REQUEST: cheap airfare to London

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We're hoping to go on a cruise this summer to England/Scotland/Ireland.  The cruise price is ok, but the airfare is really adding up.  Family of 4, I have found roundtrip from Tampa to London for about $1600.  Seems to be a bit cheaper if I buy a ticket from NYC to London, which is about $1100, and then we could just hope for a $200 ticket to NYC, which I think should be fairly doable.  So looking at maybe $1300, but would sure like to get it a bunch cheaper.

Is CheapAir.com and those sites going to be the best for international travel?  I read somewhere that it might be worthwhile to call a travel agent?  I didn't even know they were still around.   Any other tricks for flying cheaper to London during the summer?

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go-today.com has airfare for $750 roundtrip and includes 4 nights stay, didn't fiddle with the destinations, so not sure... (more)

memyselfndi (Jun. 30, 2016 @ 2:59p) |

For flights to London from NYC, I would go with Norwegian Air or WOW Airlines. I've seen some pretty killer deals lately... (more)

StanfordCardinal (Jul. 01, 2016 @ 2:41a) |

i spent two year in London before 5 year it was really good time for every one but now is very tough.

jaysamuel (Jul. 16, 2016 @ 4:48a) |

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There is a sticky thread here which might give you some ideas to try:
https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/travel-discussion/312271/

Nothing to see much in Ireland....I drove over 1000 miles there...the best thing about Ireland is the people of Ireland. London is just another big, dirty, crowed, expensive city....I would do Paris as Paris is series of unique neighborhoods with amazing places....

Check MIA and ATL - may be cheaper and you may be able to drive to those airports...

thanks for the thoughts and linking to the sticky. Already found some better deals from sites I didn't even know existed.

MIA might be doable, ATL, that's tough, almost 7 hours away and then to get on another 7 hour flight. Keeping an eye on Orlando, too.

>Family of 4, I have found roundtrip from Tampa to London for about $1600
Are you talking about total for 4 people?

Norwegian Air have $300 each way from Orlando to London direct flight.
Their return flight is not that cheap until Aug23

belgique said:   Nothing to see much in Ireland....I drove over 1000 miles there...the best thing about Ireland is the people of Ireland. London is just another big, dirty, crowed, expensive city....I would do Paris as Paris is series of unique neighborhoods with amazing places....

You must have visited a different Ireland than I did. Plenty to see and do.

London is one of my favorite foreign cities. Of course it can be expensive, but unless you're going to live there, why worry about it. As far as being dirty, unless you're touring garbage dumps, it isn't. It's cleaner than Paris.

is it safe to go to Europe right now? too many crazy things happening more and more.

Safer than Chicago and other major US cities. I'd just avoid looking like American Tourist i.e. US Flag and logo T-Shirts.

As always; www.google.com/flights/  is your friend 

amheck said:   thanks for the thoughts and linking to the sticky. Already found some better deals from sites I didn't even know existed.And those deals / sites are ... ???

I fly to London fairly frequently, the taxes are a hard to avoid killer. If you're determined to save money you could fly into Ireland. Presumably your cruise doesn't actually depart from London, so from Dublin or Shannon you could take a regional flight closer to the departure port. I'd also look at Air Berlin for doing likewise. Have to watch the luggage rates if you do this.

AARP had a smoking deal for $800 round trip business to London from LAX. Cost me $15 to become a member.

NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
amheck said:   thanks for the thoughts and linking to the sticky. Already found some better deals from sites I didn't even know existed.
And those deals / sites are ... ???

  
Justairticket.com was one.  Found a Virgin Atlantic R/T for $900 from NYC to LON, which is the best I've seen so far.  If we can then score a cheap JetBlue from Tampa to NYC, we may be able to get it for $1100 R/T per person.  Would sure like to see it cheaper, but its better than the $1600 R/T tickets I was seeing from Tampa when I first started looking.

