The cost of flights can be a big chunk of a family holiday budget, particularly if flying to the USA from the UK. Here we show you some great ways to save money on flights to the USA.
Try and be as flexible with every element of your flight booking – departure airport, arrival airport, day of travel etc. By playing around with your options on a site like Skyscanner, you’re likely to save some cash.
Skyscanner has great options like ‘Add nearby airports’ so you can see other options that might be close to your departure and arrival airports. