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Choosing the best flight

Choosing the best flight

You’ve chosen your destination and now you have to choose your flight. This is where things can get messy! There are so many options out there, but what to choose? Let us help you choose the best flight.

As with everything else to do with travel, you need to start asking yourself, “what are the most important factors for me for my trip?”. For instance, the factors for a businessman that needs to get from London to Shanghai for an important meeting will be very different from those of a backpacker heading to Lima to hike the Inca Trail.

In general, the most direct flight is usually the most expensive flight, so your first choice will often be, which is more important, time spent getting to and from my destination or the price of the ticket. To demonstrate this let’s look at a random example. For this we have chosen to fly from London to Hong Kong on the 15th September 2016 and returning on 6th October 2016. Doing a search (search done on 26th February 2016) we came up with the following:

The cheapest flight in economy was £401.00 with Air China via Beijing. Going to Hong Kong was a total of 15h55mins, and returning from Hong Kong was 17h10mins. The cheapest non-stop flight was British Airways, at £600.00, with the outbound journey taking 11h55mins and the return 12h50mins. So the question becomes which is worth more, the inconvenience of having to change planes in a foreign airport, 8 hours extra total flying time and possibly less convenient arrival/departure times or saving £199.00. Maybe if travelling by yourself the direct flight sounds better, but maybe for a family of 3, a saving of £597.00 makes the longer flight worthwhile.

Only you can make this choice, but make sure you look at all your options before pressing that buy button!

Top Tip: be flexible!! This cannot be stressed enough, you can often save yourself hundreds of £s if you are able to be flexible in your travel dates. Sometimes just one day earlier or later can make a huge difference. To give you an example, on the 27th February we looked for economy class fares from London to San Francisco, departing London on the 12th June 2016 and returning on the 18th June 2016. We looked at just Virgin and British Airways on the non-stop services.

Warwick

Virgin was £1,300.00 return and British Airways was £1,425.00. Mostly due to the airlines’ archaic “Saturday night rule” aimed to make the most out of business people who don’t want to spend more time than necessary away. By adding just one extra day makes a huge difference.  If you left on the 11th June 2016 instead of the 12th (still returning on the 18th), the price on Virgin reduced to £620.00 and on British Airways dropped to £670.00 – that a whopping saving of £680 on Virgin and £755 on British Airways, in both instances cutting the price by more than 50%.

Best prices for business class

I am a sucker for flying comfortably, once you turn left and experience the other way of flying it makes it hard not to want to do it every time you fly! Realistically with a little planning it can happen, and not cost the earth. It needs to be said though, that it will always be more expensive to fly business class, there is no miracle solution to get the seats for less than economy, just in case you thought we may have a miracle solution.

First, PLANNING! Finding excellent business class fares is not a walk in the park, if it was everyone would be doing it! Our tips:

  1. Sign up for your preferred airline newsletters, they will always let you know when they have business class sales coming up.
  2. Always look at non-direct flights, they will almost always be cheaper, especially in business class. In most cases you will change plane at the airlines main hub, where they will have luxury lounges, usually with showers, food, drinks available free of charge to business class passengers, providing a welcome break during the flight.
  3. Collect miles, this can be the best way of getting that lie-flat bed for your special anniversary trip. Remember though, that airlines release limited numbers of seats for mileage redemption, especially in business class, and the further in advance you can book the better.
  4. Consider flying from a different destination, this can work out considerably cheaper than flying from a UK airport – maybe Amsterdam or Oslo, this can work out considerably cheaper. Use a search tool like skyscanner.com or kayak.com to check fares from other destinations. While you’re at it, add a weekend at the other destination as part of your trip. Click here to see a real example.