New Zealand travellers unhappy at skyrocketing prices

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Air New Zealand is warning travellers to book holidays early, as a combination of rising fuel prices, inflation and high demand have forced it to review and hike its airfares.

Radio New Zealand reports, international and domestic passengers are crying foul, complaining of airfares costing two or three times what they did pre-pandemic.

But Air New Zealand said airlines priced the last seats on planes higher to ensure those needing to travel urgently could fly.

RNZ headed out to Auckland Airport to find out how much people were paying. One traveller said airfares had become unaffordable.

“The flights have almost doubled or tripled. I just came back from India last night. The normal price for a flight would have been less than $2000 NZD and I’ve paid over $4000 NZD.

“Even domestic flights from Wellington to Auckland now is about over $300 return all the time and generally it used to be less than $150.

“You’re almost paying 200 percent more than what you generally would pay. I understand that the cost of things have gone up, but not by 200 percent.”

The disgruntled flyer had a theory on where the cost was coming from.

“I think airlines are now trying to make more money as they lost in Covid, so they’re trying to over-charge [because] they know people have to travel. There’s not so much competition in New Zealand so they can over-charge.”

Another man had recently travelled to New Zealand from the UK, which he said wouldn’t have been possible if his family hadn’t paid for the flight.

“It was £3000 (NZ$5987) to get here from the UK and the flight that I did want was £7000 (NZ$13,971).”

He said the flight usually cost him about £1500 (NZ$2993).

“If it wasn’t for my dad paying for my ticket, I certainly wouldn’t be travelling.”

In a statement, Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said since the pandemic, it had seen an unprecedented demand for travel.

That, combined with a shortage of some aircraft, rising fuel prices, and inflation had forced the airline to review and increase its prices.

Geraghty said while the company worked hard to offer affordable and competitive airfares, comparing one seat on one day was not reflective of its pricing structure.

She cited examples of early lead-in fares for domestic flights priced between $59 and $99 – and a one-way flight from Auckland to Honolulu for $378.

First Up could not find any $378 airfares between Auckland and Honolulu until next October. The cheapest we could find was $484, with one-way flights costing up to $1482 during the school holidays.

SOURCE: RNZ