Carriers with multiple connections across Asia, Europe and the US, such as Emirates, British Airways, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Oman Air, have zeroed in on Indian travellers with lucrative offers that are being cited as the best ever in the business.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) have seen about 15% spike in advance bookings for summer travel to international destinations and they expect more travellers to lap up these early bird discounts.
“Most of the large Gulf carriers have multiple connections across Asia, Europe and the US and these fares are designed to attract customers who are planning their summer vacations well in advance. These fares are at least 25% cheaper than the regular fares,” said John Nair, head of business travel at Cox & Kings. “The summer bookings for 2019 have been encouraging.”
The Emirates offer, for instance, valid for over 159 destinations during January 8-15 for travel between January 15 and November 30 is giving return trips to destinations such as Milan for about Rs 40,000, while a trip to Washington or New York could cost Rs 65,000- Rs 75,000.
The British Airways’ January sale is now on with over 100 destinations on offer across World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and Club World (business) options. Return fares to London start Rs 43,779 and the sale runs until January 31.
For Qatar Airways, the promotion is valid on all flights booked within January 7-16, for travel between January 7 and December 31. Passengers who book during the promotion period can take advantage of a 25% discount on businessclass fares and up to 35% cut on economy-class fares.
“At Yatra.com, we foresee these figures to chart a steady increase with travellers taking advantage of these lucrative prices. The major destinations that people are looking to book are South East Asian countries, Dubai, Vietnam and Sri Lanka,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) at Yatra.com, said.
Travel and hotel booking portal ixigo is seeing an average 14% surge in advance bookings for summer travel to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Singapore. “On the average, flight fares in the sale period are 30% lower than the past 30 days,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo.
Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates announced its global sale on Friday. Travellers flying from India to Abu Dhabi, the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and Africa can book these special fares, exclusively available on its website for the first two days and after that the discounted fares will be available on all platforms.
For travel between January 29 and March 29 with trips completed till May 2, guests are eligible for up to 35% discount on economy class and up to 20% on business class. For travel after March 30, its a 10% discount on economy class tickets and up to 20% on business class.