How Do I Score a Great Deal on Flights to London?
London is a popular travel destination for good reason. It’s a bustling hub for history, art, and culture. If you want to venture off the beaten path, you can use the city as a starting point for travels throughout the UK. You can even travel by train from London to just about anywhere else in Europe.
With a record number of tourists flocking to the UK this year, you might be wondering how you can jump on board. Flights can be expensive, and you don’t want to waste your travel budget getting across the ocean. If you use these tips for finding cheap airfare, you’ll have plenty to spend on accommodations, attractions, and souvenirs once you get there.
Book Ahead of Time
If you’ve ever shopped for a cheap plane ticket, you might be mystified by the fact that pricing seems to change at random.
According to Skyscanner, you’ll get the lowest fare when you book about 23 weeks in advance. Travelers who want to be more spontaneous can still get tickets for about nine percent cheaper than the yearly average if they book them eight weeks ahead of time.
Travel in the Right Season
The month of travel also affects your airline fee. In January, tickets to London are generally 22 percent lower than the yearly average. However, Canadians can get fares for about 15 percent less than average when they fly in September, says Skyscanner. Skyscanner even has a search feature that lets you look for tickets during the cheapest month, which can be helpful if your dates are flexible.
Travel on the Right Day
Weekend flights are bound to be more expensive than weekday travel. USA Today reports that flights to Europe are cheaper from Monday through Thursday than on weekends. Whenever you search for flights, you should compare prices for the days that border your desired travel dates. It may be worth taking an extra day off work if you get a huge price cut.
Be Flexible with Your Airport
No matter what search engine you use to look for flights, consider typing in the name of the city instead of specific destination airport. For example, using the abbreviation “LON” will give you results that end up in various airports, whereas setting the destination as “LHR” for London Heathrow will limit your options. Many flight search engines will also let you look for flights to all airports in the vicinity. You might find cheaper flights to Glasgow or Edinburgh than to London Heathrow.
Speaking of being flexible, choosing a different departure airport can help. Business Insider reports that the cheapest U.S. airports to fly out of include:
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- Atlanta International Airport
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- LaGuardia Airport
Some budget airlines offer cheap flights within Europe. If it’s much less expensive to fly to Amsterdam, for example, you might be able to look for flights to London from there via CityJet or EasyJet.
Use Price Alerts
Almost every flight search engine and airline offer price alerts when fares for specific routes drop. You might be able to sign up to have these emailed to you automatically. Some companies tweet them or post them on other social media sites.
Airfarewatchdog is known for offering travel tips and low fare alerts for different airlines. It also only alerts you to flights that have seats available, so you don’t waste time or get excited about a cheap flight that is already full. CheapAir.com also lets you set up fare trackers that are specific to certain cities or airports.
Jack’s Price Club sends you alerts for cheap fares from all airports in the UK and Ireland. If you find one to a city near you, you can always to a reverse lookup on the airline’s website to find out if the deal still stands for a round-trip flight that originates at your airport.
Use Search Tools
Google’s Flight Explorer lets you look at a price graph after you search for a flight to London. This shows the price trends, which can help you determine what month and day are cheapest for flying.
Other flight search engines offer various tools. You might be able to click an option to look at flights for dates surrounding yours or bundle your flight with a hotel booking.
Look at Routes with More Than One Stop
A direct flight is convenient, but it’s not always the cheapest. Look at flights with one or more stops to get the best deals. Iceland Air has a stopover in Iceland for up to five days without paying extra for airfare.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get to London. When you do book a flight, make sure that you won’t need to change the dates. Canceling or changing your trip can result in hefty fees.