The algorithms that govern airline ticket pricing have allowed themselves to have a little bit of fun in the wake of the collapse of travel company Thomas Cook, with some stuck travellers finding that seat prices on rival airlines have mysteriously doubled and even tripled in cost as thousands of holidaymakers book new tickets home.
Most of Thomas Cook's travellers will have their repatriation costs paid and plans made for them thanks to the ATOL protection that covers package deals, but those who booked flights-only trips with the airline part of the business are stuck. The only option is to manually book a last minute flight home, and these are the people currently being assaulted by the computers and their surge-pricing routines.
A spokesperson for Jet2 – which was shamed for doubling ticket prices in the space of an hour – said it's a normal part of international business, as the "supply and demand" economics whack up the prices when more people want to fly. The fact that this is happening now, in the aftermath of an international chain collapse rather than simply during the school holidays when it's normal practice to screw people out of twice the amount of money for a laugh, is neither here nor there for the airlines.
So if your mum wants to come back from Cyprus at any time over the next three weeks, that's what it costs now, is the harsh message. [Sky News]