Travel News

How much? Parents can pay over 16 times more by sticking to school holidays

Simon Calder’s Travel

As parents in England who take their children out of class without permission are warned of higher fines, The Independent has uncovered the astonishing scale of savings parents can make by travelling in term time.

A family of four flying with British Airways from London Heathrow to Geneva will pay over 16 times more for each one-way flight if they travel next February half-term, compared with an identical departure a week earlier.

Even taking into account new, higher fines, the family would save over £2,700 on the outbound flights alone.

The Department for Education says a fine must be considered if a pupil misses five days of school in an unauthorised absence.

Until now, fines have started at £60, rising to £120 if they are not paid within 21 days, but ministers say they will now start at £80, rising to £160. The higher fines are expected to take effect from September.

Of nearly 400,000 penalty notices issued to parents in England in 2022-23 for unauthorised pupil absences, nine in 10 (89.3 per cent) were for holidays as families booked cheaper breaks during term times, the government says.

The Independent calculates one in 25 children in England was taken out of school for an unauthorised holiday over the past year.

With school absences soaring, the evidence suggests that parents regard the fines as a necessary expense.

These are the key questions and answers on a contentious issue.

How much do holiday costs increase outside term-time?

Package holiday prices typically double when schools are out. A week before the late May half term, the cheapest Thomson holiday from East Midlands to Tenerife staying in a self-catering apartment at the Tamaimo Tropical costs £1,204 per person based on a family of four; the cheapest a week later, when many schools are on holiday, the price almost doubles to £2,384. That’s an increase of 98 per cent.

Increases in air fares tend to be much higher, with prices typically multiplying three-fold. An example for the summer holiday: from Newcastle to Faro in Portugal, the Ryanair flight on Saturday 22 June costs £140. Exactly the same flight four weeks later is £340. For a family of five that is £1,000 more just to get to the Algarve.

Even more extreme: ski flights in February half term. Next February, almost a year from now, the cheapest British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Geneva on Saturday 8…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…