Qantas and Virgin airfares have soared since May a Kayak flight analysis shows. Here’s how to save money on flights

Despite months of chaos, complaints and flight cancellations, Qantas and Virgin have been quietly almost doubling fares on some domestic routes and bumping up others significantly.

Market analysis by travel search engine Kayak has compared domestic airfares from all carriers in July with those of May, finding an average price of $409 which is an increase of 24 per cent.

Some routes have seen an increase of as much as 85 to 96 per cent.

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The most expensive domestic route is Gold Coast to Melbourne, with tickets becoming 96 per cent more expensive in two months.

Travellers heading from the Gold Coast to Sydney copped a 91 per cent increase, with a 90 per cent increase on Cairns to Brisbane fares, an 87 per cent increase on Adelaide to Melbourne fares, and an 85 per cent increase on Darwin to Sydney fares.

The analysis looked at round-trip economy flights, and used searches made on the Kayak website engaging hundreds of travel websites in the company’s global portfolio of brands including SWOODOO, checkfelix, momondo, Cheapflights, Mundi and HotelsCombined.

The fare increases had been expected, with Qantas and Virgin Australia last month saying they would pass on the cost of elevated oil prices to travellers to help the company recover from the loss.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at the time that the company fuel bill would be $1.8 billion more than it was pre-pandemic.

Airplane Flying Up A Steep Arrow Towards Higher Stacks Of Coins. Isolated On Color Background. Credit: simplehappyart/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Qantas will respond to the high fuel prices by reducing capacity over July and August 2022 and increasing fares,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wrote in its June airline competition report.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Jayne Hrdlicka said at the time that her airline had put through two fare increases.

Not all domestic flights skyrocketed however – travellers heading from Coffs Harbour to Sydney experienced no changes to their airfares.

Other domestic routes that felt the smaller fare increases, ranging 4 to 8 per cent, include Perth to Learmonth (near the northwest WA town of Exmouth), Canberra to Melbourne, and Canberra to Gold Coast.

File image: Perth airport. Credit: 7NEWS

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser said while demand was still strong, the price hikes could become an issue.“Any increase in costs associated with travel will typically have a flow on effect for Queensland’s visitor economy,” said Fraser.“The increase in domestic flight costs nevertheless remains an issue on our radar.”

But he said there was no simple solution to rising fuel prices and the effects of COVID.

How to get the lowest possible fare

Kayak Brand Director Nicola Carmichael told there were some tricks to scoring the lowest possible fare – the first one is to “get flexible”.

“If you can … choose ‘flexible’ filters,” Carmichael said.

“If your travel dates aren’t set in stone, and you have a little wiggle room available, chances are you can save some cash booking within … three days of your desired date range.”

She also recommends choosing your dates wisely.

“Flying out and returning midweek vs the weekend can be cheaper on short haul and longer haul,” Carmichael said.

“It’s a similar story for shorter breaks. Travelling on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday generally may be a lot more affordable than at other times of the week.”

Her last flight booking hack is to set a price alert.

“Price alerts help travellers save money by alerting them when prices change for a flight or hotel they want.”

“If a flight you’re eyeing drops in price, Kayak will alert you, so they can lock in that new price, instantly saving you both time and money.”

-With AAP

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