Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Have all the Lanzarote flight deals jumped in unison?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 23 January 2013
Q. Last August I booked a flight from Gatwick to Lanzarote for November 2012 and paid £160 return. Looking at booking well ahead for November 2013, I was staggered to see that the price had gone up 73 per cent to £277! All airlines I checked seemed to have hiked their prices this year - are they in collusion?
A. The bosses of Monarch, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways will be wryly amused by your question. The main carriers that connect the UK with the Canary Islands are just as fiercely competitive to Lanzarote as they are for many other desirable destinations. That is why Britain, and specifically London, is the best place in northern Europe to begin a journey to many Spanish locations.
November is a splendid month to claim a reviving burst of sunshine, still-warm sea and relaxation in one of the finest Spanish islands. Lanzarote has a winning combination of great beaches, weird volcanic scenery and architectural flourishes by Cesar Manrique.
More pragmatically, November is the cheapest month of the year in which to travel, with no school holidays intruding to push up prices.
I expected to find return fares in the £150-£200 range, and without any trouble I found plenty of availability on Monarch at around £170 or £180. Fares on Thomas Cook and Thomson were typically £100 higher – but frankly only someone desperate to lock in to specific dates would pay nearly £300 for a return flight. The two holiday companies may sell a few at that sort of price, but in fact their focus is on using most of the capacity to sell inclusive packages. With almost a year to go, they can both be relaxed about the level of bookings, knowing that there will be a surge of interest come September when everyone finishes their summer holiday and seeks a winter break. By the start of October, you can expect much keener prices from both – and with a few days to go, prices for complete packages will probably fall to £200 or lower.
I can imagine your impatience to get a holiday booked, but please relax. I have been lucky enough to fly to the Canaries, including Lanzarote, many times in November, and none of those has been on a full aircraft. So even the day before, you can expect to get a good deal.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
Iceland volcano: Travel agency has 'Volcano hotline' for dare-devil tourists who want to visit Bardarbunga if it erupts
Mystery as 'lake' appears in middle of Tunisian desert and becomes overnight tourist attraction
August Bank Holiday 2014: Five ways to make the most of it
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...