US Reopening: How Can I Get Cheap Flights to America?
Following the White House’s announcement that the United States would reopen to fully vaccinated tourists from November 8, there has been a surge in bookings for trips across the pond.
But which airlines are resuming transatlantic flights and how do you get the best deal on your flights to the United States?
Here are our top tips for booking cheap flights.
Which airlines are resuming flights from the UK to the US?
Airlines have flown between the UK and the US throughout the coronavirus pandemic. These have mainly transported essential workers and, most recently, US citizens who have been allowed to travel to Britain with proof of vaccination.
Some carriers plan to increase flights in the coming weeks: Virgin Atlantic plans to relaunch its Las Vegas and Orlando flights from the November 8 reopening date; as well as the start of flights from Manchester to Orlando and New York on the same day. It already offers flights between London and San Francisco.
However, there is likely to be an increase in flight bookings immediately after the ban is lifted, due to all the pent-up demand to see families and friends.
Virgin Atlantic reported a 91% increase in bookings between the UK and US, week-over-week, within the first hour of announcing the ban was ending.
It is likely that airlines will increase their flights quickly, so after the first few days, fares will have stabilized and availability is expected to increase.
Thus, a trip in early December for Christmas shopping or the Florida sun is on the program for vaccinated travelers.
The independentTravel correspondent Simon Calder says, “I suggest you don’t book a ticket for a week or two. Currently, potential travelers are bidding for a limited number of departures.
“Airlines will quickly increase flights once the exact timing is known, so you’ll have more choices and (hopefully) lower fares.”
How much do flights to the United States typically cost?
Before the pandemic, flights from London to major US cities such as New York and Los Angeles tended to cost between £ 300 and £ 600 round trip with major carriers, such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
This price range can rise and fall depending on high demand local events – such as New York Fashion Week or the Academy Awards in LA – and off-season times like January in New York and March-May. to the.
A return of £ 275 would represent a real bargain for a return from London to New York.
Routes with fewer flights per week, such as New Orleans or Miami, can cost slightly more than the main routes, but fares can generally be found for around £ 400-600 round trip.
How do I get the cheapest fares to the United States?
The key advice here is the demand for flights and the prices will go up dramatically around the opening date itself, so avoid booking for the first two or three weeks, if you can.
This is made worse by the fact that people are flocking to book a break ahead of Christmas – at the moment some London-New York fares have soared to between £ 900 and £ 1,200 round trip.
So don’t get upset until you see the final fare – we clicked on a £ 474 return from London to New York in December and found the price had risen to £ 1,192 in the last 20 minutes.
The best way to book is to use flight comparison websites such as Skyscanner and Kayak to check the dates you want to travel and see the best deals from multiple airlines.
Skyscanner also has a ‘cheapest month’ finder where you can check the lowest starting prices – although in the days following the announcement of the reopening, fares may increase relative to those displayed.
Choosing unusual days to travel can also save you money – the most common for a city break in the United States is Thursday to Sunday, Friday to Monday, or Monday to Friday (for business travel ). So try to look for date combinations from Saturday to Saturday, Tuesday to Saturday, or Sunday to Wednesday.
What should I watch out for?
Take into account airline baggage fees and different types of ticket flexibility – if you click on a Virgin Atlantic fare for £ 1,139 from London to New York on December 13th, for example, you’ll find that it doesn’t. ‘only includes carry-on baggage, with an additional £ 100 added for a suitcase in the pending and advance seat selection.
Since hotel room rates in the United States can be very high regardless of the season, it is worth comparing flight prices with flight + hotel packages, sold by Expedia, Lastminute.com, BA Holidays, Virgin Holidays and Holiday Pirates – getting a flight + hotel package for about the same price as the return flight itself, booked separately, can save you hundreds.
Currently, BA Holidays offers six-night stays in Los Angeles priced between £ 700 and £ 1,500 per person, while Virgin Holidays offers the same price between £ 775 and £ 2,200.
For New York, BA Holidays offers three-night flight + hotel stays from £ 450 to £ 1,200 per person, while Virgin Holidays offers the same price between £ 500 and £ 1,800.