Families face half-term price hikes as air fares soar

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Families face half-term price hikes as air fares soar

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Families wanting a half-term holiday this month face paying up to eight times more than normal for flights, according to new research.

Travellers will be hit by “the perfect storm” of the start of half-term and Valentine’s Day falling on the same weekend.

The average cost of flights on the weekend of February 13 is nearly 200% more than flights departing two weeks later, according to the study by online bureau de change FairFX.

The biggest mark-up, of 762%, was on a flight travelling from Manchester to Verona on February 13. The second biggest mark-up was on a flight from London to the Austrian ski gateway of Salzburg, which cost 739% more.

An investigation by the Times last week revealed that Center Parcs in the UK during February half-term was 194% more expensive than in Holland

France, Holland and Germany have different school holiday dates regionally so there are no significant mark-ups during the year.

Under rule changes introduced two years ago schools can fine parents £60 for each child taken out of school for a week, meaning a family with four children faces a £240 bill for a week’s holiday.

However, while unauthorised absences have fallen, many parents still opt to take their children away in term time because the savings are usually greater than the fines.

Paul Cookson, a father whose Facebook protest about the cost of holidays during half-term went viral two years ago and ended up being debated in Westminster, told the newspaper: “I understand that demand pushes up prices but as a parent, that doesn’t stop it being a major frustration.”

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