We’ve been waiting years to go on holiday, but wow it’s expensive to fly. Here are the five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now
Remember the good old days of competition in the travel industry? Those were the days. Now every time you look to book a flight, the prices are soaring. Even if you want to use your points.
The airline industry is complex, so a total shut down of the industry was always going to have long term effects. The long hangover from the shutdowns and lockdowns are with us.
So let’s break down the five key reasons your flight is so expensive.
It’s not just you who wants to go overseas and change up the scenery. Everyone else is thinking the same thing.
And as the northern hemisphere enjoys its first lockdown free summer in years, everyone is clamouring to use all that saved up cash, topped up with government assistance, to spend on flights.
The simple supply versus demand philosophy means it’s become an airline’s dream to push up prices while often pushing down the value of the ticket. How bad are those airline meals at the moment?
Big planes are grounded
Remember the good old 747 and A380s? Well you’re doing well to find a 747 in the skies these days. The last remaining airlines that were operating them used the cover of COVID to either reduce their fleet of the ageing Queen of the Skies, or retire them altogether.
Then there’s the A380, which is integral to huge airline flees like Emirates.
They were first to go into storage in the desert in 2020 as the pandemic hit. Airlines noticed its often cheaper to fly two 787s on the same route as an A380. So they are begrudgingly bringing the super jumbo back, but only once all their 787s are back in service first.
Don’t you just long for the days of extra space on a plane?
Rocketing fuel prices
In some cases, spot prices for aviation fuel has soared to 80 per cent! Airlines usually rely on hedging fuel prices (as in locking the price in in advance). But not many carriers in Asia do that, meaning they are at risk of fluctuating oil prices.
Airlines have a simple strategy for dealing with rising fuel prices – passing the cost on to consumers. Some passengers flying out of Asia are finding that a flight to London in economy is now $5000, five times the price.
The war in Ukraine hasn’t helped matters either, with Russian oil now missing from the global supply chain. That’s pushing up the cost of resources everywhere, and there’s no sign that’s about to end.
Lack of staff
Airline staff get COVID too, and in some (hilarious) cases, front line staff are returning to stop working from home!
Airlines have rules in place regarding how many flight attendants and pilots need to be on board an aircraft. And with so many different types of planes in service, some flight attendants can only work on certain aircraft types.
That severely limits the capability of airlines to quickly man aircraft in an emergency. And one cancellation snowballs into a travel nightmare.
Airports are struggling too. Lack of maintenance at baggage carousels and airport equipment means some airports are relying on just one vehicle to help every plane back out of a gate.
Remember when the pandemic hit and airlines sacked thousands of workers? The airlines didn’t think they would need them all back so quickly, and highly skilled pilots went on to find other, perhaps more stable jobs.
Accountants taking over
Airlines are big businesses with gigantic overheads. Think of the cost of a plane, which often reaches over $300 million.
Then add the cost of airports, fuel and staff.
Qantas had a debt bomb of $6.5 billion at the height of the pandemic, and while governments have been throwing money at airlines to stay in business, they still are a business.
Airlines need to make a profit, they need to return value to shareholders, and they need to pay down debt to stay financial. Not to mention cashflow.
So regardless of the airport queue, or the soggy sandwich you’re eating in business class, think of the balding accountants praying for good news.
And keep your eye out for some bargains. It’s not all doom and gloom. Some airlines are even allowing you to burn your points on upgrades. So why fly economy?
And if you can hang on a few months longer, you might enjoy cheaper fares. But no promises.
Four-day office week for Snapchat employees
Snapchat is asking workers to return to the office 80% of the time, or the equivalent of four days a week.
They want workers back from the start of next year.
It’s the latest sign of tech employees receiving less flexibility nearly three years after the pandemic took hold.
It also comes amid a wave of cost-cutting in the tech sector.
The company says in a statement: “We believe that being together in person, while retaining flexibility for our team members, will enhance our ability to deliver on our strategic priorities of growing our community, driving revenue growth, and leading in [augmented reality].”
The new policy will take effect at the end of February.
Twitter quietly cancels COVID misinformation policy
More big changes at Twitter under the new Elon Musk ownership.
This time, its Twitter’s controversial COVID misinformation policy, which the social platform has quietly canceled.
Twitter said in December 2020 that it would begin to label and remove misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.
But Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of how health officials reacted to the coronavirus pandemic.
Musk has committed to free speech on Twitter, which might explain why the change has now been enacted.
But online safety experts have contended his approach has led to an increase in hate speech, harassment and misinformation on the platform.
Hospital staff have resorted to using pen and paper following cyber breach
Vanuatu’s public service remains offline nearly a month after a ransomware attack on the nation’s government.
The ABC reports hospital staff have resorted to using pen and paper, as key infrastructure remains offline.
Senior ministers describing the incident as a “serious breach” of national security.
Cybersecurity staff were told about the attack when government websites became unavailable.
Port Vila’s hospital has also been badly affected, with staff using pen and paper for some medical records.
It’s understood some government employees are using their personal email addresses and hotspots to complete their work.
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