Cruise leaves out of SouthHampton, so I think flying into London would be the best?

amheck said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
amheck said:   thanks for the thoughts and linking to the sticky. Already found some better deals from sites I didn't even know existed.
And those deals / sites are ... ???

  
Justairticket.com was one.  Found a Virgin Atlantic R/T for $900 from NYC to LON, which is the best I've seen so far.  If we can then score a cheap JetBlue from Tampa to NYC, we may be able to get it for $1100 R/T per person.  Would sure like to see it cheaper, but its better than the $1600 R/T tickets I was seeing from Tampa when I first started looking.

Cruise leaves out of SouthHampton, so I think flying into London would be the best?

  
Southampton is a good 90+ minute drive from Heathrow. Southampton has a small airport, you can fly there from Dublin. If you fly into Dublin you avoid the big UK taxes. Have a look, price it out.

I wouldn't try to drive in the UK (e.g., from Heathrow to Southampton) if I didn't absolutely have to. It's complicated and of course the road rules and side of the road are different.

You may find that if you pre-book a taxi, mini-cab, or similar from Heathrow to the cruise ship dock that you could do it for less or for not too much more money than a one-way rental car would cost you, and it would save you time and hassle.

The taxi type of companies are very used to taking families with a lot of luggage, you just have to ask them for the appropriate sized vehicle by telling them how many people you have and how many pieces of luggage. They will ask if you need a "saloon car" or a minivan etc., but it's better to tell them the numbers of things and let them decide based on their experience with their vehicles.

(I do not know about Uber, I am against their corporate tactics and I've never used them, but they are also possibly an option for you -- I don't know if they would have large enough vehicles and go for such a long journey, whereas I've used many taxis and minicabs to book journeys of 60-75 miles in the UK with no problem, but you could always look into that too.)

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Ireland is absolutely lovely, I spent 2 weeks with an English friend driving around the coast, at a time when their economy was in the doldrums and their road system and public services were pre-EU-funding, and it was such a gentle, magical place full of nice people. You have to pre-plan where to go and what to see, based on your interests, of course.

We also saw the bad neighborhoods of a few cities, and some of our important belongings were stolen halfway through the trip by a burglar, and our car broke down on a Sunday in the era before cell phones (gah! what a hassle), so there was good and bad, but that can happen anywhere.

Ireland is best if you have a car to get around.

While it's good for people of any age, I think it's great for slightly older tourists who don't need a lot of urban razzle-dazzle and who can appreciate the slower pace and scenery of the countryside.

It's probably also good for families with young children (if the family has a car to get around), but I've not been there with children, so I don't know what's on offer.

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You could also look into flying first from the US to continental Europe and right back over to Southampton Airport. Such as (just to imagine a route, I don't know the price of it) Orlando to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Southampton. Or Tampa to Barcelona, Barcelona to Southampton. Or Florida to Iceland, Iceland to Southampton. The possibilities are many.

I suggest trying to fly straight to Southampton instead of going to a London-area airport and going Overland to Southampton (by train, rental car, taxi, bus) because it would add a lot of cost and travel time to your journey, perhaps even hundreds of dollars (even by train) and several hours.

Remember that there are several London area airports to consider (Stansted, Luton, City, Gatwick, Heathrow), and you can also consider regional (yet "international") airports like Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, etc. and then take a connecting flight from there to Southampton
(or even perhaps take the train to Southampton, if your family would be comfortable doing that, but I would think that flights all the way would be easiest for tourists, and probably not more expensive than the train).

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You could also spend a while checking out if it would be cheaper to buy your ticket on a UK or European website. Such as Expedia. co.uk, or whatever. (I don't know if they sell to people who don't have a UK or European address, because when I used them, I had residential addresses I could use in both areas of the world.) I often found a price difference for the same flight.

You could also see whether it's cheaper to buy the cruise from an American website/tour operator or a UK website/tour operator.  (Again, if there's no home-address restrictions.)

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Also, your cruise and flight might suddenly be a lot cheaper due to the large drop in the pound vs. dollar on Friday. 

