A Facebook post revealed that Loganair was charging almost £1,000 for return flights from Edinburgh for two adults.
Glynn Wright took to social media to slam the airline’s prices as “extortionate” after two friends were last Thursday quoted a price of £972.44 for return flights in the week of the annual festival Up-Helly-A.
Mr Wright said his friends, visiting Scotland during Up-Helly-Aa week from Lake Garda in Italy, would not be travelling to the isles “due to the cost”.
The prices on Loganair’s Sumburgh to Edinburgh flight were under the airline’s cheapest “Fly” category.
The cost of those same return flights have since risen again to a staggering £1,050.44. Andrew Simpson asked Loganair on Twitter how they could expect to entice people to Shetland for the festival when they were charging “horrendous fares”.
But the airline responded on the social media platform to say the price was so high because only the “higher fare”, known as “Fly Flex+”, was available on the northbound journey due to the flight being almost full. “We would advise booking in advance, but appreciate this isn’t always possible,” the airline said.
Mr Simpson called the fees “shameful, absurd and frustrating”.
Their frustrations were echoed in more than 100 comments with fellow Shetlanders.
Kirksty Bradley said she had moved from Shetland to Wales over two years ago, but had been unable to return since due to the cost of flights.
She was quoted £1,045.39 for two adults and a child – more than an all-inclusive trip abroad.
“I thought it would be cheaper as I was looking at the middle of May,” she said.
Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said there was a “higher cost” of running flights to and from the isles compared to those travelling abroad from the mainland.
“Fuel prices at Sumburgh are double those at mainland airports, airport per-passenger and landing are high, and the costs of frequent weather disruptions also have to be factored into ticket prices,” he said.
Mr Hinkles said Loganair flights to the isles booked up “several months in advance” of Up-Helly-Aa.
MSP Beatrice Wishart said she could understand why Shetlanders had become frustrated with the “high cost of travel” and said that Loganair ticket prices were deterring tourists from choosing to visit Shetland.