Wilkin from the specialist tour operator, snow-wise, that uses scheduled flights.

"You can still book Heathrow to Milan Linate for £363 with BA or £300 with Easyjet. The airport gives access to Zermatt and Saas-Fee as well as the more obvious Italian resorts of Cervinia, Monte Rosa region and Courmayeur," he added.

We have contacted easyJet for a response but have not yet heard back from the press office. Undoubteldy they will point out that it is what the market determines and the prices are  simpy a question of supply and demand. 

The flights will probably be full over the half-term period so clearly people are prepared to pay the prices.

For a shrinking European ski industry though it is further bad news and adds weight to the argument for school holidays to be staggered.  

We have written about staggering the half-term holidays and the new UK legislation in this earlier PlanetSKI story.

In France the country is split into 4 zones with the half-term break spread over a 4-week period.

With the UK government clamping down on parents that take their children out of school it is likely to mean less children experience skiing which will cause long-term harm to the UK snowsports industry.

The half-term of 2015 also sees many of the other European countries on holiday.

One operator has described it as "the perfect storm".

Obviously not every one flies with a scheduled airline but if you want to ski at half-term, and don't want to go on a package holiday with charter flights, then the other options are driving or taking the train.

Or better still avoid half-term altogether. 

Our general advice at PlanetSKI for family skiing is to go the week before Xmas or over Easter.

Late season skiing, in the right resort, is a far more pleasurable experience than the crowded slopes of half-term.

We have a feature currently on PlanetSKI about family skiing in Montgenevre, France, over Easter and on a budget; see here for that story.

In the meantime prices for scheduled fights over half-term in 2015 and the years beyond are set to rise still further.

For the spirit of the mountains

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