The exchange rate might be volatile for a while longer, in the immediate aftermath of the UK's referendum vote for them to leave the European Union, but the experts are saying that the pound will probably settle at a lower level than the one it's been at for the last couple of years. 

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Yes, people still do use travel agents and you could always ask one about your trip. No harm in it.

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Have you tried a site like RickSteves.com? I am not sure if they arrange for flights to tours/cruises that are not their own tours, but they might.

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Does the cruise company you are going to use have any flight deals? (I'm sorry if you already explained that.)

----
What is the cruise you will be going on, can you provide the link to the itinerary or a list of the stops? I might have some tips on the places you'll be visiting.

(Does your party have any restrictions, such as some who are not able to walk far, some who are young children, etc.)

London Heathrow is notoriously bad for the departure taxes that it charges. One time I was trying to book frequent flier tickets and horrified with the amount of taxes being lobbied and similar to you, we were 3 passengers - so those obnoxious taxes added up fast. My recollection is that Heathrow crap itself was in the $200 to $250 range. These taxes are for flights originating from Heathrow and coming to US. What I ended up doing was: SFO->Heathrow, Dublin->SFO.  I have the breakdown of my Dublin-SFO ticket below.  If you can do something like that such that it lines up with your cruise, you will save a bunch of money. If you can't do that, the alternative is to extend your vacation by a few days - take the train to Paris and then fly out of there. You will probably get free travel to Paris that way - versus giving it all to Heathrow in taxes.
Fare Breakdown
Airfare: 0.00 USD
U.S. Customs User Fee: 5.50  
U.S. Immigration User Fee: 7.00  
U.S. APHIS User Fee: 5.00  
September 11th Security Fee: 5.60  
Ireland Passenger Service Charge: 19.20  
Ireland Pre-inspection Charge: 9.00  
Per Person Total: 51.30 USD
 
     


Just for kicks, I priced a FF free ticket from Heathrow to SFO.  $170 for Heathrow and I suspect that it is so much lower compared to before due to the exchange rates. Family of 4 * 170 = $680 to Heathrow!


Adult fare, taxes and carrier-imposed fees
Base fare $0.00 USD
Per person
PASSENGER SERVICE CHARGE (UNITED KINGDOM) $61.70 USD
Air Passenger Duty (APD) (UNITED KINGDOM) $108.20 USD
US APHIS USER FEE (UNITED STATES) $3.96 USD
US FEDERAL INSPECTION FEE (UNITED STATES) $7.00 USD
US SECURITY FEE (UNITED STATES) $5.60 USD
US CUSTOMS USER FEE (UNITED STATES) $5.50 USD
Total Adult taxes and carrier-imposed fees $191.96 USD


I think its clear that until this disruption is over......stay home! There could easily be strikes...demonstrations and ISIS may feel this is a good time for suicide bombers.

I wasn't suggesting OP drive himself from Heathrow to Southampton, just saying it's 90+ minutes to give an idea of the cab ride.

OP *could* take the subway from Heathrow to Waterloo Station and from there a train to Southampton, which is quite simple with only 1 subway line change, but a hassle with luggage/children in tow.

Yeah, not in anyway planning to get a rental car from London to the cruise port.  I did found a few private shuttles that seemed to be highly recommended by past cruise passengers.  Worst case, I think there's a train that works, but I think a private van would be ideal.

I will continue to check into flying into Dublin.  You do save some $$ on taxes but then you also add another stop and a leg to pay for.  We don't have a whole lot of extra time and will probably be flying in the day that the cruise leaves, so adding an extra stop into Dublin would have to cut down the cost fairly dramatically.  But absolutely worth a look it seems.

I think we'd prefer to stay in London a few days after the cruise, as opposed to going to Paris.  Neither of us parents have been to London like we have Paris, so we may be stuck flying out of there, too. We'll see.

