Black Friday flight and holiday ‘deals’ potentially non-existent, warns Which?

Helen Coffey
Exercise caution when making travel plans: istock

Black Friday travel deals don’t always stack up, according to new research from Which?.

The consumer champion is warning people to think twice before buying after analysing data from 2018, which shows that some holiday and flight deals were at best exaggerated, at worst non-existent.

Which? Travel looked at promotions advertised by major airlines and holiday companies as special “Black Friday” offers and checked the prices again two weeks later.

Some of these “deals” cost the same or less when the team revisited them after Black Friday.

For example, Ryanair offered 25 per cent off one million seats purchased by midnight on Black Friday for travel between January and April 2019.

When Which? checked prices a fortnight later, flights weren’t any more expensive in most examples and, in the case of London Stansted to Oslo and London Stansted to Lanzarote tickets, were actually £5 cheaper than when purchased on Black Friday.

EasyJet’s Black Friday sale offered £50 off 60,000 city breaks; however, Which? Travel found that, of the 21 holidays it analysed, eight were cheaper two weeks later. For example, a three-night break from London Luton to Barcelona in January 2019 was £26 cheaper a fortnight after Black Friday.

Meanwhile, the UK’s biggest holiday provider, Tui, offered discounts codes worth £100 or £150 off selected breaks. When Which? attempted to use the codes, they didn’t work on two out of five holidays.

When the team checked the prices two weeks later, an all-inclusive week in Lanzarote, flying from Birmingham, was actually only £32 cheaper on Black Friday with the £100 discount code than the price available on 7 December.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “Nothing beats the feeling of saving hundreds on your next holiday, but that feeling can quickly turn to anger when you discover it would have been cheaper if you’d waited to book.

“Our research reveals that Black Friday travel deals aren’t always what they appear to be. Avoid disappointment by comparing prices and approach attention-grabbing saving claims with scepticism.”

Top tips for Black Friday sale shopping

  • Which? Travel advises consumers to compare prices elsewhere, eg by using Skyscanner to check flights.
  • Read the small print to make sure there aren’t any additional payments you will need to make.
  • Don’t feel pressured by time-limited offers, such as Black Friday deals.

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