Why does a flight from Britain cost much less than a journey to come back?
Q&A: Travel unravelled
Wednesday 19 October 2011
Q. My daughter lives near Auckland, and I fly out each year. The average economy flight from London with any of the regular airlines is about £750 return. But when the trip is made the other way around with Auckland as the starting point the fare can be more than double – typically NZ$3,000 (more than £1,500). Why is there this incredible discrepancy for an identical ticket? Rose Goss
A Yes, it looks ridiculous that the same 23,000 miles of air travel should be priced so differently, but it is a reflection of the competition that anyone starting a journey in London can benefit from – and the weakness of the UK economy.
The days of £750 tickets are numbered, because of the price of fuel and scarcity of seats; the best deal we can find for the next low season in late April is £900 return on Emirates via Dubai and Australia, or £950 direct on Air New Zealand.
Reverse the dates, and Emirates comes out at the equivalent of £1,500, with Air New Zealand at £1,800. There is another option, a journey involving Air NZ between Auckland and Sydney, connecting with Virgin Atlantic between Sydney and London via Hong Kong, for just over £1,200. So, not the doubling in fare you surmised, but still a 35 per cent price discrepancy. Wherever you go in the world, the UK is usually the best place to start.
Q. I want to find a flights website that allows you to book by date, without specifying a destination. All sites I have visited so far require a destination that leads to a laborious search. Caitlin Hughes
AThe closest approximation to what you need is most probably skyscanner.net. Tap in your travel dates and departure point, eg "London (Any)". Enter your destination as "Everywhere". You then get a list of nations in increasing order of the price of the lowest fare – for half-term, for example, the cheapest is Norway at £57.
Click through to find out where you can go for that price (it turns out to be Rygge, near Oslo, on Ryanair). If that does not appeal, check out other countries.
If any readers can suggest an alternative, please get in touch at email@example.com
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
The 50 Best spas
Hashima: Among the ruins on Japan's Battleship Island, the place that time forgot
A commuter is getting revenge on First Capital Connect by Photoshopping its CEO's face every time his train is delayed
The 50 Best weekend retreats
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...