Air carriers, including budget airlines, are not planning to lower fares during the Tet holiday. Tickets for a Hanoi – HCM City flight on one airline, for example, are now selling for more than VND3 million each.
All three Vietnamese air carriers have begun selling air tickets five months before the 2015 Tet holiday. Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air kicked off a sale campaign in mid-September, while the national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines began its sales on October 1.
As predicted, passengers have mostly ordered tickets from HCM City to Hanoi, Vinh, Thanh Hoa, Hai Phong and Da Nang, and tickets from Hanoi to Vinh and Dong Hoi cities on the days just before Tet.
Meanwhile, the flights in the opposite direction have been booked for the days after the holiday, when passengers return to work.
A senior executive of Vietnam Airlines said the peak flight season would be between February 11 and March 8, 2015.
Vietnam Airlines is now selling tickets for flights on February 16, the Kitchen God Day (according to the Lunar Year), at VND2.87 million, while Vietjet Air's fares are VND2.8 million and Jetstar Pacific VND2.65 million.
Including taxes and fees, the final airfare is between VND3 million and VND3.3 million for flights on key routes.
As for Vietnam Airlines, the airfare is 1.5-1.7 times higher than the airfare applied on ordinary days. Meanwhile, Tet airfares set by the other two budget airlines are three times higher.
There always exists a big difference between airfares set by Vietnam Airlines and the other two smaller air carriers. However, the gap will narrow during Tet.
When asked why the budget airline set the airfare as high as those by Vietnam Airlines, a senior executive of Jetstar Pacific said the carrier incurred heavy losses when providing Tet flights because of the imbalanced demand.
Flights from the south to the north are always full as many people return to their hometowns for Tet family reunion, but flights in the opposite direction are nearly deserted.
Airlines try to “collect as much money as they can” by offering surprisingly low-price tickets for flights in the opposite direction, that are expected to be deserted.
Jetstar Pacific last year sold tickets for the pre-Tet Hanoi – HCM City flights for VND150,000 only.
Vietjet Air said it was now offering tickets on the Hanoi – HCM City route for VND9,000 only.
Airlines hope that the big discount rate would help stimulate travel demand on Tet days.
Vietnamese have the habit of returning home on Tet days for family reunion. However, they may change their mind and travel elsewhere if they can buy low-price air tickets.
When asked about demand during Tet, the three airlines were cautious in their statements. Vietnam Airlines still has not decided on the number of Tet flights, saying that it is still considering and listening to opinions. Jetstar Pacific said it still needs to consider market demand in the upcoming days before making a decision.
tet holiday, hcm city, five months, jetstar pacific, vietjet air, national flag, air carrier, vietnam airlines, thanh hoa, hai phong, da nang, dong hoi, kitchen god, lunar year, budget airline
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