Cruise itinerary:
1 Southampton  00:00 17:00
 
2 Guernsey (St Peter Port) 07:00 15:00
 
3 Cork (Cobh) 08:00 18:00
 
4 Dublin 10:00 21:00
 
5 Belfast 08:00 18:00
 
6 Glasgow 07:00 18:00
 
7 At Sea
 
8 Orkney Islands 07:00 17:00
 
9 Invergordon 07:00 18:00
 
10 South Queensferry, Edinburgh 07:00 19:00
 
11 At Sea
 
12 Paris (Le Havre) 07:00 20:00
 
13 Southampton  05:00 00:00


amheck said:   We don't have a whole lot of extra time and will probably be flying in the day that the cruise leaves, ...I highly advise NOT to fly in the same day. For a flight from the US that requires connections and a "connection" to the cruise port, you putting your trust in a LOT of people to get you there on time.

If you have no choice: 1) Buy travel insurance and/or 2) Take the cruise line airfare (ChoiceAir.com if you are cruising with RCCL or Celebrity).

There was a cruise thread last year by one of the Fatwallet site moderators who was going on his first cruise (ship departing from Florida), and there were several warning tales in that thread of people missing their ships due to delayed flights or heavy traffic on the way to the dock. Experienced cruise-buffs warned him to get there many hours beforehand, even if it meant an overnight stay in a hotel before boarding.

Especially because you are flying from so far away, US security checkpoint times have been taking really long this year (and making some people miss their flights), you have customs and immigration to go through on the other side -- which can sometimes mean hours of standing in line in the UK, you will have to retrieve your bags at an airport like Heathrow which can take quite a long time to get all the bags to the baggage claim carousel, and the road traffic in the UK in the summertime can be bad at any time of day, I would urge you to get to the UK one or more days prior to the cruise.

You said you wanted to stay in London for a few days at the end -- but I would suggest to do London for a few days before the cruise, just to give yourselves plenty of time to reach the cruise ship for departure.

---
Also, given how expensive this trip will be for the group, and how there are several parts to the overall vacation where something could go awry, I'd agree with the prior poster that buying a good travel insurance policy is a good idea.

Plus, your US health insurance probably won't cover you on the trip, so you might want to look into short-term travel health insurance.

---
It sounds like you have been to Paris already, and since that particular itinerary takes up 3 whole days just to let you see Paris for half a day, which in my opinion is hardly worth doing... unless you've never been to Paris before and you expect never to have a chance again to see it,
I personally would wonder if a different itinerary might be more interesting to you and be a better use of your sailing time, either an itinerary that stays entirely in the United Kingdom and Ireland, or one that goes between the UK and Scandinavia, or between the UK and Spain, or something like that.
(I don't have much knowledge of cruise itineraries, but I know those are/were passenger ferry routes from the UK, so I expect they are do-able cruise routes, with lovely scenery and towns at the other side.)

I'll be taking 2 full weeks off, and this itinerary sails on the weekend, which works out well, for the most part, except for incoming and boarding on the same day.

Flights leave Saturday NYC and get to London early am and the cruise doesn't leave until 5pm, so that gives us almost all day to get from the airport to the cruise ship.  We've done about 7-8 cruises out of FL and are very comfortable with the boarding process and all of that.  If there's anyway to get in a day earlier, will absolutely try to do that.  

There's another cruise that goes from Denmark to St. Petersburg and back, but is about double the price. And we've always wanted to see the UK, too, which is why this particular sailing is preferred.

thanks for all of the continued advice.

amheck said:   
Flights leave Saturday NYC and get to London early am and the cruise doesn't leave until 5pm, so that gives us almost all day to get from the airport to the cruise ship. 
 

  
I was going the other direction, but I was on a Delta flight out of Heathrow in December that left almost a day late due to a mechanical failure. There's a data point for you.

(it actually worked out fine, I didn't *have* to get home, I got a free extra night in London from Delta, and EU compensation law covered the entire cost of the tickets )

I don't know how crazy this idea is in terms of the money side of things (losing nights and meals on the boat that were already paid for),
but if you've only got 2 weeks and your aim is to see the UK, maybe you could think about leaving the cruise for good at Edinburgh and trading the half-day of sightseeing in Paris with 3 full days of sightseeing in the UK (replacing days 11, 12, and 13 of the ship's itinerary with your own plans Overland ).

