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costs for trip to Uk from Atlanta, GA?

I've just booked 2 refundable tickets (1 bought with miles and one with money) for a total of $1900 in main economy starting in late July 2024. I was hesitating to buy this early, thinking that prices would eventually drop, but it seems like summer prices are going to be over $1k per ticket on average based on last year's prices, and could go up. I saw a lot of advice online about the best time to buy domestic tickets being 6 weeks in advance, but not as much about the best timing for international tickets, especially considering summer fares to Europe.
I needed to buy refundable tickets because I have elderly relatives and am worried someone might have a crisis that would require me to cancel the trip. My husband and I are both academics and we are going to an event in Glasgow this summer so this was the only time we could make this trip - a cheaper season was not an option.
So, what do you think, should I be watching like a hawk for fares to go down, or am I getting a good deal on this trip?

Posted by
7659 posts

First, I assume you booked on Delta? (What else from Atlanta, right?) and I assume you booked Main Cabin as they call it.

If so, continue to watch prices, if you see a big savings (I probably would not bother for $50 or $100), simply rebook, there are no fees to do so, with refundable you probably can get cash back. If you had bought non-fundable tickets (much cheaper, by a third maybe) you can still make changes, you just get an e-credit, and if you had to cancel, you get the full fare back as an e-credit to use on another trip.

Of course, read the terms of the ticket, things change all the time. Keep in mind you might also have some trip protection )for cancellation) with the credit card you used.

Posted by
77 posts

Can I assume from Atlanta you're flying Delta? I never buy refundable tickets as I know there will always be another trip not too far off and I can use the money they hold for something. At least since cover, Delta hasn't been charging cancellation fees. Did you consider purchasing travel insurance that would allow for emergency cancellations?

Posted by
440 posts

I'm in Atlanta and used to be a loyal Delta flyer but I have mostly switched to United because I can get where I want to go for less. So that price, on Delta, in July, sounds like a decent deal to me.
If you think you would use a credit, you can always book a Main Cabin or above, non-refundable, and if you have to cancel, you get a credit for the amount to be used within a year. Note that this is not the case with a Basic Economy fare.
No harm in watching the flight on Google Flights to see if it drops enough to make it worthwhile to cancel and rebook.

Posted by
22 posts

We'll be flying on American this time. Normally I fly Delta, but I had a bunch of miles on American because of a credit card promotion I got ages ago and still haven't used. But that's a good point about credits for flying. I guess I should have checked more carefully, but if the prices drop enough to make it worthwhile, I'll check and see what I could wind up with if I switch to Delta non-refundable tickets.
The upcharge for the fully refundable ticket with American was $200, the same as the insurance price. I've had a bad experience with trip insurance not paying out in the past even when there was a death in the family, so I just went with the refundable tickets. Luckily the frequent flyer miles ticket is already refundable, so that was easy.

Posted by
440 posts

AA may also have the same provision for receiving a credit if you cancel, as long as you're not booked in their lowest fare class. Most if not all of the big US carriers have adopted that policy since Covid (SW has always had it, I think). You may just be able to cancel and rebook with AA if there is a significant fare drop.

Posted by
16710 posts

How much was the revenue ticket? I am thinking it was around $1600 RT, after deducting the $200 refundable fee and maybe $100 for the fees associated with the miles ticket (probably too much, but just rounding up). If so, that seems a bit higher than most prices I saw in January. But who knows if prices will go down.

Isn’t there a chance the award seat you need for the mileage ticket will not be available later if you cancel and re-book? Or is American Airlines now more generous with their award seats ( maybe the higher-priced “Anytime”award seats) than other airlines?

The one time I used AA miles for an international flight it was very difficult to find the award seats—I had to book the day they were released, near moment they were released, to get 2 seats we wanted. But that was Business Class, at the Saver level. Maybe award seats in Economy are easier to find.

You probably need to start booking your lodging now—-we have seen reports of high prices and low availability, particularly in Scotland, at certain times. But for other dates, you may be able to take advantage of early booking discounts (but watch out for non-refundable offers, unless you want Torre-consider travel insurance for your trip).

Posted by
22 posts

The revenue ticket was about $1500.00 (including taxes etc) before the refundable fee. The other $200 came from the tax charge on the Award ticket. That was for main cabin, not the "basic" economy price. The cheapest tickets I've seen on AA and Delta and the other main carriers are all sitting at $1300 for the lowest fares, but I didn't want to do the most basic economy. On Delta if you choose that option you don't get even get a miles credit!

thanks for the word about lodging - I booked all that first and have just been hanging on hoping fares were going to go down before buying the plane tickets until I just got too anxious about waiting and decided to buy them today. I haven't flown internationally in a really long time - not since long before the pandemic.

Posted by
7826 posts

I never buy refundable tickets, which are quite more expensive than non-refundable tickets.

Even with non-refundable tickets, Delta lets you reschedule your flights if you need to do so.

Posted by
806 posts

I'd suggest you ignore the naysayers who are taking issue with every aspect of your decision.

You are flying to the UK at the height of the tourist season for two people for less than $2,000 - not a bad deal. Relax and focus on the other aspects of your trip.

Posted by
22 posts

thanks! I was getting really stressed out about the idea that I wasted money on the refundable ticket, but them more that I think about my circumstances, the more sense it makes for me at this particular moment in my life.
Also, from what I've read this afternoon, a travel insurance company wouldn't reimburse an expense that was coming back from an airline as flight-credit. While other folks might find that to be perfectly OK, I don't fly enough, and certainly don't take enough international trips that I am confident that I could quickly use that much credit w/in a year (especially from American Airlines whose routes are a little inconvenient from ATL) if I had to cancel this trip at the last minute due to a family emergency and had a non-refundable ticket.

Posted by
16710 posts

I totally agree with markcw’s comments. You had good reason to book refundable tix and you have already booked your lodging, so you have done well. I was concerned about the lodging, after seeing a post about very high prices in Glasgow in mid-July.

I think it is unlikely that flight prices will drop enough to justify cancelation and re-booking, but you can certainly monitor the fares now and then just to be sure.

And good on you for considering and preparing for the possible need to cancel the trip. Our last 2 trips to Italy (September 2022 and 2023) were affected by health crises of close family members, either ours or our travel companions’. it is something that everyone with elderly siblings, parents, or grandparents should consider when booking a trip.

Posted by
8528 posts

Many of us have had the struggle of balancing trip planning with concerns about infirm relatives/parents. Everyone has to find the solution that works best for their own situation.

My siblings and I were able to work together well. We made sure one of us was always “home” and could be available as the key contact/ helper. The others were free to go on trips knowing the designated sibling would take care of things. I know not everyone has the luxury of great siblings (thanks Mom and Dad), but often there is someone who will step up to help cover for a week or so.

You might also talk to your relatives. My mother was adamant that she wanted us to continue with our plans. She loved seeing pictures and hearing about adventures. She even told me once to not cut short a trip no matter what. My father was not able to remember me from one day to the next at the end of his life and did not notice if I was gone. Even so, my siblings would double their visits if I was gone for a week.

Posted by
18 posts

I'd recommend setting up alerts on Google flights and/or Hopper so you can get alerts if there's a major price drop without having to constantly check it. Hopper will also periodically tell you if they think prices will increase or decrease at a certain point for trips you are watching. If you see a great deal then it might be worth it to re-book.

I'd also take a look at how many different flights are offered with your rewards tickets to see if it looks like there might be still some good options to check back on for deals as it gets closer. Back in September I booked flights with Alaska Airlines miles on American Airlines for a direct flight from Seattle to London in May. American then dropped their international flights from Seattle in November and we ended up rebooking one of the two direct flights on British Airways and got the last two reward seats on the flight we wanted. Now there aren't any direct flights available that day or the days around it. Sometimes paying a bit more or booking early to get the flights that work best for your needs is worth it!

Posted by
22 posts

Update: I wound up saving $500 by changing my departure ticket to fly out of JFK instead of Atlanta, largely because, after reading about day-time flights to Europe, we really wanted a flight that would leave in the morning and arrive at night. I did also decide on a non-refundable ticket for the "revenue ticket" and will just figure that we will have to schedule a trip for 2025 if we have to cancel this one for some emergency reason. Now we have about 8 extra functional hours in London and we paid a lot less for the trip. Luckily, I have family in NYC and was able to use FF miles for the one-way flight from ATL to NY. I did change the ticket by calling American Airlines because I needed to keep our return flight to ATL and the whole one reward ticket/one money ticket thing can get complicated.

Posted by
4437 posts

As much as I hate JFK, you made a good decision. That day flight is great and unfortunately flights from JFK are usually significantly cheaper than ATL.

Posted by
22 posts

Just wanted to update for anyone who's interested in making sure that you get the lowest available price for a flight that American Airlines will issue travel credits if the price of your ticket goes down significantly. You have to call them, but it can be worth it.