I’m planning to travel to New York next April for my brother’s 50th birthday. Please can you give me some tips on getting the cheapest flight? Sarah Gibson, Cheshire
There are lots of flights to New York, so you should definitely shop around to get the best price, but there are a few tricks to get the cheapest deal.
Firstly, try to be flexible on the day of the week you travel. A destination like New York is popular with business travellers who tend to work Monday to Friday. It means you could get a better deal if you travel at the weekend. Use a good search website like Skyscanner.com or Kayak.com, which allow you to look at a range of dates – even a whole month – to find the cheapest times to travel.
Another tip is to look at where in the UK you’re travelling from and to include all the costs of getting to your chosen airport, such as train fares or parking, in your comparison.
Most direct flights between the UK and New York leave from Heathrow and Gatwick, but these can be expensive because of the high cost of using these airports. So try looking for a flight leaving from a regional airport like Birmingham, Manchester or Glasgow. Not only could you pick up a bargain, you might also save on travelling to the airport if you live outside the Southeast.
For example, looking for flights leaving the UK on the 4th April 2017 and returning the following week on the 11th, the cheapest flight I could find direct from London Heathrow to Newark Airport near New York, was £438 on Austrian Airlines, which is operated by the US airline United.
But on the same dates, I found a direct flight from Manchester to JFK Airport for £397 with Virgin Airlines, operated by another US Airline, Delta. And if your nearest airport doesn’t have any direct flights, look at one that connects. These can often be good value. So again, on these dates, I found a flight from Newcastle to JFK, changing in Amsterdam, for £354 with KLM. This airline also offered flights from Southampton for £350 and Norwich for £405.
Another thing to look at is WHEN you book. Buying your flight months in advance is often not the best approach, because the cost of the flight can vary depending on how well it’s booking over time.
Popular flight search website Skyscanner.com says the optimum time to book a flight to New York is 18 weeks before the date you want to fly, and you’ll probably save 9%. But of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best deal.