An expensive waiting game for those flying after exams


How much did international students lose on airline tickets because of delayed exam timetables?

The logic is very simple. It is a well known fact that the closer to the date of departure you purchase an aeroplane ticket, the higher the price of that ticket will be. So how much more do we now have to pay for tickets thanks to the University’s seven day delay in posting examination timetables?

According to Forbes magazine, the best day to purchase an airline ticket is approximately 171 days before the flight. In contrast, we are now at roughly 37 days to the date of departure (using 12 December as an arbitrary date for the efficiency of this article). The timetables have been posted for just over a week, meaning that tickets could have been bought 44 days before the departure date. But they were supposed to be posted seven days before that – so what is the difference between purchasing a ticket 51 days in advance versus 44?

A lot. Again using information from Forbes and Quartz, along with information gathered from travel sites like Kayak and TripIt, the average ticket prices have increased by anywhere from approximately 6.50 per cent to 8.33 per cent. One major factor in the price hike is that our return home coincides with the busiest time to travel of the year. Demand for airline tickets means that many, especially cheap ones, would have already been nabbed weeks before we even had a chance.

Because the UK is an island nation, it can be inferred that a majority of international students will be taking an airplane to return home, lest they use a boat, train, or hot air balloon. And using the University’s most recent figures from 2013, with 7,775 students, 47 per cent of which are international students, there are approximately 3,654 students who do not call these isles their home. Though of course, this is not a completely accurate representation since it does not factor in the international students who will not be leaving the country.

And finally, the average price of airline tickets 50 days before departure is approximately £500 (a combination of EU, Asian and American student tickets) according to the travel company FareCompare. So the number of international students (3,654) multiplied by the rise in price (8.33 per cent) multiplied by the average price (£500) makes the aggregate amount of additional airfare fees paid by the students £152,189.10.

Perhaps next time it would be best to buy a plane ticket at least 171 days before the last possible date of exams. So what if you have to hang around for a while after you’re done while everyone else is still studying and spend less time with your family during the holidays?


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