Flights increase 250 per cent at half term

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Parents who want to treat their children to a holiday could pay up to eight times more this half-term.

This weekend sees families hit with a double whammy, as schools break up for half term on Friday and Valentine’s Day takes place on Sunday.

Price comparisons to 75 destinations found that Leeds Bradford Airport is one of the hardest hit, with an average rise of 253 per cent for a return flight when compared with holidays departing two weeks later.

The city’s airport was behind only London (272 per cent) and East Midlands (266 per cent).

The comparisons - carried out by online bureau de change FairFX - found that flights on the Leeds-Geneva route are 552 per cent higher while the Leeds-Dublin route has also soared by 430 per cent. The best value flights are from Leeds to Gran Canaria, although these are still 91 per cent more expensive than usual.

Darren Kilner, currency expert at FairFX, said: “FairFX’s research into holiday costs reveals some startling increases across the board. Families with school children often have no flexibility when it comes to choosing their holiday dates forcing them to pay significantly higher prices. With holiday prices being pushed up, it’s even more important to ensure you’re making the most of your spending money by planning ahead.”

The top five places with the biggest increases are most likely led by Valentine’s Day rather than half term, but will hit families the hardest. Flights to Switzerland cost an average of 405 per cent more this weekend, with Italy at 354 per cent, France at 323 per cent, Morocco at 263 per cent and Austria at 258 per cent.

Dad Paul Cookson, who set up the family campaign group Holiday Price Index after getting frustrated at increasing school holiday costs, said: “I understand that demand pushes up prices but, as a parent, that doesn’t stop it being a major frustration, which affects families each and every school holiday.

“The fact is we know what the problem is and while some may say that it’s always been this way, that doesn’t mean that we should do nothing and choose to accept it. If we do nothing, families will always struggle to have that quality time they need together purely based on cost.

“I don’t want to take my daughter out of school for a holiday just because its cheaper. She was allocated 13 weeks holiday a year with six weeks in the summer and so I do not want her to miss school just because of pricing. Families shouldn’t be priced out of this market. This issue affects every family and won’t go away until it is addressed by the industry as a whole.”

MAKE YOUR MONEY GO FURTHER

FairFX has issued a number of tips for travellers to make their money go further:

- Pick a destination where your pound goes furthest thanks to favourable exchange rates.

- Whatever you do, don’t leave sorting out your travel money until the last minute as you could be left severely out of pocket. Exchange rates at the airport can be more than 10 percent more expensive than elsewhere.

- Beware of ATM and transaction fees abroad. Visit www.fairfx.com for more.

Sarah Champion MP

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