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Low-cost flights: everything you need to know about air travel in 2021 and 2022

These are turbulent times for the airline industry. This month, Wizz Air tried to take over easyJet, while British Airways announced plans to establish a new short-haul operation out of Gatwick. Both initiatives failed, but what does the future hold for air travel?

These days, many flights seem ridiculously cheap. A quick online search reveals fares as low as £ 4.99 for a one-way trip from Bristol to Venice, while a return from Luton to Budapest costs just £ 19.99.

Will this continue? And what has been the 20-month effect of Covid, with all its associated restrictions, on the way we fly? Here you will find everything you need to know about how to fly next year.

These are turbulent times for the airline industry, and today many flights seem ridiculously cheap.

These are turbulent times for the airline industry, and today many flights seem ridiculously cheap.

Are airfares lower than ever?

You may think so with some of the bargain prices, but it depends on the destination.

“Overall, we’ve seen some of the lowest prices in months,” says Jack Sheldon, founder of the Jack’s Flight Club cheap flight alerts newsletter. “This is because the airlines will be happy to put any amount of cash into the bank.”

Now the outlook for international air travel is improving, with the removal of the government’s traffic light system effective Monday and the United States’ decision to open up to fully vaccinated travelers in November.

Philip Meeson, president of Jet2, which before the pandemic flew to more than 70 European destinations, admits that the price of its flights should remain “constantly attractive” to customers this winter. However, the bookings for the summer of 2022 are already “encouraging”.

Will flight prices go up?

Yes, according to Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, who warned that airfares will be “dramatically higher” next summer. This may seem like a predictable sight to an airline boss, but the reasons for it are tourists rushing back to Europe and a drop in short flight capacity.

Jack Sheldon estimates that this increase could be “10 to 25 percent higher.”

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has warned that airfares will be 'dramatically higher' next summer

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has warned that airfares will be 'dramatically higher' next summer

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has warned that airfares will be ‘dramatically higher’ next summer

While many airlines now offer flexible reservations, in some cases allowing passengers to change travel dates until the close of check-in, such concessions will not last forever.

Ryanair has already moved on. As of yesterday, passengers who make a new reservation will have to pay at least 35 euros (£ 30) to change their tickets.

When should I book?

The airlines’ 2022 summer schedules are on sale now, so it makes sense to book flights while fares are attractive, especially if work or school commitments limit the dates you can travel.

“Prices in general are still much lower than normal for this period,” confirms Gavin Harris, a pricing expert at travel search engine Skyscanner. “Offers for popular destinations like Spain and the US are common, and France is currently the cheapest place for a vacation abroad next August.”

For those with more flexibility, or who remain cautious about flying abroad, there will still be cheap flights, although not necessarily to the most select destinations. This is due to competition as airlines cannot forecast demand perfectly, even in non-pandemic times, leading to discounts.

Airline schedules for summer 2022 are on sale now, so it makes sense to book flights while fares are attractive.

Airline schedules for summer 2022 are on sale now, so it makes sense to book flights while fares are attractive.

Airline schedules for summer 2022 are on sale now, so it makes sense to book flights while fares are attractive.

The crisis has quickly led them to take flights anywhere they are interested, which invariably means low launch fees. When Turkey was removed from the red list last week, low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines immediately restored services from Stansted to Istanbul, with prices starting at £ 49.99 one way.

Could my airline fail?

Unlikely. With the worst of the pandemic past (we pray), troubled airlines have already taken steps to shore up their finances, including easyJet, which completed a £ 1.2 billion rights issue this week to accelerate its’ post-Covid recovery plan. -19 ‘. .

Carriers remain optimistic about the long-term future of aviation. Ryanair has invested € 50 million (£ 43 million) in a new training center in Dublin that will create 5,000 jobs for pilots and cabin crew. Jet2 recently ordered 36 new Airbus 321neo jets at a list price of $ 4.9 billion (£ 3.6 billion).

JetBlue began flights between Heathrow and New York (pictured) in August

JetBlue began flights between Heathrow and New York (pictured) in August

JetBlue began flights between Heathrow and New York (pictured) in August

New low-cost airlines are also entering the market. In June, Iceland-based Play successfully launched flights between the UK and its home country.

US low-cost carrier JetBlue began flights between Heathrow and New York in August, and Gatwick was added this week.

Norse Atlantic Airways, a new Norwegian-based airline, plans to operate flights between Europe and North America next year, and links to India could be revolutionized by new start-up Flypop operating out of Stansted.

Will flying change?

It already has. Expect Covid testing, face masks, and disinfection to remain standard, with onboard Wi-Fi providing a gateway to order drinks and meals, read onboard magazines, and shop.

According to Skyscanner, France is currently the cheapest place for a holiday abroad this coming August.

According to Skyscanner, France is currently the cheapest place for a holiday abroad this coming August.

According to Skyscanner, France is currently the cheapest place for a holiday abroad this coming August.

At the time of check-in, passengers must demonstrate that they have met the travel and health requirements of their destination through an application such as VeriFLY, as favored by British Airways, or IATA Travel Pass, used by Emirates.

And the airports?

It has been a torrid time for airport managers. This summer, passenger numbers in Luton fell 66 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Gatwick South Terminal remains closed and Wizz Air has postponed a new planned base in Cardiff. The need to recoup the losses caused by Covid-19 will affect travelers, from minor add-ons such as the introduction of a fee for vehicles that leave passengers in terminal yards to major increases in the charges that airlines pay to use the terminals. airport facilities.

And the environment?

Flying damages our planet and we should all offset the carbon emissions from our flights, especially if they cost next to nothing.

The amounts are negligible, for example 2.54 euros for a trip from Liverpool to Rome with Wizz Air (wizzair.chooose.today).

Skyscanner flight searches include a ‘Greener Choice’ option to select a trip that emits less CO2 than average.

BA passengers can further reduce their carbon footprint by adding a payment for sustainable aviation fuel (pureleapfrog.org/ba).

So where should I go?

Countries like Canada insist that travelers be fully vaccinated.  Pictured is the Toronto skyline

Countries like Canada insist that travelers be fully vaccinated.  Pictured is the Toronto skyline

Countries like Canada insist that travelers be fully vaccinated. Pictured is the Toronto skyline

Flying abroad is easier for those who are fully vaccinated and some countries, such as Germany and Canada, insist that travelers have this status.

Destinations that outperform Covid-19 will be the most attractive, both for safety reasons and because travel plans are less likely to be disrupted by an increase in cases.

Global vaccination rates by country are available to view online (ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations).

Smart travelers looking to combine a relatively safe Covid-19 getaway with attractively priced flights next summer should consider Spain, Portugal, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and Cuba.

For the latest government travel tips, see gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

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