---
On the current itinerary, you are barely seeing anything of England, you're not seeing that much of Ireland (missing the lovely and varied western coast, such as Kerry/Dingle up to Connemara and Galway), and you are seeing nothing of Wales.

I'm sure you have many reasons for wishing to do a cruise as the method of visiting the UK, and I respect that choice.

However, I would recommend doing the UK Overland if what you want is to see the best of the UK. Just to see England alone, you could fill 2 weeks seeing the internal parts of the country, fairy-tale villages, iconic castles, romantic stately homes, ancient stone circles like Stonehenge, gorgeous small cities like York, Cambridge, and Bath, famous museums, not to mention several days in and around London. Ireland is worth a week to get a quick glance at the highlights of the country, Wales is worth a couple of days (especially if you have a particular interest in Wales), Scotland is worth 1-2 weeks as a taster.

The ports and a couple of the larger cities that are on your plan (such as Belfast and Glasgow) are of course extraordinary in their way, but they are not what I'd recommend for a first-time tourist to the UK who may only be visiting the country once in a lifetime to spend their sightseeing hours on.

If you'd rather not have to worry about the details, of course you are aware that there are tours Overland that usher people around by bus, van, or train, and arrange the overnight accomodation and meals, and even do guided daytrip tours or let people do their own thing during the day.

For me the best part of the cruise itinerary looks like the Scotland bit, where you get to see some neat, gorgeous places like Orkney and the mainland coast that are not quick or inexpensive to reach from the southern part of the UK by other forms of transportation.

Just some random thoughts. I'm sure that it will be a great trip in any event.

oppidum said:   It sounds like you have been to Paris already, and since that particular itinerary takes up 3 whole days just to let you see Paris for half a day, which in my opinion is hardly worth doing...The cruise docks in Le Havre (on the English Channel at the mouth of the Seine). While you can take a tour to Paris, there are plenty of other things to do from the port.

The last time I stopped in Le Havre, I rented a car for the day and toured the Normandy beaches. Standing on the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and walking through the Normandy American Cemetery was quite an emotional experience.

"On June 6, 1944, at 0600 hours the turning point of World War II was underway. Two hundred twenty-five Army Rangers were about to assault the sheer cliff known as Pointe-du-Hoc."
http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/all/article/545008/Pointe-du-H...
  

amheck:I will continue to check into flying into Dublin. 

Flying into Heathrow is fine - it is flying out of Heathrow that is a problem. You could do USA-LHR, Dublin-USA (if works with your cruise)

oppidum said:   On the current itinerary, you are barely seeing anything of England, you're not seeing that much of Ireland (missing the lovely and varied western coast, such as Kerry/Dingle up to Connemara and Galway), and you are seeing nothing of Wales.

I'm sure you have many reasons for wishing to do a cruise as the method of visiting the UK, and I respect that choice.

However, I would recommend doing the UK over land if what you want is to see the best of the UK. Just to see England alone, you could fill 2 weeks seeing the internal parts of the country, fairy-tale villages, iconic castles, romantic stately homes, ancient stone circles like Stonehenge, gorgeous small cities like York, Cambridge, and Bath, famous museums, not to mention several days in and around London. Ireland is worth a week to get a quick glance at the highlights of the country, Wales is worth a couple of days (especially if you have a particular interest in Wales), Scotland is worth 1-2 weeks as a taster.

The ports and a couple of the larger cities that are on your plan (such as Belfast and Glasgow) are of course extraordinary in their way, but they are not what I'd recommend for a first-time tourist to the UK who may only be visiting the country once in a lifetime to spend their sightseeing hours on.

