The arrival of Valentine’s Day weekend coinciding with the start of February half-term has led to a perfect storm of price hikes, with some flights costing more than 700 per cent of the fare the weekend after.
The majority of schools in the UK break for a week from the sound of the bell on Friday, February 12, and with Valentine’s Day following on the Sunday, that weekend has prompted a spike in prices for flights to European destinations.
The greatest increase was found to be on a flight from Manchester to Verona, with a flight on February 27 costing £55, but £474 on February 13, according to research by FairFX.
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Using the same method for dozens of flights to a host of European cities from different regional airports, the travel currency company found that the Italian city was the most expensive destination to fly to that weekend, with the average price hike of 591 per cent.
Average flight price cost increase (%)
Marseille and Grenoble in France were next, showing a 465 and 423 per cent increase respectively, though the latter might have been affected by ski holidays, as Grenoble is a popular hub for the Alps.
Flights to Venice, Milan and Salzburg also all experienced large increases.
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Research done for Telegraph Travel by hotel comparison site Trivago also found that rates increased for the Valentine’s Day weekend, with Venice, Rome and Amsterdam seeing the biggest hikes (23, 16 and 13 per cent respectively), compared to prices for the following weekend.
The average cost of a night in a hotel in Venice costs £103 for the weekend of February 19-21, but £127 for Valentine’s.
Average price Feb 12-14 (?)
Average price Feb 19-21 (?)
The anomaly of Barcelona’s results are down to the city hosting the Mobile World Congress on February 22.
Trivago also looked at the search interest for 20 destinations, 10 in the UK, 10 in Europe, for the weekends and found that all 20 were experiencing more traffic for the Valentine’s weekend.
As far as UK hotel prices for the weekends, the biggest spike was for Cardiff, with a Valentine’s weekend room costing more than double the week after. However, this is most likely down to Wales playing Scotland at the Millennium Stadium in the Six Nations on the Saturday.
Brighton saw the second biggest increase, 14 per cent, from £116 per room to £132.
Venice, a popular destination for romance Photo: Alamy
FairFX’s research into flight costs also found that the price increases varied from region to region, with London seeing the highest increase (272 per cent). Nottingham was next with 266 per cent, followed by Leeds with 253 per cent.
Paul Cookson, a father of three who launched an e-petition calling for an end to fines for parents who take their kids out of school during termtime, said the percentage increase highlighted the steep costs faced by families.
“I understand that demand pushes up prices but as a parent, that doesn’t stop it being a major frustration which affects families each and every school holiday,” he said.
“The fact is, we know what the problem is and while some may say that it’s always been this way, that doesn’t mean that we should do nothing and choose to accept it. If we do nothing, families will always struggle to have that quality time they need together purely based on cost.
“Families shouldn’t be priced out of this market.”