Coronavirus: Bargain basement airfares on the way for travellers

Business class airfares are selling for less than economy normally does.
Business class airfares are selling for less than economy normally does. Photo credit: Getty Images

Dirt cheap airfares may be a silver lining for some when the coronavirus cloud begins to clear.

Although there is no way of knowing when travel will return to normal, one thing is certain: when it does return, it will be cheap.

Over the weekend, a travel booking website based in Europe was offering business class return airfares from Paris to Auckland for NZ$1865.

Yes, you read it correctly: business class return airfares between Europe and New Zealand for NZ$1865.

Business class airfares are selling for less than economy normally does.
Business class airfares are selling for less than economy normally does. Photo credit: Newshub.

Unfortunately, the airfare was about three times that when being booked in the opposite direction, but it highlights just how cheap things may get in a few months time.

Destinations such as Hong Kong will likely be among the places that will be promoted heavily with cheap airfares. The COVID-19 pandemic came after months of political unrest in Hong Kong which saw tourism numbers drop by more than a half.

A select group of searches on Skyscanner.com for return economy flights between Auckland and London during the busy period over the Christmas 2020 revealed airfares as low as NZ$1400.

The search also revealed premium economy airfares for less than what you'd usually pay for economy during this period, including an Air New Zealand/Virgin Atlantic deal for NZ$3231

The same airline combination had flights in business class for NZ$5716, with numerous Chinese airlines beating that price by a few hundred dollars.

First class tickets were also available for NZ$12,200. First class travel between Auckland and London can often be priced around the NZ$40,000 mark.

The excitement and opportunities those airfares bring are in stark contrast to the airline market today.

On Monday morning there was no sign of any destinations or airfares on the front page of Air NZ's website. Their cheap flight page displayed the message "Oh no! Unfortunately there are no deals available right now."

It's okay, we can wait.

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