Travelling from the UAE to UK this summer is "very difficult", with current airfares for a return flight from London soaring to new highs, industry experts have said.
"The fares are among the highest I have seen in a long time," said Fardan Haneef, spokesperson for Deira Travels. “A return flight from London to Dubai in mid-August will cost you upwards of Dh19,000”
One of the biggest issues travellers are facing is the difficulty in finding tickets.
“Apart from some last-minute cancellations, tickets from London are very hard to find,” said Mir Raja Wasim, manager MICE and holidays Galadari International Travel Services.
“In many cases economy class tickets are completely sold out and only business or first-class tickets are available.”
Last week, Heathrow capped the number of people travelling through the airport to 100,000 after complaints of lengthy baggage queues and delays lasting several hours. However, capacity limits at the airport is just one of multiple factors affecting travel plans of Emiratis and expats to the UK. Lots of people have or will cancel their plans due to airfares and visa delays.
Residents have been experiencing visa delays due to multiple factors including significantly higher demand for travel.
A record-breaking heat wave sweeping across Europe has prompted the British government to declare a national emergency as well.
Summer travel is at its peak from the UAE as schools are off for two months.
“Very difficult,” said travel expert Fardan. “The airfare is extremely high, even compared to 2019. A lot of airlines are jacking up their prices to make up for the losses of the last two years. I would say the prices are some of the highest I have seen in a long time.”
Meanwhile, several UAE expatriates were forced to cancel their summer holiday plans to the UK as the visitor visa processing time now exceeds seven weeks.
“The wait for visas is also extremely long,” said Fardan. “I have a client who submitted her documents on June 18 for travel in September. However, we still have not heard back anything from the authorities. Getting an appointment for visas is a very difficult task. Once you get that and submit the documentation, you can still expect to wait over one month to get the visas.”
Officials at VFS Global have confirmed that the visa processing time is taking longer than usual.
Experts say that airlines have been asking their passengers to review their travel plans. “They are offering flexibility to change dates of their travel and providing vouchers,” said Rashida Zahid, VP Operations, Musafir.com.
“We have a lot of passengers who are calling in to reconfirm their flights status or change their dates of travel based on the availability of tickets. There has been a slight shift in people booking their flight to other airports other than Heathrow depending on the reason for travel.”
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