Dave the Taxi Driver's


Guide to London

 Cheap AirFares to England
(Europe and the rest of the World)

by David Econopouly

I remember in the 80’s it was so easy to find low air fares to Europe. You’d get any Travel section of a Sunday paper, go to the back and look for ads for low fares to Europe. A couple of toll free calls and you’re done….

Then came the internet and the rules changed. It was not a few pages of ads to choose from but literally, tens of thousands of web sites- That was before the days of Travelocity, Expedia and the other mega-ticket sites. You’d have to search through ten or twenty or more sites to find the best fare…

Once again the rules have changed again and we now have mostly mega-travel sites to choose from, but there are lots of them. Each has it’s own system of determining fares, each working out agreements with different airlines and different routes. Each with it’s own mark up on the tickets it sells you. We are now back to having to search through many sites(and sites that search multiple-sites) to get the best fares- So there is no longer one site to go to for the best fare.

I always have people asking me for the “tricks” to finding the lowest fares. There are no “tricks” to finding the best fares. The best advice I can give is to search(I call it “Search ‘til You’re Blue), be patient and know the market.

When I’m looking for tickets I usually start looking months at a time before I buy(Keep in mind that most search engines will only book flights under 300 days in advance). I have a series of strategies for finding low cost fares to Europe at AGreatFare.com which will also work for London and other European cities.(The good news about traveling to London is that it is one of the least expensive places to fly to).

Here are some tips to help you with your search.

1. Visit the Booking Wizard where you can search up to 15 sites at one time. You click on one site after the other and slowly the best fares for each site come up- saving you the time and hassle of having to go all over the web to search individual sites!

2. Know the time of year for the best fares:
*Low Season*- November 1 to March 31(Except Dec 1-Jan 8 which is Shoulder season- bad news for Christmas Travelers, but check Dec 24 for low departure fares.)
*Shoulder Season*- April 1- 1st week of June and Last week of August to Oct 31
*High Season*- First week of June to last week of August.

3. The best fares of the year(for February-November) will come out after the New Year. It’s tempting to buy early so that you don’t have to think about it or because you’re worried that all the “good fares” will be gone. Unless the fare is exceptionally low, that is a mistake.(Last March I bought tickets to Athens from Raleigh for $520 round trip including taxes-If I had panicked and bought them before that they would have cost over $1000!!)

4. Search any time you have free time(or make time to search). If you run a search, an airline will have certain fares available… you can run the exact same search a couple of hours later and different fares appear(this is because people are constantly canceling tickets and the fare that wasn’t available at 4pm became available when a reservation holder cancelled their reservation at 5pm).- This is true for seat selection also….On my last trip to Greece, my daughter and I had inside seats for both directions but after about two weeks of checking seats we found window seats in both directions.

5. Once you’ve found a good fare, go to the site of the airline that the tickets will be issued for. Check see what the fares are if you buy direct from the airline. Sometimes they will have a lower fare than the “discount” web sites!

6. Check fares WITH taxes. The amount of tax on a ticket varies with each airline(and country). The US Airlines generally have taxes in the $90-150 range. European Airlines usually in the $200-400. So make sure you go through and get the total price of the tickets WITH taxes.

7. If you find a Great Fare then keep going as far as you can before you have to purchase to see if it really is available. A lot of times a really low fare comes up, but when you try to book it you get the “fare not available” message. Make sure the fare is a valid fare before you start banging your head because you let it go!

As for the best fares to England, it’s hard to say, but as a general rule, I would look for $300-500 in low season, $400-650 in Shoulder and $600-900 in high season. Once you know when you’re going to go start looking and do those searches as often as you can.

David Econopouly operates AGreatFare.com and helps people find low fares to Greece and Europe through a series of different strategies. He travels to Europe a couple of times a year so he’s always keeping an eye out for low fares.

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