Air travel demand up in festive season, fares soar on weekends – Times of India

MUMBAI: Festive season demand for travel has sent airfares for non-stop flights soaring on several domestic routes. This is being seen with fares from Mumbai to places like Dehradun, Srinagar, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Kochi. Airfares to foreign destinations open to Indians too are high, with the only exception of Male, where fares are currently cheaper than those to some domestic destinations.
There is a pattern to domestic fares — a return ticket costs higher, especially if the return is on a Sunday or weekend. Passengers who haven’t booked air tickets for October-November Diwali travel can escape high fares by opting to return on a weekday and get a 20-30% cheaper return fare. Like, on Saturday, cheapest return fare on Mumbai-Dehradun non-stop flights around October-end and return on November 7, a Sunday, began at Rs 35,000. It was Rs 29,300 on November 8, a Monday.
A spokesperson said: “For hotels and flights, we’ve seen an upward trend and 40-50% increase in booking queries with the incoming of the festive season”.
Rikant Pittie, co-founder, EaseMyTripAround said: “We’ve seen that airfares can go up around 70% at the last minute and on the week of Diwali. Previously, we had seen a jump of almost 65% on air bookings for the long weekend of Ganesh Chaturthi and a 54% jump on air bookings for the long weekend of Janmashtami. It indicates a trend where people are utilising the festive season to travel. So we are optimistic that travel bookings will pick up during the festive season.”
Fares are not only high on international routes, there is a dearth of seats on non-stop flights. Anoop Kanuga of Bathija Travels said: “India should allow airlines to slowly increase capacity on international routes by at least 15-25% a month, until they reach pre-Covid capacity.”

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