Earlybirds get the bargains
UROPE has never been a more popular destination for Aussie holiday makers. Last year France, Italy, Spain and Britain combined to welcome 960,000 Australian travellers with that number a leap on the 706,000 people who visited in 2009.
With so many people looking to spend holiday dollars on the Continent and in the UK, it’s getting harder to nab a deal, but there’s one sure way– and now’s the time to act.
The carriers serving Australia – including Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific – are releasing annual earlybird airfares, and these sale tickets are perfect for travellers planning to explore Europe in 2016.
“Earlybird airfares are reduced airfares for travel to European destinations for departure between March and October the following year,’’ Escape Travel general manager Darren Lloyd says. “They are the best prices travellers will see on flights to Europe – travellers can save as much as $1400 on earlybird fares to Europe across business-class and economy flights – but the best airfares and most popular routes sell out first so it’s best to get in early.’’
Singapore Airlines is famous for offering considerable savings during the earlybird window with senior marketing manager Dale Woodhouse noting the campaign is one of his company’s “biggest fare promotions of the year’’ resulting in more than 50,000 seats sold during the offer period.
“Europe is a primary destination for Australian travellers, normally the most expensive airfare purchase, and Europe’s earlybird season provides an opportunity to lock in a discounted rate,’’ Dale says.
“Our objective is to offer the best possible fare to Europe for travel in the next year – usually between March and September – and, although we don’t state it categorically, implicit in our proposition is earlybird fares will be the best offered for the applicable travel period (and) Singapore Airlines will not offer a lower fare subsequently.
“In addition to attractive fares Singapore Airlines includes ‘value adds’ – $1 a person stopover in Singapore, discounted South-East Asia side-trip fare, Changi Airport transit voucher – and travellers will not only enjoy an affordable fare but have peace of mind.’’
Escape Travel’s Darren Lloyd says that while the earlybird rates released around September are already competitively priced, savvy travellers can “save even more by using the destination and airline route network to their advantage’’.
“If you’re flexible with travel plans you can save money by bypassing more popular and expensive hubs like London and Paris for cities including Dublin, Amsterdam and Istanbul,’’ Lloyd says.
“These are consistently the cheapest European cities to fly into and, for the cost of another short flight or train fare, travellers can be back on their planned itinerary having saved money on international flights.
“Escape Travel is offering return economy airfares to Amsterdam with Cathay Pacific from $1499, to Dublin with Etihad from $1453, and to Istanbul with Etihad from $1456, while another way to make the most of earlybird airfares is to look for packages built around these special rates.’’
GOOD VALUE: Historic Switzerland; and Atlantis The Palm Hotel and Resort, in Dubai, could offer the perfect stopover (above right). Main picture: Getty Images