Airfares have become even more unpredictable lately and the normal patterns aren’t always holding up. In a typical winter you’d be able to find really cheap flights between North America and Europe, mostly because demand is quite low. In fact, the period of January through March is the slowest time of the year by far for Atlantic flights, so it’s also when you get the best deals.
Right now, however, the cheapest flight between New York and London is $690 round trip. We’ve seen it under $500 for the same flight in the past couple of weeks, so right now is a terrible time to be looking for this particular route.
The good news though is that there is an amazing fare sale on with tickets to a nearby airport for under $400. This illustrates that when you are checking for cheap fares you might see weirdly high prices for the exact flight you want, but perhaps an even better deal for an airport nearby.
Destination: England, into Bristol
The fare deal I’m talking about is on Air Canada out of Newark, changing planes in Montreal and then changing planes again in Brussels before the short hop back to Bristol, which isn’t far from London. Admittedly, this is not an ideal route, but you’d be saving at least $293 in doing so, since fares are as low as $397.
Trains can be expensive in the UK, especially if you buy your ticket just before you climb on board the train, so in this case you’d want to buy a train ticket from Bristol to your actual destination, even if it’s London, well in advance.
Some people might think this is too big of a pain, but the adventurous travelers out there would look at it as an opportunity. Bristol, it turns out, is quite a lovely place itself, and not far from the historic city of Bath, so you could use this flight deal as an excuse to spend a day in each of them on your way to London or wherever your final destination is.
Always look for alternative airports
Again, if you are seeing what appear to be cheap flights to your main destination, then that will probably be your best deal. Going into or out of another airport is often a fair amount of effort and it takes time as well. But, if your main city pair seems more expensive than it should be it’s a good time to look for these alternative airports.
In the United States the alternative airports tend to be a long way from the main ones, or they don’t have very good deals most of the time anyway, but in Europe the big cities are so close together that there are always options to consider. For example, if you want to fly to Hamburg, Germany, you have Dusseldorf and Amsterdam within a short and direct train ride, and both often have much cheaper fares.