Hello all, this is our first trip to Europe and we picked Scotland to visit. Getting over-whelmed with all the airlines. What do you suggest would be the best airline? We live in Nevada, United States. Thank you!
You don't say where you'll be flying from, so I'll assume it's Las Vegas.
I'd suggest flying Norwegian Air Shuttle into London Gatwick non-stop, and you won't beat their prices. Then take EasyJet.com to your final destination. Both are budget airlines, so be sure to pay close attention to their published terms.
We've flown to Europe on Norwegian twice, and they're flying brand new Boeing 787's. See: Norwegian.com and EasyJet.com for airfares and schedules.
You could also stop off in London for a few days and take a fast train up to Scotland.
How are you searching? Do you know how to use Kayak or a similar search engine that allows you to compare schedules and prices across multiple airlines? If not, get a travel agent. What's important is price, reliability, reasonable schedule. Other than using frequent flyer miles (which you are not) no reason to start with "best airline". I'm not sure I know what that is. The drill is, pay as little as you can, take off, reasonable layover, land. Reverse that for the return journey. Do not try to shop by airline!
Research the best fares. Just make sure that you are looking at all the fees. As someone suggested, try Kayak or one of the other travel sites. You can see what fares they suggest and then go to the airline sites to see if they match them. You can also see what airlines fly into Scotland by looking at the airport websites--Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Aberdeen. You can always fly to London and connect or take the train. I used to fly American out of Chicago to Glasgow, but that flight is no longer. Now I am in NYC and I have multiple choices. I have miles on American, so that is my first choice. If you don't have miles, then you want to look first at fares. and then at schedule and comfort.
Since your names has "reno" in it, I'm going to guess you are from Reno.
If that's the case, there is no nonstop flight from Reno to Europe. You will have to change planes at a major hub.
Where do you want to start in Scotland?
Go to Google Flights and plug in Reno as your starting point, your arrival city in Scotland, and days of departure and return. It will give you a list of available flights and their prices. Choose the ones you like best whether it be lowest price or best times. Then book your airfare at the airline's website.
While others here are suggesting the major discounters, if you are not familiar with dealing with them, you might want to stick to one alliance. As an example, you might see a flight from Reno to Chicago on American Airlines and then Chicago to London on British Airways. Since they are in the same "alliance" you could book the entire ticket at either the American or British Airways website. This way, if you first flight is delayed for any reason, and you miss your connection, the airline has to put you on the next available flight at no charge.
I agree with Frank. I really do prefer to buy my ticket directly from the airline as you do get more help when things go wrong.
When are you planning to go?? I just booked British Airways through Vayama for $889 roundtrip per person from San Francisco thru Dublin to Edinburgh and returning through Heathrow. Make sure you look at layover times. For instance, if you layover at JFK or Heathrow, don't book a layover of less than 2-3 hours because changing terminals can take longer than anticipated. Summer rates will be higher. I have been watching fares and they are starting to climb for summer.
I always check to see how many connections and the total flying time to decide which airline I'll use.
That said, I also fly on major airlines, and not budget ones. Lufthansa or United are my first choice for trans Atlantic flights.
Book directly with the airline, don't use Travelocity, etc..you probably will get the same price anyway, and it's easier if you have to rebook for any reason. American, Delta, United, Lufthansa...are all about the same. If you pony up for extra leg room, your flight will be a bit more comfortable. You might also check on www.seatguru.com when booking your seats...that makes a huge difference in the comfort of your flight over and back. you can call the airline to ask which air craft you'll be on, then look at the seat chart on the site to determine which seats are the worst - so you can avoid them. (this includes seats with limited seat recline, too close to the bathroom, too close to the galley, etc.)
From Denver, I can go with one connection to Edinburgh, but from Reno, or Las Vegas you might have at least 2.
Just make sure when you book a flight, that you make sure your connections times are long enough to get from one gate to the next, and especially returning, when you have to clear customs in the US, you should plan on a minimum of 2-3 hours...especially if it's Dulles ---That airport for me has always been scary getting through in less than 3 hours!!
We recently got an incredible fare flying United out of Newark airport to Glasgow. We originally planned to fly to Edinburgh, but for some reason the fare we got by flying to Glasgow was literally 40% of the cost of flying to Edinburgh. So whatever airline you choose, be sure to check different fares to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
I actually flew with KLM to Amsterdam then did a short connector flight to Edinburgh. This allowed me to avoid Heathrow which I hate. I've never gone through Gatwick, and there may be other options available to you now that weren't available to me then (it was about 8 years ago). Schiphol airport is nice, easy to get around, and much smaller than Heathrow so you won't have to walk for 20 minutes just to change gates. I checked a number of options at the time, and this was the cheapest, although, there wasn't a great difference in the most of the airline prices. If the difference is only 50-100 dollars then just go with the one that gets you in at a reasonable time, and you don't have to wait any where for half the day. You don't want to spend your vacation time in airports.
Budget airlines are definitely cheaper but offer fewer amenities and may charge fees that wipe out some (or all) of the savings. Buyer beware. But, if the bottom line is the most important, go ahead and go for it. Although, I would look for non-stops or at least single airline itineraries...
There are at least two US airlines that fly non-stop to Edinburgh but these flights usually originate from the New York City market (JFK & Newark) which may require an additional connection from Nevada. I would also look at the performance (cancellation and on-time ratings) of these flights before buying.
Each US airline has their own particular partners and codeshares around the world. American partners with British Airways (and others), Delta partners with Air France/KLM (and others), and United with Aer Lingus/Lufthansa/SWISS (and others) so you will probably see codeshares to Scotland with stops/changes in foreign airports (London, Amsterdam, Frankfort, etc.). (Look for "operated by..." in the details) While this is completely fine, you need to become acquainted with partner airlines' rules and fees. For example, British Airways charges economy-class passengers a fee to select a seat in advance whether the ticket is a codeshare with a US partner or not. The European airlines may also have substantially different carry-on luggage rules compared to their American counterparts. Know the details BEFORE showing up at the airport.
That all being said, I have flown American/British Airways to European destinations on more than one occasion and I've been completely satisfied with the service. Just make sure you're giving yourself a few hours for the layover.
I just look at Kayak for a good fare and itinerary. Just booked a great fare with Iceland Air. It was the same price as British airways but BA charges for seats and bags. That's a charge for EACH flight for the seat , can add up.
I flew Iceland Air from Portland, OR to Glasgow with a stopover in Reykjavik. At the time (last August), it was the best price and I liked not going through hectic Heathrow. Plus, I did the free stopover in Iceland and enjoyed 2 days of touring there as a bonus to my trip!
Just booked British Air/American -- roundtrip Seattle/Glasgow -- in early then late Sept. for $1,440 total for two. Via Philly.