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August air fares soar as Spain-UK flights hit £780 one way

August air fares soar as Spain-UK flights hit £780 one way

A three-hour flight from Malaga to London is selling for more than a trip to Australia as demand for flights returning from Spain to the UK in the next two weeks is driving air fares to unprecedented levels.

As the summer holidays draw to an end, The Independent has been monitoring fares for families returning to the UK from Spain – the favourite overseas destination for British holidaymakers.

The most extreme example is on Thursday 31 August, when the cheapest flight from Malaga to London Heathrow is currently €714 (£611) – with hand baggage only.

The afternoon trip, operated by Finnair for British Airways, is less expensive than a later BA departure on the same route. The early evening flight is selling at €916 (£783) in economy class, though this includes a 23kg checked bag.

For comparison, on the same day China Southern is flying from Heathrow to Sydney via Guangzhou for £580, including two 23kg checked bags. The distance is over 10 times further than Malaga-London, and complimentary inflight food and drink is provided.

British Airways has a cheaper flight on the same day, from Malaga to Gatwick, priced at €387 (£331) excluding checked baggage.

A spokesperson for BA said: “We offer our customers a wide range of fares to give greater choice and value. We advise customers to book as far in advance as possible in order to take advantage of our lowest prices.

“Like other airlines, our available ticket prices can fluctuate based on high levels of demand, and typically lower fares will normally be taken up first.”

Budget airlines are also charging high prices. Fares on the Malaga-Luton route with easyJet peak at €515 (£440) on Sunday 3 September, with a much smaller baggage allowance then British Airways permits..

A trip from Malaga to Bangkok on the same day on Etihad is six times further and one-fifth cheaper than easyJet to Luton.

On the corresponding easyJet flight one week later, the fare is almost halved.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “Over the next two weeks the average fare between Malaga and Luton is around £100 and in September fares start from just £29.92.

“Prices increase as fewer seats are available and so we always recommend that customers aim to book as early as possible to secure the lowest rates.”

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