For members


Why are flights to and from Austria so expensive this summer?

Airline activity to and from Austria has almost fully recovered after Covid lockdowns and travel bans during the pandemic, but prices are soaring.

Why are flights to and from Austria so expensive this summer?

If you’ve been searching for flights to or from Austria during the summer, you may have noticed that prices are higher compared to previous years and even pre-pandemic times.

This trend of soaring prices is not limited to Austria alone; it is happening across Europe.

Ryanair Austria head Andreas Gruber added that the days of flying almost for free are over: “There will be no more 10-euro tickets”, he said in September 2022. Unfortunately, airfare inflation has continued to rise.

In March 2023, plane tickets were, on average, 20.1 percent more expensive than the same month in 2022. International flights saw a price increase of 19.8 percent in April 2023 compared to the previous year, while domestic flights cost 15.5 percent more during the same 12-month period.

READ ALSO: Ryanair to raise flight ticket prices in Austria

Rush to travel

Several factors contribute to these price hikes. The unexpected rush to travel after the pandemic caught the industry off guard and led to chaos at some European airports last summer due to staffing shortages.

Despite the return of passengers, business travellers have not returned in the same numbers as before, partly due to the newfound convenience of virtual meetings. In addition, the slow recovery has impacted the profitability of specific flights, prompting some airlines to discontinue routes altogether.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Fuel costs, which account for approximately one-third of ticket prices, are often cited as a reason for the price increase, even though the price of oil per barrel is falling. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) attributes the price hikes to the rising cost of kerosene, explaining that “high fuel prices, as well as other inflationary cost increases, can impact ticket prices if airlines are unable to absorb or avoid these costs.”

Austria’s Statistik Austria said high inflation in April (9.7 percent) was partly due to the “revived desire to travel (accompanied by rising prices for flights, accommodations and restaurants in Austria and in the most popular holiday countries”.

“The prices for package tours abroad, which are in high demand, have increased significantly compared to the previous year and are becoming an important driver of inflation for the first time in a long time”, said Statistics Austria director general Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: What is driving rising inflation in Austria and will the government act?

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, noted that while fuel prices have risen by 71 percent, the average rate of the low-cost airline has increased by 31 percent, equivalent to €14. He justified the increase, stating that it remains affordable for many customers.

Furthermore, the ban on overflying Russia has increased travel time by one to two hours for certain Asian destinations, adding to the costs of long-haul flights, according to airlines.

How can I avoid spending too much money on summer travelling?

Although flights may not be as cheap as before, there are still strategies to keep costs down:

– Booking flights well in advance tends to result in cheaper tickets, as prices increase closer to the flight date. Therefore, if you still need to book your flight, now is the time to do so.

– Avoiding the peak holiday season in July and August can help save money. Instead, consider taking an early summer vacation in June or a later one in late August or early September.

– Check websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights for the cheapest airline options. These platforms can also find cheaper tickets if you’re open to making stopovers instead of flying direct.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer

– Be flexible with your travel dates. For example, look for midweek departures or consider departing from secondary airports, which may offer lower prices compared to major airports.

– If you’re travelling within Europe, consider rail travel as an alternative to flying. The Austrian train system, operated mainly by state-owned company ÖBB, is known for its efficiency and relatively affordable prices and is highly regarded in many countries.

READ ALSO: How does Austria’s Klimaticket for national public transport work?

By employing these strategies, you can still find ways to manage costs and make your travel plans more affordable despite the current trend of rising airfare prices.

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For members


The changes to know about Austria’s ‘repair bonus’ scheme

It can cost a lot of money to get broken electrical items, like a washing machine, smartphone or stove fixed. But Austria has a programme to subside the repairs. Here's what you need to know about the new rules for it.

The changes to know about Austria's 'repair bonus' scheme

What is the ‘repair bonus’?

Austria’s ‘Reparaturbonus’ scheme can be used to cover costs of repairs of all kinds of electrical devices.

Austrian residents can get up to €200 per device covering the cost of fixing broken items. It covers large household items like fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers, and coffee machines but also things like computers, mobile phones, e-bikes, electronic toys and garden tools.

Around 700,000 repair vouchers totalling €74 million have been submitted and paid out since the start of the scheme in April 2022.  

However, the campaign was suspended this summer after suspected cases of fraud surfaced.  A total of 70 companies are suspected of fradulent activity connected to the bonus, amounting so far to losses of €5.3 million.

Now the programme has relaunched with new rules.

What’s changed?

Previously, residents needed to pay up to 50 percent of the costs upfront to a repair firm, with the business using the voucher to apply for the remainder of the money from the government. 

From this week onwards, it works differently. The process still involves creating a repair voucher at and downloading it or printing it out. The voucher can then be taken to a participating repair business.

A washing machine

Photo: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

However, now customers will have to pay the entire amount of the repair up front and the bonus subsidy will be paid to them – not the businesses. 

The bonus will come to residents directly from the funding processing agency KPC. 

What is also new is a so-called ‘receipt tracker’. This allows people to check the current status of their receipt on the repair bonus website.

Each voucher covers 50 percent of the repair costs up to a maximum of €200, as before. One voucher can be requested for each electrical device. As soon as this is redeemed, the next one can be used for another electrical device.

The campaign runs until 2026 or until the remaining funding runs out. 

READ ALSO: Seven tips to save money in Austria

How do I know which companies are in the scheme?

All participating companies are marked as a ‘Reparaturbonus’ business and listed on the website, which also has a search function to allow users to find a registered business in their district.

Note that fewer companies are taking part in the relaunched programme than before – 2,000 instead of 3,500 firms across Austria are participating so far. 

What else should I know about the scheme?

The repair bonus is only for broken electronic devices or equipment – not for maintenance. 

Authorities also warn that reimbursing the money to residents could take time.

Eva Rosenberger from the Climate Protection Ministry said: “Ideally, the money will arrive after four to six weeks. But it can also take two months, or in exceptional cases longer.”

The programme is part of Austria’s ‘eco-social’ tax reform.The Ministry of Climate Protection has allocated €130 million in total to cover the costs. 

Smartphones are the device most commonly being repaired in the scheme.