Friday the 13th: Unravelling the mystery over cheap flight claims

Business

Claims by a fare-comparison website that “superstitious Brits” are shunning flights on Friday 13th have been flatly rejected by the three biggest airlines serving the UK. 

Kayak claimed fares for Friday 13 April to Auckland are barely half the level for other Fridays in April. The firm asserts the average fare for departures to New Zealand’s largest city on “the superstitious date” was just £554 return, compared with an average of £1,049 on other Fridays.

The Independent has been unable to replicate Kayak’s results, or find any fares to Auckland as low as £554 return.

Looking ahead to the next Friday 13th, in July, the lowest fare to Auckland with a two-week stay on Kayak is £1,039 return. That is 4 per cent higher than the average of the other Fridays in July.

Kayak’s research on Friday 13 April also shows fares to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria are 42 per cent lower, with an average price of just £119 return from London to the island.

The lowest fare The Independent could find booking direct with an airline was £184 from Luton on Ryanair.

The fall in fares to Belfast was almost as dramatic, according to Kayak, with the April average of £107 return falling 41 per cent to £63.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair all compete between London and Belfast.

The Independent asked each airline for its assessment of demand on Friday 13th compared with other dates, and also if there was any effect on 11 September, the anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York and Washington in 2001.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “There is absolutely no truth in this effect. Either for Friday 13th or September 11th”

British Airways reported that there is no drop in demand, adding that Friday is its busiest day.

Ryanair’s spokesperson said: “No, as always customers continue to book in their thousands. Every day is a lucky day for our 130 million customers, who enjoy the lowest airfares in Europe both on Friday 13th, September 11th and each of the 364 days we operate annually.”

On 11 September 2002, the first anniversary of the attack, numerous flights were cancelled, but since then schedules have operated normally.

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