Flight prices 2024: Flight Centre reveals airfares have dropped

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Aussies keen to head overseas should consider nabbing a flight soon with business and economy seat prices dropping to almost half, compared to last year’s airfares.

James Kavanagh, global leisure CEO for Flight Centre Travel Group, said they’re seeing the cost of flights heading down this year, describing the drop as “huge”.

“The main driver of low prices generally comes from increased competition and capacity so it’s good to see the airlines battling it out through their recent sales,” Mr Kavanagh told news.com.au.

“We’re seeing significant savings across carriers, destinations, and classes of travel so there’s something for everyone.

“Europe is always a hot ticket for Aussies and now is a great time to think about locking it in.”

He said prices to the UK and the US are “finally starting to fall”, adding that last year the average price for an economy seat to London from Sydney across all airlines was over $2,600, and in the current sales they’re seeing fares around the $1,200 mark.

“Our headline return economy fare to London from Sydney is currently $1,202 for a March departure on Air China,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“This is less than half the average price travellers paid throughout 2023 and cheaper than the headline $1,590 return fare that we advertised at this time 10 years ago.”

He explained that the recent round of discounting, which had seen some international economy class fares fall to pre-Covid levels, had also reached the front of the plane.

“There’s also good news for the pointy end of the plane with an average business class fare from Melbourne to London (via China) available for around $5,200,” he told news.com.au.

“Last year the average fare for the same route across all airlines was almost double at $10,000.”

Meanwhile, business class fares being offered to LA are also at a fraction of their recent levels.

Mr Kavanagh said return direct business class flights from Sydney to LA are currently below $7,300 on both Qantas and United Airlines for departures at various times between February 6 and November 21.

He said the Qantas offer was more than $4,000 cheaper than the airline’s typical business class fare and more than $3,000 cheaper than the average price travellers paid for return business class flights to LA during 2023.

According to Flight Centre’s recent data, cheaper deals are available on indirect services from Sydney, with Air Canada offering a return-fare via Vancouver from $6,764 and Philippine Airlines offering a return fare from $5,276.

Mr Kavanaugh said some carriers were also competing aggressively for premium customers travelling to the UK, with Etihad last week offering return flights from Sydney and Melbourne for sub $6,000.

He said major airlines Qantas, Emirates and Qatar are offering return business class flights from Sydney for around $9,000, about $1,000 – or 10 per cent – cheaper than typical, recent fare levels and the average price paid by travellers last year.

“The airfare price wars that we are starting to see are great news for travellers and provide further evidence that airfare pricing is finally starting to normalise,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“We are also seeing some very promising signs with economy fares, which is fantastic for travellers whose budgets don’t reach to the front of the plane.

“Generally, fares are now cheaper to most international destinations and we are starting to see some eye-catching deals through to London, which has been one of the hottest destinations for Australian travellers over the past few years.”

Mr Kavanaugh said with airlines competing “very aggressively on price”, Flight Centre expects to see further “eye-catching deals” for travellers in the months ahead as capacity increases and competition intensifies.

“As is always the case, the cheapest fares can be hard to secure so the best advice is to get in early and lock in a deal as soon as you can,” he added.

“There’s also huge value in using an agent – our experts are monitoring pricing in real time to make sure travellers get the best deal to suit their needs.”