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Best Airline and Time to Buy for London - August 18, 2022

Hi,
My husband and I are booked for the Best of England tour starting August 21st. We have yet to buy our airline tickets and are now concerned we have left it too late…. Do you have a favorite airline and travel class (e.g., Economy, Premium Economy, Business)? We are leaving from Boston and hope to have a direct flight to London. I have had DVT’s/PE’s in the past and need to have leg room. My dream is Business Class for the night flight over to London but have Premium Economy coming home.

What is the best way to shop for tickets, criteria to use, timing, web sites, etc.? Should we buy our tickets directly from the airline or use a travel web site? If I go to the BA web site, I can get a ‘split class’ reservation that allows for Business class one way and Premium Economy the other way. But when I use Expedia, etc., I have to choose one class of travel for both directions. And fees for luggage, choosing seats, etc. is just so all over the place. Is there more service and ‘protections’ by going through the airline directly?

I am anxious to make these reservations but I don’t want my anxiety to cause me to pay way too much out of panic. Non-baseline economy tickets are quite variable. However, not only do I have to deal with DVT possibilities, but I am 5’10” and need the leg room! :-)

Posted by
9682 posts

I buy directly from the airline, always. I don't want a 3rd party between me and the airline if something goes sideways. I don't think you get any extra protection booking thru a 3rd party. I like that you can book a split ticket on the BA website as that seems like it will suit you.

I've popped for business class for my trip next week. I just decided...why the heck not. I've had 18 months of no travel and I'm in a position to spend the extra money although I charged in on my Delta Sky Miles AMEX card and had the option at the end of using some miles to pay for some of the fare. I'm going Delta One over and Delta Premium Select on the way back. This is a new class for Delta, between Delta One and Comfort Plus. No idea what the equivalent is on BA.

You have not left it to too late! Watch the fares and buy when it looks right to you. Can you look at the seating chart to see how full the flight is? If you are tied to one day then you might have to go ahead and book if your class of seats are looking full.

Add as many days as you can before and after, lol! This tour is awesome, by the way! Such a variety of sights!

PS Talk to your health care provider ahead of time about whether you should wear compression socks and if you should add any medications to your current regimen before the flights.

Posted by
5116 posts

One way to start getting an idea about prices is to use the google flights feature. Type google flights into your search feature and it will come up. Insert "Boston" to "London" and your dates and it will list different airlines and options. Use this for information only and then go to the airline site directly to purchase your tickets.

Just a quick reminder that you may a lose a day traveling to Europe (we certainly do from the West Coast) and you will want to arrive at least a day before your tour starts. The other pitfall that can happen when purchasing airline tickets is to put a different name on the reservation than is on the passport. Example "Sandy" instead of "Sandra". You will want to make sure that your reservation exactly matches your passport.

Some airlines will allow you to purchase coach and then pay an additional price for a coach seat with extra legroom. This might help with the legroom issues.

I hope you have a wonderful trip and I would definitely not put off purchasing these tickets.

Posted by
1728 posts

Hi Debbie,

We have flown out of Logan Airport to London many times. It is a short flight but I would still get premium economy going over and try to get some shuteye on the flight. With such a short flight, I always arrived so jet lagged. I agree with the comment to get there at least a day or two early to recover.

Posted by
13055 posts

It is generally best to book directly with the airline. If you book through a third party like Expedia they are in control of the ticket and you have to rely on them if any problems arise.

We always fly British Airways from Seattle to London, using miles so we can sit in Business Class. If you do not have miles, that split ticket (Business Class over, PE for return) is a good option for you. A friend of mine is doing that in June; her tix were $3250 RT but she bought them last summer. I expect it is more now.

One benefit with British Airways is that tickets for flights through September are flexible at no extra cost. You can cancel and get a voucher for future travel, good ( I believe) through 2023.

Posted by
1286 posts

I like to buy as soon as I find a good price. I start looking 10-11 months before my trip. Obviously, you can’t go back in time and book sooner so I would not stress over that. What I would do, is as soon as you find a price you can live with, book it. And then don’t second guess yourself. Book it and forget about it. Good luck!!

Posted by
720 posts

BA has a daytime flight from BOS— if the price is right that's the best way to cross. Departing at 7:15am and arriving 6h30m later at 6:45pm. It makes for a "short" day, but the travel fatigue will still hit. You land in time to check-in, have dinner and/or a stroll, and get a real, good night's sleep.

Premium Economy is perfect for this, you don't need a biz bed as you aren't trying to get a substitute for a night's sleep in flight.

(I've done it from NY, not BOS. But same deal...)

Posted by
720 posts

HOLY COW!!! I just looked at BA's pricing around those dates, and they're selling Biz for the same or LOWER than Premium Econ! And the Premium Econ prices aren't bad in the first place!

Posted by
21 posts

I wanted to thank everyone for your great comments and suggestions!

I just booked our tickets directly with British Airways. I was able to get Business Class both ways for a total of $4,565 + $446 for Seat Selection (really—charging that much to select seats??!!) for two people. This morning that price was $5,700 without the seat selection fee and Business Class for just one of the legs and Premium Economy for the other leg. Crazy that the prices changed so much in just a few hours. It is a ‘game’ that is very confusing and the ‘rules’ change all of the time — it seems. As a consumer, it makes booking flights such a challenge.

Just glad that they are purchased. I can relax until closer to the trip. It is my retirement trip — so splurging a little on Business Class makes the trip feel more special. Plus, I changed the Boston to London leg to a morning flight as suggested. With my DVT issues (I had my first DVT flying home from Australia in 2010), I have to get up every 45 minutes and ‘walk the aisles’. Doing that walk in the middle of the night is awful. It will be much better doing it during our normal day time.

Thanks again!

Posted by
720 posts

Well done, Debbie. Congrats on the tickets, and congrats on your retirement!

Posted by
11236 posts

Since you are flying business class, you get lounge access both in Boston and London. They are much nicer than just hanging around the terminal for your flight. Free food and drinks.

Posted by
13055 posts

Congratulations—-you did well! It looks like your plane is a 777, which usually has the “yin yang” seating in Business Class (I cannot tell for sure as the online seating charts have not been updated). The seating chart offered with your booking will be correct, but I cannot access that.

If that is the case, you probably want an aisle seat so you can easily get up for your frequent walks. The window seat faces backwards, and the person seated there has to literally step over the legs of the person in the next row aisle seat if they are in the reclined position.

Posted by
9682 posts

My congrats on retirement as well! This is an excellent way to start of the very enjoyable next chapter of your life. I'm glad you got Business Class both ways! That will be a special treat.

Let us know when you need help with figuring out transport to Bath, etc.

Posted by
298 posts

Many congratulations on your retirement! As Frank mentions, since you are flying Business class, dont forget the lounges at each end. Having a nice place to sit and relax outside the cacophony of normal terminal crowd can make the journey very pleasant. If you've never had the experience, there is usually free food and drink on offer. Should for some reason you need assistance with your booking, they will be able to help you in the lounge.

Finally, on arrival at Heathrow from the US, should you want a quick bite to eat, a coffee, or just to fresehen up before you head into town, dont forget about the Arrivals lounge after you have left baggage claim (just look for the signs).