Airfare to Great Britain from U.S.

Where are all you Late May/Early Summer travellers getting affordable airfare to Great Britain? Or are you just "What the heck, lets go no matter the cost"?
My husband and I would love to travel to Great Britain (England,Scotland) end of May, but have found the $1,000 plus price range to be prohibitive. We are just waiting and watching. If it doesn't come down, or heaven forbid goes up, maybe we'll just hang out in the good ol' USA.(always wanted to do NYC) But we are sooo in love with London!! We already are aware of the usual search engines and have made contact with a travel agent. Anyone got a good tip for us????

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6837 posts

By "end of May" do you mean before or after memorial day? I've been visiting Europe the week before MD for several years now, and the price typically drops sometime in early February. This year I was able to get RT tickets into Zurich and out of Paris for $700 via Newark with United. After memorial day the price skyrockets. Not sure what that would work out to from Pheonix.

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

You will probably get better prices when you get closer to your departure date. The price, however, could go up if fuel costs go up significantly. Right now the airline has no reason to take on too much risk selling that far out. My wife and I flew rt to Heathrow from Houston for $1,020 each in September. I had tracked the prices several times each week for about two months before leaving. The lowest I found was $925 and it went as high as $1,150. Sometimes the day-to-day swings can be significant. They also can change in a few minutes. The $925 I saw wasn't there two hours later. I have heard that the best prices on international flights hit their "sweet spot" about 4 to 6 weeks before departure. "Sales" will be posted Tuesday or Wednesday. Sometimes the prices on Kayak aren't the same as on the carriers website. Your travel dates can have a significant impact on your pricing. You also probably know about the email alerts but you can't assume they'll work. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any magic airfare fairy.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

I don't think it gets that much better than $1,000 this far in advance from the western U.S. to anywhere in Europe. You might save a couple hundred by taking your chances, but you could also lose that gamble. Anytime I can get to Europe for $1,000 I count myself lucky and book it, as much as I miss the days when you could go for $700. Unfortunately the last time I flew RT for that was 2001..

Posted by Darren
Galt, Calif., UK
135 posts

check BA and Virgin prices out of Vegas too, usually flights are at their lowest from 120-90 days out. When you are shopping be sure to delete your cookies before returning to site, they are notorious for tracking your movements and knowing when you are rechecking a flight only to "see it" priced higher now.

Posted by Beth
Phoenix, AZ, USA
50 posts

We did take the BA direct flight to LHR once. Very convenient, and you're right, worth the extra money. We went through JFK once. What a disorganized airport! We've been through Atlanta mostly. We found it to be a very user friendly airport. Thanks for the encouragement. I guess its time to step into the 2012s and realize that the $1,000 ceiling has been broken. Pretty sure we won't let a couple hundred dollars dissuade us!

Posted by Warren
Castlegar, BC, Canada
173 posts

$1000, I wish. I've started watching fare prices from Spokane WA to Berlin, then Dublin back for Aug-Sep 2013. My prices are $1500 per person. I'm thinking if they drop to $1200, it would be a steal.

Posted by Joel
Tempe, AZ, USA
841 posts

Beth - I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a fare of $1,000. What you may look at a fare alert website. I normally fly BA from PHX to LHR, they are normally $200 - $300 higher, but it is a trade off I'm willing to make rather than sitting in an airport waiting for a connecting flight.

Posted by Laurel
Arlington, WA
829 posts

As you know prices can change literally in front of your nose. I always fly BA from SEA and check the prices a couple of times a days. When I find something I can live with I never look again. So yes, I guess I am a bit of a "what the heck" sort of person.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

On November 7 last year, a direct flight from SFO to Heathrow popped up on the screen (United) - $800 round trip including taxes. We booked it immediately for May of this year - two hours later this fare was gone. So, we totally lucked out. We are going to Europe in June this year (already booked) and are paying quite a bit - we had no flexibility in our timeframe. We have found better rates typically for May (but not as good as we got last time!)

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

This may be too late to help Beth, but maybe it will help others. For those who live in cities served by British Airways, it is well worth joining the Executive Club and signing up for the credit card, which right now gives you 50000 miles/points. And the credit card has no foreign transaction fees. The mileage (Avios) tickets are not free (there is a fuel surcharge) but it is way better than full fare. Right now (I just checked) there are award seats available in Economy from Phoenix to Heathrow on every Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in May (12 days in all for the outbound flight). I didn't check the whole month for return, but there are return flights from LHR on May 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 30, and 31.

Posted by Kristen
Huntsville
108 posts

Beth, My family of 4 visited the UK this past May. We purchased our tickets for just under $900 per person in January. I discovered that if we moved our trip up by 3 days and flew into Edinburgh instead of London we would save about $2400 on our plane tickets for. Yes, you read that right. Go for longer and spend less money. Even with the added expense of lodging, food, etc we did not spend $2400 in those extra three days. We still flew out of Heathrow on the way home. And the funny part? We flew into Heathrow to catch our connecting flight to Edinburgh. Kristen