For me the best part of the cruise itinerary looks like the Scotland bit, where you get to see some neat, gorgeous places like Orkney and the mainland coast that are not quick or inexpensive to reach from the southern part of the UK by other forms of transportation.

Just some random thoughts. I'm sure that it will be a great trip in any event.
I've been on many cruises (31 and counting) but have thoroughly enjoyed my over land visits to UK.

Trip #1 (8 days) Shropshire area + Wales. And ended the trip with an 8 day transatlantic cruise.

Trip #2 (10 days) Norfolk area. Ended the trip with a drive (past Heathrow) to Southampton for an 8 day transatlantic cruise.

Trip #3 (15 days) South Yorkshire and Scottish Borders. Drove 2200 miles by car plus two train trips to Edinburgh.

In the fall -> Trip #4 (16 days) Ireland - County Kerry and County Longford.

To bring this back on topic: c have a cruise booked in 2017 that will cover Denmark, Norway, Shetland Islands (Scotland) and Iceland. I will fly in 2 to 3 days early and most likely book the air tickets through the cruise line.
  

NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
oppidum said:   On the current itinerary, you are barely seeing anything of England, you're not seeing that much of Ireland (missing the lovely and varied western coast, such as Kerry/Dingle up to Connemara and Galway), and you are seeing nothing of Wales.
I'm sure you have many reasons for wishing to do a cruise as the method of visiting the UK, and I respect that choice.
However, I would recommend doing the UK over land if what you want is to see the best of the UK. Just to see England alone, you could fill 2 weeks seeing the internal parts of the country, fairy-tale villages, iconic castles, romantic stately homes, ancient stone circles like Stonehenge, gorgeous small cities like York, Cambridge, and Bath, famous museums, not to mention several days in and around London. Ireland is worth a week to get a quick glance at the highlights of the country, Wales is worth a couple of days (especially if you have a particular interest in Wales), Scotland is worth 1-2 weeks as a taster.
The ports and a couple of the larger cities that are on your plan (such as Belfast and Glasgow) are of course extraordinary in their way, but they are not what I'd recommend for a first-time tourist to the UK who may only be visiting the country once in a lifetime to spend their sightseeing hours on.
For me the best part of the cruise itinerary looks like the Scotland bit, where you get to see some neat, gorgeous places like Orkney and the mainland coast that are not quick or inexpensive to reach from the southern part of the UK by other forms of transportation.
Just some random thoughts. I'm sure that it will be a great trip in any event.
 

I've been on many cruises (31 and counting) but have thoroughly enjoyed my over land visits to UK.
Trip #1 (8 days) Shropshire area + Wales. And ended the trip with an 8 day transatlantic cruise.
Trip #2 (10 days) Norfolk area. Ended the trip with a drive (past Heathrow) to Southampton for an 8 day transatlantic cruise.
Trip #3 (15 days) South Yorkshire and Scottish Borders. Drove 2200 miles by car plus two train trips to Edinburgh.
In the fall -> Trip #4 (16 days) Ireland - County Kerry and County Longford.
To bring this back on topic: c have a cruise booked in 2017 that will cover Denmark, Norway, Shetland Islands (Scotland) and Iceland.  I will fly in 2 to 3 days early and most likely book the air tickets through the cruise line.  
 

I am not sure if you are the same person as the original poster "amheck" or not, but with my recommendations I was addressing that person's described situation, not giving a general prescription for Fatwalleters, nor assuming that other people had never been to the UK. 
(Nor was I assuming that there isn't anything to see on the docking day in France besides Paris.  I was going on what the OP had intimated was important in his/her case.)

go-today.com has airfare for $750 roundtrip and includes 4 nights stay, didn't fiddle with the destinations, so not sure the departure city for the $750, but check it out.

For flights to London from NYC, I would go with Norwegian Air or WOW Airlines. I've seen some pretty killer deals lately for as low as $298 roundtrip on gtfoflights.com. Though, it depends on how soon you want to go as a lot of those deals are in the Fall.

i spent two year in London before 5 year it was really good time for every one but now is very tough.



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