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Holidays are NINE times more expensive during the half term, with flights to Tenerife 581% higher this February break

FAMILIEShoping to jet away this February half-term might have think again, after research out today found that holidays are nine times more expensive during the half term than during term time.

Return flights from Edinburgh to New York, for example, cost558 per cent more during the half term at 2,310 per person compared to 351 just one week earlier.

A trip to the Algarve will set a family-of-four back 1,200 during half term 203 per cent more than the cost the previous week

And flying from London Gatwick to Tenerife, and back again, will cost family members293 each during half term, 581 per cent more than during term time two weeks earlier, when flights are just 42.

The research comes from travel money firm FairFX, which compared120 return flights from eight airports across the UK.

The company also looked atthe difference in price between package holidays duringthe half term break and during term time, and found that a family trip toBarbados rockets in price by 7,000 (flights and accommodation) during the half term.

A trip to the Algarve will set a family-of-four back1,200 203 per cent more than the cost the previous week, at 397.

This year, the half term break starts on February 13th, and lasts until February 17th.

FairFX said its research has been published as part of itslong-running campaign against holiday prices during school breaks, whichcoincideswith tomorrows Supreme Court decision over the legality of taking children out of school during term time for holidays.

Jon Platt from the Isle of Wight was hauled before court last year for refusing to pay a 120 fine when he took his seven-year-old daughter on holidayto Disney World and Lapland.

He won hisHigh Court case because he argued that his daughters regular attendance at school balanced outthe holidays.

A judge agreed, overruling the fine, howeverthe Isle of Wight council, which lost the case against Mr Platt, was later granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgement.

Parents who take their children out of school are liable to pay a 60 fine, doubling to 120 if the penalty isnt paid within three weeks.

Those who dont pay face prosecution and amaximum fine of 2,500 or, in some cases, up to three months in prison.

Industry body ABTA hit out at the research, saying the prices refer to flights booked at the last minute, and not in advance

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX, said: There is a huge debate about whether families should be allowed to take children out of school for holidays but with incredulous price rises, its clear to see why.

Theres an obvious supply and demand mechanic behind pricing strategies but with the cost of holidays being hiked up to nine times over, thats downright scandalous.

The cost of holidaying outside of term time can leave families feeling they have no other choice but to take their child out of school until the issue of overpricing is addressed.

Industry body ABTA hit out at the research, saying the prices refer to flights booked at the last minute, and not in advance, which is when most families would book a trip.

A spokesman said:The reason prices rise during school holidays and other busy periods is due to supply and demand.

More people in the UK and across Europe want to take holidays during half term, therefore prices rise, as there is increased demand for a limited number of hotel rooms and flight seats.Outside of the school break, February is not a popular time to holiday.

The best way for families to ensure an affordable holiday, with the greatest choice, is to book early: package tour operators offer free child places for early bookers and lower fares for children.

If holidaymakers can be flexible about their booking arrangements, for example selecting a holiday with different departure or destination airport or a different departure date, they may also find cheaper deals.

When are school holiday and term dates for 2017?

Spring term 2017

School starts: Thursday, January 5 2017

Half term break: Monday, February 13 Friday, February 17 2017

Easter Holidays: Friday, March 31 Monday, April 17 2017

Summer term 2017

Easter Monday bank holiday: Monday, April 17 2017

School starts: Tuesday, April 18 2017

Early May bank holiday: Monday, May 1 2017

Half term break: Monday, May 29 2017 to Friday, June 2 2017

Summer holidays: Monday, 5 June 2017 toFriday, July 21 2017

The dates above are the standard term times, but in some cases they vary from school to school. To be 100 per cent sure of your childs school term times use the Governments postcode checker.

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