Flight prices soar by 50 per cent ahead of train strikes this weekend

Airlines are cashing in on the next round of walk-outs on the railways, which begin on Friday.

Many air fares between Scotland and London are 50 per cent or more higher on days when train drivers are striking. But flying from Edinburgh to London may still be cheaper than by train.

Members of the Aslef union are staging “rolling” strikes on 5, 6 and 8 April.

Among key long-distance operators, train drivers will walk out at Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry on Friday 5 April, with LNER and Great Western Railway (GWR) passengers hit on Saturday 6 April.

Neither Avanti nor CrossCountry will run any trains on Friday, while on Saturday only very limited services will operate on LNER and GWR.

From Glasgow to London Gatwick on Friday, the first easyJet flight of the day is selling at £106 – compared with £69 on Thursday and £97 on Saturday. The normal Avanti West Coast off-peak fare is £125, though cheaper Advance tickets are usually available.

On Saturday, when LNER is running only a skeleton service between Edinburgh and London, the difference is even greater. The first easyJet flight from the Scottish capital to Gatwick is selling for £69 on Friday but £148 on Saturday.

The average fare for the Edinburgh-Gatwick route on easyJet is:

  • Friday: £93
  • Saturday: £163
  • Sunday: £113

A spokesperson for Britain’s biggest budget airline said: “easyJet’s pricing is demand driven with fares starting low and increasing as fewer seats are available to book. We do not artificially increase fares.”

Yet flying may still be cheaper than taking the train. LNER is pricing most available trains on Saturday at the £200 Anytime fare.

On British Airways, the highest fare from Edinburgh to London Heathrow on Friday is £336, while on Saturday the midday departure is selling at £1,147 – or close to £20 for every minute spent in the air.

Journeys normally covered by CrossCountry are also selling well for the airlines. Between Edinburgh and Bristol, easyJet has an average fare of £94 on Friday and £113 on Sunday, but £153 on Saturday, the strike day.

GWR has cancelled all long-distance trains from the West of England and South Wales to London on Saturday. But from Newquay in Cornwall to Gatwick, tickets for Saturday are still available on Eastern Airways for £140 one-way – compared with £200 on Friday.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “As [rail minister] Huw Merriman told the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, it would have been much cheaper – for everyone – to have settled this dispute a long time ago.”

All fares researched direct from airline and rail websites on the morning of Wednesday 3 April.

Share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.