January sales for flights and holidays may be too good to be true: Which? research found past deals didn’t always add up, with some cheaper AFTER the sale ended
- Which? Travel has conducted three investigations into holiday deals since 2017
- In previous years it found that half were the same price or cheaper after the sale
- The consumer group is urging holidaymakers to shop around before booking
Holidaymakers are being warned that January sales deals on flights and holidays may be too good to be true.
Which? Travel claimed it found offers in previous years that didn’t represent a genuine saving.
And based on past research the consumer champion said that some deals might actually be cheaper after the January sales have ended.
Holidaymakers are being warned that January sales deals on flights and holidays may be too good to be true by consumer champion Which?
Which? Travel has conducted three investigations since 2017 where it tracked sales on flights and holidays. It said that the deal price was the same – or cheaper – after the sale period had ended for around half of the examples it studied.
In one investigation in 2017, Which? looked at limited-time deals, which ‘promise holidaymakers bargain prices if they book their holiday or cruise before a certain time or date’.
But when Which? tracked 30 of these deals, it said 16 of them were ‘the same price or cheaper after the sales period had ended’.
The consumer group also carried out a similar price tracking exercise on 10 early booking deals in 2018 that ‘claim to offer a saving if you book several months or even a year in advance’.
It said it found tour operator Canadian Affair offered an early bird deal on its 16-day Alaskan cruise of £2,836 per person if booked a year in advance.
But when Which? investigators checked the price for the same cruise seven months later, they said it had been reduced by £161 per person.
Canadian Affair told Which? that the two prices related to different departure months, but the consumer group said this wasn’t clear on the travel company’s website.
A spokesperson for Canadian Affair agreed it was a ‘limitation’ and told Which? At the time that ‘plans were underway to display live pricing’.
Experts at Which? recently claimed that promises of discounts from airlines like Ryanair were either exaggerated or non-existent on Black Friday
Meanwhile, experts at Which? recently claimed that promises of discounts from airlines like Ryanair were either exaggerated or non-existent on Black Friday.
For example, the Irish carrier offered 25 per cent off one million seats purchased by midnight on Black Friday for travel between January and April 2019.
However, Which? said: ‘While this might have sounded inviting, none of the flights checked were any cheaper on Black Friday than they were when checked two weeks later.
‘Two flights – London Stansted to Oslo and London Stansted to Lanzarote – were actually £5 more expensive.’
Which? said its best advice for holiday deals is to shop around and use comparison sites, like Icelolly – and set up price alerts for flights on websites such as Skyscanner.
Which? says its best advice for holiday deals is to shop around and use comparison sites, like Icelolly – and set up price alerts for flights on websites such as Skyscanner
It also suggested phoning travel agents to ‘ask them to beat or match a price you have found – even when they can’t beat the price they might throw in a free upgrade or better hotel room’.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said: ‘Getting a great deal on your holiday will leave you elated, but finding out you have overpaid is likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
‘Time and time again our research finds that travel deals during designated sales periods are often not all they are cracked up to be.
‘Avoid being ripped off by shopping around and doing your research before you commit – that way you’ll know a good deal when you do find it.’
A Ryanair spokesman said: ‘Ryanair has the lowest fares in the UK – with an average fare of just £37 – and we continue to cut airfares (down minus five per cent this year), so there’s never been a better time to book and fly with Ryanair.
‘Ryanair complies fully with UK advertising laws. We expressly advertise that sale fares are subject to availability so it is not surprising that, by the time Which? eventually got around to checking the sale prices, some of the sale prices were no longer available.’