For members


Why are flights to and from Germany so expensive at the moment?

Air travel has ramped up again after the pandemic. But those travelling around Europe from German airports will notice there's been a surge in prices. Here's what's going on.

Flight over Germany
A flight over Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

If you’ve been trying to book a flight to or from Germany at the moment, you’ll notice that prices are much higher compared to previous years. 

But this trend is not limited to Germany – it’s happening across Europe and beyond. Since the pandemic, the cost of living has soared and flight tickets are not left out. 

In an interview with Germany’s Bild am Sonntag in May, TUI CEO Sebastian Ebel said the days of cheaper offers are largely over.

Ebel added that travellers’ booking habits, such as buying tickets shortly before departure, are likely to lead to a further rise in ticket prices. “Spontaneous bargains will be the absolute exception,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ryanair Austria head Andreas Gruber said back in September 2022 that there would “be no more €10 tickets” for flights. 

READ ALSO: Cancellations and compensations: How French strikes affect European flights

In an annual comparison put together by the portal and reported on by German media, flight prices rose sharply in the aftermath of the pandemic. And booking prices for holidays in Germany are also above average. According to their research, holidaymakers had to pay up to 58 percent more for their flight to Greece, Majorca or Turkey in 2022 than in 2021.

And travellers are seeing further price increases this year. In March 2023, trips with return flights within Europe were on average 12.4 percent more expensive than in March 2019, reported German news magazine Spiegel.

From flights already booked, also calculated the average price for the current period and upcoming summer.  

While a return flight to Greece still cost an average of €217 in May 2019, the price was around €341 in May 2023. Flights to Spain soared by about 60 percent, to Italy by 44 percent and to Croatia and Turkey by 48 percent.

Those planning a trip during the summer holidays also have to dig deeper into their pockets. A trip to Spain in the summer of 2023 is expected to cost 47 percent more than four years earlier. For Portugal, the price increase in August is 28 percent, for Turkey – 25 percent.

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.

Two travellers are standing in front of an information board at BER Airport.

Two travellers standing in front of an information board at Berlin Airport. Photo: Picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

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.

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.”

Meanwhile, Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet, noted that the ban on flying over 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 travel?

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.

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 German rail system, operated mainly by state-owned company Deutsche Bahn, is known for its efficiency and relatively affordable prices and is highly regarded in many countries. Plus, using the €49 ticket within Germany can take you much of the way for next-to-nothing – and you can even reach a few foreign destinations using the monthly travel card. 

READ ALSO: Which foreign countries can you visit with Germany’s €49 ticket?

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For members


EXPLAINED: What are the rules of Berlin’s new €29 travel pass?

Berlin's public transport association BVG has announced the return of the monthly €29 ticket in 2024. Who's eligible to buy it, and which services are included?

EXPLAINED: What are the rules of Berlin's new €29 travel pass?

Why is the new €29 travel ticket being introduced?

As a whole, tickets to use Berlin’s U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and trams are only getting more expensive, going up by 6.7 percent on average starting in 2024. 

To put it concretely, that means that a single ticket for the AB fare zone (covering most of the city of Berlin itself) will be 30 cents more expensive next year, or €3.50 per ticket. For the entire ABC network (which covers all of Berlin and several cities in neighbouring Brandenburg), a single ticket will set you back €4.40 in future – 40 cents more than before. The price for the four-trip ticket for the AB area will increase by 80 cents to €10.80.

But regular Berlin public transport users who want to dodge the price increase – and even snag a bargain – can buy the new €29 next year. 

They’ll then pay a monthly fee to ride within the AB area of Berlin at a price last seen in 1972, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.

Back then for 60 Deutsche marks, passengers could travel through Berlin with the BVG, but only through the western part of the city.

READ ALSO: Berlin public transport fares set to increase in 2024

So when will I be able to get the €29 travel ticket in Berlin – and how?

The ticket is set to be introduced in the first half of 2024. The exact start date has not yet been set, but it should be available by July 1st, 2024 at the latest, according to Berlin public transport operator BVG.

The information will be published as soon as it’s available on their official website.

It’s a follow-up version to a prior €29 ticket, which has not been available since April of this year when the national €49 was introduced.

The €29 ticket can only be purchased as an annual subscription- so with a minimum term of 12 months.

What do existing BVG season ticket holders have to do if they want to switch to the €29 ticket?

Current seasonal ticket holders aren’t required to do anything – other than wait. “It will be easy and convenient to switch to the new subscription. Those who want to join the BVG subscription with the new ticket will of course receive all the information in good time, for example on,” according to the BVG.

An S-Bahn train arrives at Berlin-Grünau station in the morning.

An S-Bahn train arrives at Berlin-Grünau station in the morning. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

For whom is the €29 ticket worthwhile?

Financially the season ticket is worth getting for everyone who would buy an average of eight single tickets each month. According to the Senate Transport Administration, it is a good offer, especially for pensioners and the self-employed, neither of whom have the opportunity to get a reduced-price job ticket.

The existing social ticket (Sozialticket) remains completely unaffected by the introduction of the €29 ticket. It will continue to be available to all eligible people.

What are the differences between the national €49 ticket and Berlin’s €29 ticket?

The €49 ticket is valid nationwide on local public transport – including Berlin’s – so holders can travel – with enough time for slower regional trains – through all German cities and the whole of Germany, including some cities across the border. The €49 ticket is sold as a subscription, but can be cancelled on a monthly basis. 

However the new €29 ticket will only be valid in the AB fare zone in Berlin and its only valid for a whole year – so it can’t be used to travel across the country.

And unlike the first version of Berlin’s €29 ticket and the current monthly Umweltkarte (environment) ticket,  the new €29 ticket won’t allow holders to take other non-ticket holding passengers with them after 8pm or on the weekend.

So Berlin’s new ticket could be ideal for commuters who don’t venture regularly outside of Berlin – or other parts of Germany – via public transport. But for those who are planning even a couple regional trips per month, the €49 could be more economical. Note, though, that the future of this ticket and its pricing remains up in the air.


What option do €29 ticket users have who regularly need to transport their bikes?

That’s still up in the air. But so far there are already monthly tickets for bikes, which cost €12 (AB) and €15 (ABC). Starting on January 1st, 2024, that’s set to go up to €12.80 and €16.