Flying To Dubai, Bangkok Cheaper Than Going Home This Diwali

The spike in airfares underscores the first normal festival season in two years.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An IndiGo aircraft. (Source: Company website)</p></div>
An IndiGo aircraft. (Source: Company website)

Planning to fly home to celebrate Diwali with your family? That could burn a hole in your pocket.

Airfares have surged as high as Rs 37,000 for a direct flight from Mumbai to Delhi ahead of the festival. The lowest priced ticket is going at Rs 14,000-15,000 on Friday and Saturday, with the price slightly tapering off on Sunday and Monday, the day of the festival.

"Average airfares have risen by 20-30% this year on popular metro routes," Aloke Bajpai, group chief executive officer and co-founder of travel platform ixigo, told BQ Prime. "Last-minute airfares on metro to non-metro routes like New Delhi to Lucknow and Mumbai to Darbhanga, which have fewer flight frequencies, have seen a substantial rise of almost 40-45%."

On an average, one-way fares on major metro-to-metro routes have more than doubled compared with the festival season in the pre-pandemic year 2019, data provided by the platform shows.

However, travel platform said the airfares on certain metro-to-metro routes have dropped in comparison to 2019 by 16-18%, but witnessed a significant rise of about 17-20% in comparison to 2021.

The two-hour flight on India’s busiest air route, typically costs Rs 3,000-5,000 when the demand is not at its peak.

The spike underscores the first normal festival season in two years as domestic travel recovers from the collapse during the pandemic. And there are no price limits either as the government lifted the Covid-induced caps starting September.

Flying To Dubai, Bangkok Cheaper Than Going Home This Diwali

The flight tickets on all major routes have skyrocketed given the high demand for air travel. For a 100-minute flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru, you may have to shell out as much as Rs 21,000 on the coming Friday and Saturday.

In fact, it's cheaper to travel to international destinations such as Dubai or Thailand, costing nearly half the price for certain time slots when compared to metro-to-metro travel during the period.

A Delhi to Bangkok flight on Friday costs Rs 10,682-14,872. And a ticket for Mumbai to Dubai is available for Rs 18,079-57,458.

The elevated prices suggest that airlines are eyeing higher cash flows. The two listed carriers—IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., and SpiceJet Ltd.—have reported losses in nine of the last 10 quarters.

Travel Trends

“The festive season in 2022 has witnessed an exponential hike in travel demand across various sectors after the two-year hiatus," Bharatt Malik, senior vice president of Flights at, said.

This spike in travel demand has directly impacted airfares with full-booked flights on major routes, he said.

The highest airfares can be witnessed on Friday and Saturday from Mumbai and Bengaluru to Delhi, which suggests that relatively more people will flock to the capital on these days compared with a date closer to the festival.

While ticket prices are typically the highest in the time slots before afternoon, the evening flights on Friday and Saturday are the ones that may cost a fortune.

In the days following Diwali, the prices cool on several routes except Mumbai-Bengaluru and Mumbai-Chennai.

So, if passengers want to save on travel costs, it is better to fly closer to Diwali or on the day of the festival itself.

While the fares are peaking in the festive-packed month of October, Bajpai expects them to dip 10-15% in November due to lesser festive travel demand, and rise again in December for Christmas and New Year travel.

"Despite rising airfares, travel sentiment is at an all-time high and we can expect a high volume of pent-up travel demand till the end of the year."