Flying in style continued
If you have a very large wallet or a wad of frequent flier points, you might even consider first class, but ask yourself what you will really gain. Unless you need a very large seat and much greater privacy, the inflated cost probably isn’t worth it, although the private cabins found on Singapore Airlines, Emirates and India’s Jet Airways or the opulence of Etihad are the ultimate in air travel.
Whatever you choose, getting your swanky special occasion flight at a good price requires some guile. As it is a holiday, you won’t be delayed in any business meetings so you can buy the cheapest fare category, a ticket that is not flexible. Be sure, however, to make it to the airport on time or face a hefty amendment fee.
Secondly, ask a good travel agent to search for all airlines that fly to your chosen destination. You may not realise, for example, that Air New Zealand is an excellent way to get to Los Angeles or Hong Kong, or that Taiwan’s EVA Air flies to Bangkok. Both of these go non-stop from Heathrow and can undercut the more familiar brands while offering a frequently-superior experience.
On a similar theme, consider flying indirect. American Airlines’ hub at Miami airport and its network in the Caribbean mean a simple one-stop hop to many islands that will usually be cheaper than flying non-stop. In the other direction, the Middle East carriers will, for example, get you to Australia, Sri Lanka or Goa on a one-stop flight. Consider also going via Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt if your local airport has connections with Air France, KLM or Lufthansa, as these fares will often be cheaper and more convenient than the trip from Heathrow.
Another crucial point is time of year. For example, August is a great time to fly to New York – if you can bear the humidity – as few business passengers travel there then. A BA Club World return, normally £4,000-£5,000, plummets to as little as £1,500 then, provided
you stay over a weekend and book in advance.
flying in style facts
Air France: www.airfrance.com
Air New Zealand: www.airnewzealand.co.uk
American Airlines: www.americanairlines.com
British Airways: www.ba.com
Delta Air Lines: www.delta.com
EVA Air: www.evaair.com
Jet Airways: www.jetairways.com
Oman Air: www.omanair.com
Qatar Airways: www.qatarairways.com/uk
Singapore Airlines: www.singaporeair.com
United Airlines: www.unitedairlines.co.uk
Virgin Atlantic: www.virgin-atlantic.com
No.1 Traveller: www.no1traveller.com
Priority Pass: www.prioritypass.com
Lounge Pass: www.loungepass.com
Holiday Extras: www.holidayextras.co.uk
See www.seatplans.com for advice on which airline to choose
All prices and details were correct when published in tlm - the travel & leisure magazine, please check before you travel.