Emergency air supplies have been provided, the fasten seat belts sign is on and we have all adopted the brace position in order to preserve our dental records. Prepare yourself for an emergency landing as rising fuel prices could be about to cause some serious turbulence for our beloved budget holiday.
Like anyone nursing a one thousand pound, interest free, overdraft I have embraced budget airlines like the friend I always dreamed of making. From messy weekends in Amsterdam to cultural excursions in Barcelona the possibilities have seemed endless – and with the introduction of Zoom flights across the pond perhaps they are. Yet the ever dooming credit crunch and increasing price of oil means it may be time to take up rambling.
Companies, like Ryanair and EasyJet, have indulged our travelling needs by providing flights from as little as £1 and offering other subsidiary services that left package holidays as dead as a dodo. It seemed as if EasyHolidays were now the only way to holiday. However, the escalating price of oil may be set to put an end to our regular beanos to the continent. It has been estimated that some 5 million passengers are going to be priced out of the budget holiday market as there is a 10 percent rise in the average ticket – you guessed it, because of rising oil prices. Other, lesser known companies, like Oasis Hong Kong have already been forced to close because they just cannot afford to fuel.
Yet walking through London today I see an array of Evening Standard signs telling me to not to worry, that in fact Ryanair prices are going to drop. How can this be? Have Ryanair ventured to yet undiscovered sources of oil? Or are they going to use the age-old tactic of stripping even more luxuries from their flights so that eventually we are all packed in as tight as a group of asylum-seeking sardines? Well actually, neither. It would appear that in an attempt to price its competitors out of the market Ryanair has nobly taken heavy losses…but how long can this go on? As big budget airlines like BA and Iberia are forced to merge we can only presume that air fares will eventually have to rise. However, although your ticket price itself may not rise be prepared to start paying huge fuel surcharges and perhaps only taking one pair of pants in your limited luggage!
So, as we all enjoy these last few months of cheap flights and various airlines attempts to outbid each other, perhaps it is time to start considering our alternative travel arrangements. Maybe a weekend in Bognor would not be so bad?
By Sam Selmon