Britons return to skies in costly Easter getaway

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Six months after the terror attack on America, British travellers are returning to the skies in record numbers – and paying high prices even on low-cost airlines.

Six months after the terror attack on America, British travellers are returning to the skies in record numbers – and paying high prices even on low-cost airlines.

Yesterday easyJet was selling return flights over Easter from Gatwick to the key skiing destination of Geneva for £420 return, while Ryanair was asking £322 for the short hop from the same London airport to Dublin and back.

The Easter getaway began at the start of the school holidays last night. It will see an estimated 1.6 million Britons take to the skies – an increase of almost 30 per cent on last year when 1.25 million UK passengers flew over the Easter weekend.

The numbers are being boosted by the fast growth in budget airlines; today the newest, Bmibaby, starts flying from East Midlands airport to six European destinations. Yesterday, Easter flights to Barcelona were being snapped up at £200 return – with some online buyers finding they could not book because of heavy demand.

From Bristol, Go was offering flights to Palma de Mallorca, leaving on Good Friday and returning on Easter Monday for £238 return.

Demand for travel is being fuelled by the continuing strength of the pound relative to the euro, and the early Easter. The school holidays fall before the end of the ski season. The Association of British Travel Agents said there were strong bookings for ski trips to the French Alps, Austria, Andorra, Italy and Switzerland. ABTA said the Easter holiday trade has been further boosted by family bookings for the Walt Disney studios near Paris, which opened this month.

The sunshine destinations of the Canary Islands, the Balearics and mainland Spain remain firm favourites. But agents report a reluctance to travel further afield to regions such as the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.

Although most holidaymakers will head abroad from Britain's airports, the cross-Channel operators have reported increased bookings after their business was blighted last Easter by foot-and-mouth restrictions.

Eurostar's passenger trains from London Waterloo to France and Belgium will be disrupted over the Easter weekend by engineering work. No trains will run on Saturday or Sunday. The company says there is still room to Paris and Brussels on Good Friday and Easter Monday, when normal services are expected.

Comments