Report: Airline Prices May Not Increase Prior To Diwali

Report: Airline Prices May Not Increase Prior To Diwali

There’s no denying that 2020 is an unconventional year in every sense of the word. Those looking to travel during the festive season are expecting airfares to increase exponentially months before the festivities begin as has been the case over the past few years. 

However, travel service operators believe that there will be no major increase in airline ticket prices during the upcoming festivities, contrary to past trends. Experts believe that airfares are expected to rise only when Diwali nears. This is mostly due to the capping of airfares as well as the fact that travellers prefer booking tickets closer to their travel dates during the pandemic.

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According to a survey, conducted by PAYBACK along with its research partner, Unomer regarding travel in the festive season, revealed that since the first unlock, nearly 40 per cent of the respondents have either gone back to their hometowns or for a weekend getaway. In the festive season, more than 20 per cent respondents are planning a vacation with nearly one-third respondents in South & North India planning their trips. Nearly three-fourths of respondents chose domestic holidays, mostly a weekend or short getaways to nearby destinations. Long vacations and international holiday are off the table for the rest of 2020. Female respondents preferred long trips as opposed to male respondents who chose short vacations. 

Aditya Agarwal from Cleartrip said - “This year, due to the pandemic, customers have preferred to book closer to the date of travel. For example, 67 per cent of bookings done in October have been for travel within the next two weeks. Booking volumes are around 24 per cent of last year for forward bookings that happen 3-4 weeks before Diwali. We anticipate volumes to pick up as we approach Diwali and expect volumes to be about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of last year’s volumes.”

Varun Sarda Co-founder and CEO WTFares said, "Travel is picking up well, we’ve seen monumental growth month on month from August to October. People have realised its really safe to travel and this is indeed the new normal. Going forward we should reach 30 per cent of our previous volumes."

This comes as airline travel has reportedly increased over the past three weeks. “Confidence in air travel is rising. In the last three weeks, we have seen a 40 per cent increase in advance bookings for festive travel. Average round trip fares are considerably lower this year compared to last year, when domestic airfares spiked up by 20-25 per cent close to Diwali,” Aloke Bajpai of ixigo said.

Data provided by Cleartrip showed that people mostly travelled to their hometowns to celebrate the festivities with their loved ones. By contrast, Cleatrip’s data from last year showed an increase in travel to destinations like Goa or Kerala.

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The flight aggregator said that Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Kolkata are among the top locations where people are travelling to from locations like Mumbai, Delhi, or Bengaluru. 

A spokesperson for said that people are beginning to make travel plans after months of being isolated. The company added that it has seen a renewed interest from passengers willing to travel to locations like Goa, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Jaipur, and Himachal Pradesh. 

Separately, trip coordinators have said that customers are more likely to book their stays at 4 or 5-star hotels given their preference for sanitized and safe properties following the coronavirus pandemic. 

Road trips have also reportedly seen an increase as citizens look for drivable locations to spend holidays. Though this has mostly been the norm for weekend getaways prior to the pandemic, it’s clear that this trend has seen a significant increase following the perceived risk of infection onboard flights/trains etc.  

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