HONG KONG – Last-minute travellers are being wooed with ultra-cheap air fares amidst the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Airport has reported its largest monthly drop in passengers in over a decade.
In August, protests caused a partial shutdown of the airport, causing cancellations of almost 1,000 flights. Passenger numbers to Hong Kong fell by 12.4%, the Airport Authority told the news media.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways revealed it suffered a 12% decline in passengers flying out of Hong Kong in August. A spokesman for the airline predicted a similar drop for September, the local news reported.
The airport remains fully operational, but with the protests making newspaper headlines bookings are down. There has also been a large number of cancellations. As a result, airlines are offering unprecedented cheap flights in an attempt to fill seats.
Cheap Flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles “For as little as US$150”
“There are some incredible deals,” says Amrit Sethi, of Hong Kong-based travel agent Excella Travel. Adding that she has seen flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles go for as little as US$150 “This is unheard of.”
Recent weeks have seen fares from Hong Kong fell to an all-time low as airlines attempt to fill seats.
Tickets to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne on Qantas Airways cost as little as US$445 in early September, and Cathay Pacific air fares to several European destinations start from US$520.
Despite the price plunge, Sethi says the response has been mixed. Most deals are last-minute and must be booked within a few days. “Some people are unable to take time off and there are uncertainties lurking,” she said. Referring to the recent transport chaos caused by the protests.
However, Sethi says employees with work flexibility and those able to take last-minute breaks, including freelancers, consultants and retirees, have been taking advantage of these deals.
Eye Catching Cheap Flights from Hong Kong
So if you can cash in your owed overtime, invest a little time in research, and remain flexible with dates, there are some top bargains to be bagged. Here are a few of the most eye-catching deals.
- American Airlines is offering flights to Los Angeles, booked before Sept 30 for travel between Oct 4 and 25, from US$150.
- Royal Brunei Airlines is selling flights to Brunei, booked before Oct 31 for travel any time up to Nov 30, from US$235.
- Air France is offering an economy return to Paris Charles de Gaulle for travel throughout October for as little as US$480.
- Cathay Pacific is offering return economy flights to Vancouver, departing on certain dates throughout September, from US$535.
Even the world’s best airline (according to Skytrax), Qatar Airways, is selling unusually cheap flights. For example, a multi-destination flight, departing on select dates throughout October, from Hong Kong to Athens and then Paris, returning to Hong Kong, starts at US$535.