BLAISE TAPP: It’s time for airlines to take a long hard look at themselves

Could Monarch have survived if they re-evaluated summer flight costs?
Could Monarch have survived if they re-evaluated summer flight costs?
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October is a funny old month. With the exception of halloween and German beer festivals, nothing much really happens at this time of year.

There will be those misty-eyed souls who will bang on about the glorious shades of autumn and the joys of playing conkers in the school yard, but October consists of 31 days which, for lots of us, can’t be over soon enough.

Summer is a rapidly fading memory and Christmas is too far away for all right-minded folk not to give it more than a second’s thought but it does mean that we are in desperate need of a holiday.

October half term is either spent at work while the kids traipse, like well-heeled refugees, between grandparents and holiday clubs or, if we’re lucky, on a beach, somewhere hot.

The trouble is, grabbing a bit of autumn sun is out of the reach of so many of us, because legally getting away from long, dark nights is an expensive business.

There are strict rules prohibiting parents from removing their children from school unless the headteacher agrees there are exceptional circumstances. In my experience, getting a cracking deal on one week all-inclusive in Benidorm during November doesn’t quite fulfill that criteria.

I largely understand this rule and am not one of these parents who believe that the law is an sham or that we can remove our kids from class on a whim but I do hugely resent the fact that parents are made to even consider incurring a fine or meeting with the disapproval of their child’s headteacher just so they can enjoy an affordable holiday.

It is a national scandal that families are routinely hit with huge hikes in the cost of flights and hotels, whenever the schools break up, with the latest research showing that some holidays cost more than seven times more during school breaks.

One study revealed that a flight from the UK to Berlin would cost a British family an eye-watering £1,100 more than it would their German counterparts.

While I fully appreciate the principle of market forces, this kind of mark-up is nothing more than greed.

Airlines and tour operators really need to take a long hard look at themselves, especially during a month which has seen the sorry demise of Monarch – the biggest airline failure in British history.

One thing that airlines need to keep their planes in the sky is bums on their seats and I would suggest that there is no better way of achieving this than by making it more affordable for families to go abroad when they really want to.

There is little chance that airlines and tour operators will see the sense in this and will inevitably stick with a strategy that has served them well over a prolonged period of time so what is the answer.

Our struggling Prime Minister, Theresa May, could do a lot worse than instruct her ministers to find a solution to a problem, which is really stretching an already overstretched population which has endured an unprecedented period of wage stagnation over the last decade.

If she can solve the problem that is October, she might well see a change in her fortunes.