Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Record low air fares from New Zealand to London announced

Flight Centre NZ has just released record low fares to London - a return from Auckland costs from $1349 per person. Photo / Getty Images
Flight Centre NZ has just released record low fares to London - a return from Auckland costs from $1349 per person. Photo / Getty Images

The cost of flying to London will become a lot cheaper from today. Consumer and aviation experts say it is the best time ever to travel to the UK.

Flight Centre NZ has just released record low fares to the British capital - a return from Auckland costs from $1349 per person.

Four years ago Flight Centre's best-advertised price for a return airfare to London was from $2349, almost double the fare announced flying Air China from today.

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager of product, said increased capacity and competition among airlines has seen record low air fares in the past six months.

"The market is very competitive right now, which has been driven by increased competition on popular routes," Berenson said. "This has driven a frenzy of sales activity, which is great for the consumer while it lasts.

"It's hard to know how long this 'golden era' of travel will continue so my advice would be for Kiwis to make the most of these record lows and travel far and wide while it's so affordable and accessible."

The record low fares are for travel to London via Beijing and are on sale until September 18. The advertised price is from $1399 but travellers who book through Flight Centre will get another $50 off.

The sale also includes a return fare of $1749 from Auckland to London flying Qatar Airways via Doha, a new route starting in February. The first leg of the flight will be the world's longest, at a record 17.5 hours.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark advised travellers should still shop around as a glut of new airlines - such as Qatar Airways, Tianjin Airways and Hong Kong Airlines - will soon be coming to New Zealand and could offer low introductory fares to fill seats.

"There are extraordinary deals to be had at the moment and the competition for customers will surely only increase as new hubs to Europe open up to Kiwis in Asia and the Middle East," he said.

"The latest fares flying Air China to London are the lowest I have seen but sometimes there is more to choosing a flight than just the price.

"These days other factors such as airpoints deals or extra baggage allowances and short transfer times at connecting airports come into play and there are usually a limited number of seats available at the super-low prices offered via promotions from travel companies."

In 1947 a return air fare to London from Auckland would have cost approximately $1170 - the equivalent to 85 weeks' pay for the average worker. That is compared to today's cost of $1349 - just 1.5 weeks' pay for the average worker.

And with the UK's dramatic exit from the European Union this year resulting in the pound falling against the Kiwi dollar, now is possibly the best time to travel to Britain.

Sue Chetwin, chief executive of Consumer NZ, believed Kiwi flyers will continue to be winners for some time yet.

"Brexit has not been all bad, especially for travelling Kiwis," she said. "Combined with a very good exchange rate and low oil prices, the latest cheap flights are very good news for the public.

"I expect even more tempting fares will appear in the future as competition for customers continues to grow."

• In 2006 a coffee in the UK cost the equivalent of about $13.42 - today it is about $8.54.

•A MAC lipstick cost $44.28 compared to $28.18 now.

•One night's accommodation in London cost about $541.29 10 years ago compared to $327.27 today.

•A taxi from the airport to London city centre has gone from the equivalent of $385.71 in 2006 to $245.45 today.

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 05:02:17 Processing Time: 1076ms