Ticket prices soar to Dh20,000 per family amid Eid Al Adha, Onam rush


Ticket prices soar to Dh20,000 per family amid Eid Al Adha, Onam rush

Abu Dhabi - Despite the high rates, the tickets are selling out fast.


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 21 Aug 2017, 4:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Aug 2017, 5:35 PM

Festivals are time for family reunions. But it is not going to be easy this time as tickets are hard to come by.
Popular festivals of Eid Al Adha (likely to fall on September 1) and Onam (September 4) are days away but the air ticket fares to join the loved ones will rob all joy from the celebrations. Adding to the woes is the reopening of schools on September 10.
Figure this - Etihad Airways round trip ticket on Abu Dhabi to Thiruvananthapuram booked between August 30 and September 9, Saturday will cost a family of four a whopping Dh19,576 (Rs341,340.86). The breakup is Dh9,116 economy flex rate for departure and Dh10,460 for arrivals.
But despite the high rates, the tickets are selling out fast.
Simply put, a return ticket from the UAE capital to Kerala's capital pegged at Dh2,000 till last week has hit Dh4,000 or more, per person.
Al Ain Oasis Holidays' travel consultant Rafeeq TP said lowest fares to all sectors remain high to Kerala.
"Also, return tickets from Kerala sectors are very high as schools reopen here. There is not much difference even on second week of September. All flights are sold out or closing fast," he said.
Budget airline Air India Express' tickets will also come at a minimum price of Dh1400, one way, per person. That means for a family of four, you have to fork out more than Dh5000, for one way. A return ticket to Kerala means, you are poorer by Dh11,000.
Air India Express travel consultant said demand is high and the airline has introduced additional flights to cater to the needs.
"Tickets are available but government holidays for Eid Al Adha will make it dearer. August 31 is a holiday and school reopens on September 10. These and anything in between will be priced high," the consultant said.
He noted that anyone booking months stands to gain.
"A family of four will save up to Dh1,000 or more if they book 4-6 months in advance."
Razi Koya, Business Development Manager of Infinity Travel said this year there is an unprecedented rush of travelers. "This Eid rush is a norm every year as it is peak-season for travelling. But this year, the rush is unprecedented because Eid, Onam and school-reopening are all coinciding," said Koya.
According to him, Kerala and Hyderabad are the two sectors that see high demand during Eid. "Most of the flights are fully booked, and seats are open in the Economy Flexible but with at least 30 to 40 per cent higher rates."
"Inbound flights to Abu Dhabi from India are much more expensive than the outbound flights as families who travelled to India at the start of the summer are flying back in the first week of September. For instance, a one-way flight from Kerala to Abu Dhabi is in the range of Dh3500 and above, and the same from sectors like Delhi and Mumbai hovers around Dh2500 and Dh2700. Outbound flights to these destinations are comparatively cheaper," said Koya.
Expat voices
The exorbitant prices on air tickets have put many expat families on a tight spot.
Sudha Ammal, a low-income worker from the Capital, is bearing the brunt of the Eid travel rush. Her mother is in critical condition in Thiruvananthapuram and Sudha is waiting for air fares to go down to book a ticket. "This is an emergency but I can't afford to leave now. I can tend to my mother only after September 20 or so," Sudha said.
George Koshy, another Indian expat said he is in distress as he is unable to find affordable tickets to Mumbai. "I have a wedding to attend and the ticket prices have gone over the roof. I cannot miss the wedding. At the same time, cannot afford Dh4500 for a return ticket. It is almost 40per cent of my monthly salary," said Koshy.
'Book early and benefit' 
There are meticulous planners like the Thajudheen family, who save lump sum amount.
"We are a family of six members with four children. So we book well in advance and avoid the hefty rates. Planning always helps. We book as and when the school holidays are announced. We save up to fares of one or two tickets," said Abu Dhabi-based homemaker Shereefa Thajudheen.
The family left for Kozhikode in June and will be back before school reopens.
Citing an example, a travel consultant said people should look for multiple airlines and importantly book early.
"An Abu Dhabi-Mangalore August 30 Air India Express ticket booked in March came for Dh725 and September 16 return in Jet Airways for Dh650. So, round trip will be Dh1,375 but if you book now it will be more than Dh2,000. You save more than Dh650 by booking earlier," he said.

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