MUSCAT, JUNE 3 – During festival season airfares increase manifold shattering the holiday dreams of common man. With the upcoming Eid holidays, airlines have already begun to hike fares to astronomical heights. Many expatriates are reconsidering their vacation plans fearing that the present rates during the holidays would put a hole in their pockets. A round-trip ticket from Muscat to Kozhikode, one of the airports mostly used by expatriates residing in the GCC, would cost you RO 103 if the journey is before June 10. Conversely, the same is processed between RO 150 and RO 200 close to Eid holidays. A return ticket from Muscat to Kochi, however, has already landed on a higher scale with RO 230 for the next few days. These charges seem to be a blatant encashment of the holiday season when one takes a look at the Muscat-London fare which is RO 200 on all days.
“This kind of fare hike is a regular one just before the festival seasons, public holidays, and the like”, says a senior official with a leading airline.
“The fares for same sectors during off-peak days or off-season days would be drastically cheaper and one would also have to take it into consideration”, he adds. Budget airlines too seem to be capitalising on the trend and the rates would be RO 118 if the journey is before June 7 and the same would shoot high at nearly RO 150 towards the holidays.
Airlines executives and travel agents say that the issue is all about booking well in advance and those who wait till the last minute for the holidays to be announced will end up paying higher price for the ticket.
“Most airlines recommend purchasing tickets well in advance to avoid falling in high prices buckets. During Eid, the prices go up due to long holidays and more overseas travel”, adds Mohsin al Balushi of SalamAir.
“If you want a cheaper rate, it’s advisable to book some months in advance. The issue of higher fare is affecting those who wait till the last minute for travelling. So, my advice is to book in advance and enjoy the cheaper rates”, said another airline official.
Most of the Indian schools are scheduled to close for summer holidays starting this week. However, carriers operating between Oman and Kerala are in a fix with the Ministry of Health’s advisory on travel to Kozhikode.