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Airlines fleece travellers with shy-high fares

Abu Dhabi: With three-week winter holidays starting in the UAE last Friday, all airlines have increased their fares five-fold. While a ticket from UAE to airports in Kerala was priced at around Rs 6,000 in October, it is over Rs 28,000 now.

Even Air India, which had announced a special one-way fare starting from 730 UAE Dirhams is charging double that amount. Fares have skyrocketed considering the rush of travellers from UAE to Kerala for the Christmas and New Year celebrations and their return during January, 2023. Travel industry stakeholders said that the high fares would be in force till at least mid-January. “Schools in UAE will reopen only on January 2,” they pointed out.

Incidentally, though seats are available on direct flights from UAE to Kerala, almost all flights in the reverse trips are already fully booked. Meanwhile, travellers could opt to book connecting flights to the UAE. However, the fares on these services are also steep.

The fares charged by various airlines on Sunday indicate how difficult the situation is for ordinary travellers. Dubai-Kochi one-way fare on FlyDubai was Rs 29,800 on Sunday and Rs 65,700 for the return trip. On Indigo the corresponding fares were Rs 32,300 and Rs 66,100; SpiceJet Rs 32,500 and Rs 65,800; Air India Rs 36,200 and Rs 73,800 and Air India Express Rs 33,400 and Rs 65,100. Meanwhile, Air Arabia charged Rs 28,300 and Rs 65,500 from Sharjah.

Following the implementation of such high fares, a four-member family travelling from the UAE to Kochi for the holidays and returning on January 1, 2023 would have to spend Rs 2,57,600 on Air India Express; Rs 2,63,500 on Air India; Rs 2,52,200 on SpiceJet; Rs 2,74,100 on Indigo and Rs 2,44,500 on Air Arabia. The amount will be Rs 3,000 less per ticket from Abu Dhabi.

Air India had promised tickets starting at 730 dirhams (Rs 16,380) for tickets booked for Dubai from Kochi, Kozhikode, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. These tickets could be used to travel till Christmas Eve (December 24).

However, during actual bookings, travellers found that the Dubai-Kochi ticket was priced at 1,830 UAE Dirhams (Rs 41,063) on Sunday and a return ticket on January 1 at 3,435 UAE Dirhams (Rs 77,077). This amounts to 12,140 UAE Dirhams (Rs 2,72,408) for a four-member family.

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