Spending on flights soars as consumers plan their holidays

AIB survey shows amount spent on flights rose 170% in January

After two nightmare years for the travel sector, Irish people seem to be rediscovering their appetite for overseas visits. Spending on flights has risen more than 250 per cent among some groups in January compared with a month earlier.

However, spending across other areas fell back as people settled into the new year and sought to manage their finances after the Christmas period.

A new consumer spending survey, published by AIB, suggests that spending on flights across all age groups in January jumped 170 per cent, with an even more dramatic spike recorded among those over the age of 45.

The over-65s recorded the largest increase in spending on flights, with the bank reporting a jump of 256 per cent compared with December while spending on overseas travel among those aged 45-64 was up by 241 per cent.


All age groups recorded an increase in airline spending, with those aged 25-34 recording the smallest increase, up 87 per cent on the previous month.

The data was compiled from more than a million card transactions carried out by Irish consumers online during January 2022 and has been anonymised and aggregated.

Overall, spending was down 15 per cent in January compared with the previous month, with consumers spending an average of €73 million a day throughout the period.

Quiet month

Spending on clothing was down 48 per cent, with groceries down 23 per cent. Spending on electronics was down 33 per cent, hardware down 11 per cent, homeware by 45 per cent, and health and beauty by 27 per cent on December.

Spending in pubs was down 24 per cent, while spending in restaurants fell 18 per cent, and the figure for hotels was 12 per cent lower.

Those aged 45-54 recorded the biggest drop in spending in January, down 17 per cent; those under 25 recorded the smallest drop, down 6 per cent.

People in Roscommon recorded the biggest drop in spending during the month, down 18 per cent, while those in Dublin recorded the smallest at 14 per cent.

“January is traditionally a quiet month for consumers, having spent the month of December shopping for the Christmas break, buying clothes, presents and food,” said John Brennan of AIB.

“Combined with the temporary restrictions imposed, it is unsurprising to see a drop in spending across many sectors. However, January is also known for holiday planning, and this is evident from the increase in spending with airlines, which is up 170 per cent and is no doubt welcomed by the airline sector given the turbulent two years is has experienced.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast