With so many good deals around it is often difficult to know when to pull the trigger on a deal. What happens if something better comes along? In this article, we will look at what the target prices are currently for flights to various destinations and what else makes a flight a good deal. The prices quoted are not the cheapest you will find them, but the cheapest prices you see regularly in a sale or promotion and ones I would be happy to pay.
What to take into consideration
When choosing a flight the price is only one factor, so what else do I look at before I buy a flight?
- Starting point
- If you are going to fly ex EU you need to take into account things such as: how much the positioning flights would be, how long it will take to get to the start point, will you need to stay overnight and if so how much will that cost. If you choose a difficult starting point, it can negate the savings of the ex EU fare with the extra costs such as flights and hotels. It can also add to the travel time substantially.
- Business class product
- If I saw a deal that was cheap, one of the first things I would look at is the business class seat, food and service. If the price is good but they have old seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and bad food reviews, I am not going to fly with them no matter how cheap!
- Miles and tier points
- I have status in three airline schemes currently so I will always be considering how to maintain status in those. If there is an opportunity to earn a substantial amount of miles or status on a fare then I don’t mind paying a little extra. You can work out the Avios and Tier points for BA using this calculator. Don’t forget that indirect flights will usually get more miles and points than direct.
Where to fly from & what to pay
- Tokyo – £1500 from Helsinki/Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg
- Bangkok/Phuket/Koh Samui – £1200 from Helsinki/Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg on Qatar or Finnair, British Airways from Amsterdam, Milan, Air China from Germany or UK, Emirates from Amsterdam for £1500
- Seoul £1300 – On Air France from UK, Qatar from Stockholm/Oslo
- Kuala Lumpur – £1300 from Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg on Qatar
- Vietnam – Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City – £1400 on Qatar from Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg or Air France from UK
- Singapore – £1200 from Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg on Qatar, British Airways from Milan or Amsterdam
- Hong Kong – £1400 Swiss from UK, Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg on Qatar.
- India – £1200 from the UK or Amsterdam with Swiss, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines
- Bali – £1400 from Amsterdam or Stockholm/Oslo/Gothenburg on Qatar
To Australia and New Zealand – £1900-2400
Being so far away, these naturally can be very expensive and an average price on premium airlines is around £3000-3600 from the UK. If you want to fly from the UK, then the cheapest deal on a decent airline is usually with China Southern which you can read a review of here. Their prices from the UK are often around £2200-2400 which is a good price from the UK.
If you want to fly oneworld then your best bet will be to fly from Scandinavia usually. For example, there was recently a deal to Australia on Cathay Pacific from Stockholm for around £1900. In a sale, Qatar often have prices of around £2000-2200 to both Australia and New Zealand.
Singapore Airlines regularly have a deal to Australia and New Zealand from Stockholm at around £2100. You can read my reviews of our flights to New Zealand here.
Air China have regular sales from the UK and Germany which can have fares as low as £1500 from Germany. Black Friday in November is a good time for these to appear.
To America and South America
America consistently has some great value fares due to the amount of competition. Unless you are in urgent need of booking, it is never normally long until the next good deal.
- East Coast (New York, Boston, Washington etc) £1000. BA from Dublin or Amsterdam. TAP Air Portugal from the UK, Virgin from Dublin or Amsterdam. BA from London in a sale very occasionally but usually around £1300.
- Chicago – £1100 from Inverness on BA (first is also often around £1600-1800). TAP from London
- Miami – £1100. BA from Stockholm, TAP from London. Slightly more from Amsterdam or Dublin with BAWest Coast – £1200-1400 BA from Dublin or Amsterdam, Virgin from Dublin, Star Alliance from Dublin or Amsterdam.
- Hawaii – £1500-800 from Dublin, Stockholm or Amsterdam on BA/AA as well as most of the major airlines
It is always worth considering World Traveller Plus too at around £500-600 and using Avios to upgrade as this can often be better value
- Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro – £1100 on LATAM from Amsterdam. Occasionally around £1300 from UK. £1800 in a sale from London with BA. Swiss from UK £1400.
- Buenos Aires – £1600 on LATAM from Amsterdam, Air France or Iberia from Lisbon
- Costa Rica – £1400 with BA from UK
To South Africa and Indian Ocean
- Cape Town – £1200 from Amsterdam. Occasional deals around £1300-500 from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe with Qatar.
- Maldives – £1600 from Stockholm or Milan with Qatar, Emirates from Amsterdam or Rome
- Mauritius – £1600 from Amsterdam with Emirates, Stockholm with Qatar, BA from Dublin
This is a really useful guide, thank you.
This is great, thanks for share.
Any good route and price guide to mainland China to recommend? PVG or CAN for example.
I will add that in shortly.
Yes, thanks for the guide. One additional consideration with ex-EU flights, especially if the departure point is further away (and more expensive to reach from the UK)is the frequency and cost of positioning flight options. On the return, if your long-haul inbound was delayed, what are the consequences for your return positioning flight?
Great article, Michelle, very useful and informative, Thanks very much.
In 2017 my wife and I managed to bag a deal to Sydney with Malaysian airlines from LHR for £1500 each in Business via Expedia. The catch (if you can call it a catch) was that you had to book a hotel room as well to get the good deal. We stayed in a hotel at Sydney airport for one night on arrival before flying on to Brisbane the next day so all worked out very well. I don’t think I will see a deal like that for a long time….
Thank you, very useful guide.
I am only recently getting used to flying business class and use Turning Left for less for advice etc. I flew to Bangkok from Amsterdam in November 2018, The day before I flew with BA from LHR to Amsterdam, stayed overnight in an airport hotel, then flew from Amsterdam to Bangkok (via LHR), on my return journey, when I checked in with BA at Bangkok I asked if I could leave the plane at LHR instead of flying all the way to Amsterdam (I had booked another hotel at Amsterdam airport to then fly back to LHR the following day) This was not a problem and my wife and I got off at Heathrow instead of having to complete the journey back to Amsterdam. – The downside was that I had pre-booked a hotel in Amsterdam and had a flight back from Amsterdam to London that I had to cancel (And didn’t get any money back) – But even with that I still saved money in the long run by – it would have cost me a lot more had I booked to fly from Heathrow to Bangkok business class return!
Useful, thank you. But please, it’s São Paulo with a “u” – it always gets mangled into an fictitious quasi-Italian city, ‘Sao Paolo’ on your otherwise excellent site (and in a surprising number of national newspapers too!)
Don’t understand the dislike of 2x2x2 business class. You get a huge amount of leg room and big comfortable armchair seats and you get to chat to someone over a drink and a meal and never fail to learn something. I’ve occasionally had a miserable so and so next to me who could hardly muster a grunt but it’s rare. And if you really want to be left alone you could get lucky and end up with both seats on lightly loaded flights and have a vast amount of space.
Totally agree about 2-2-2. I’m 6’4″ and size 13 feet. I find the cocoon style seats very uncomfortable to sleep much better in the older product. One of the most comfortable economy seats I’ve ever enjoyed was a flight form Moscow to Seoul on aeroflot back in 2008. There were no overheads, so everything was built into the seat. It was a large armchair
What about West Coast US? I was planning to visit around September/October and was willing to pay up to 1800 quid per person, but all the prices I was watching skyrocketed in the last few weeks and it’s almost impossible to get anything under 2.3k or so. Are they any likely to drop?
There is an Inverness Vegas flight currently for £1250 ish. I would expect to pay around £1500 max for West Coast on an ex EU.
Thanks Michele. So if I wanted to flight out from London, would you recommend waiting? Are those prices I’ve been watching any likely to drop, or is it gone?
I’ve been watching prices for September and there were a couple under £1500, with BA and Virgin (the second being preferable), but now the same flights are way over £3000 pp, and it’s not just September, they skyrocketed all the way to November even. Did I miss my mark?
Great article but I found your views on cheap business fares slightly contradictory. In many of your reviews the food is never outstanding even on premium airlines. So why is food over price so important.
At 6’3 space is everything to me. If I see a deal to Australia at around £1500-£1750 that space counts for 80-90% average food, service and lounges isn’t going to see me pay £2500
Also as others have said 2-2-2 isn’t a deal breaker
We are new comers to the website but have found it invaluable both for general advice (such as this article) and notification of special offers such as the recent Qatar one.
Our daughter and son-in-law are in Sydney for a few years and we managed to take advantage of the excellent Qatar offer last week. We have booked to go in November and the price was around £2,400 from Copenhagen. Equivalent prices for our dates from LHR with Qatar or Etihad were around £3,600. We are travelling to Copenhagen the night before but the flights (Business Class with BA using some Avios points) and airport hotel is less than £350, so a total saving of well over £2,000 for the two of us.
Qatar sounds like a great airline. Our daughter’s company has just signed up a new deal with them and she was over recently on business. She had previously used Etihad but I think she marginally preferred Qatar, especially as she was upgraded to First on the long leg from Sydney to Doha. Last year we got a very good deal with Malaysian (a companion fare that worked out at £2,300 each) and the service was good, but had a 5 hour stop-over in Kuala Lumpar in the middle of the night on the way back, which even with their comfortable lounge wasn’t so great.
My next project is to look for good fares to Japan for the Rugby World Cup in late September / early October. I think I will start with the Finnair offer that you have just announced, but do you have any other thoughts?
Keep up the great work!
Thanks John. As prices will be inflated to Japan one option is to book to somewhere not too far away and buy a connecting flight. This could well work out cheaper or if you have some Avios JAL could be done on a redemption for the inter Asia flights. Tokyo is rarely below £1500 even on an ex Eu so I would expect prices at peak to be well over £2200 from most points. Air France KLM are worth looking out for as they do regular sales that have some good Asian prices although not as good as Qatar for product. I would look at Beijing, or Shanghai as options since you could do a stopover visa free if going on to Tokyo. Otherwise Hong Kong or Seoul can also be cheaper than Tokyo.
Can I add a current bargain that I booked yesterday? London-Nairobi direct on BA is £1,450. You can currently mix & match Air France & KLM from LON via Amsterdam or Paris for about £700 ow.
Because those airlines serve other UK airports from their hubs you have more chance of a positioning flight on the same booking, giving you a single checkin, and onward baggage transfer. And any delay to your ex-UK flight becomes the airline’s problem.
A benefit to those in London or to the east of it is that London City is available for no extra fare. Departing from LCY means no lounge, crowds, and and horrendous prices (have I mentioned before my £14 glass of ordinary wine??) but landing there gets you in a taxi within ten minutes of touchdown.
This is an excellent article!
I know that you indicate the airlines to use for cheapest flights but what I would find super-useful is a breakdown by alliance. Whilst it’s great to know the absolute cheapest, regardless of alliance, I would still only look at using a Oneworld alliance. It would therefore be great to see the target business class price, for each of these destinations, exclusively by alliance 😉
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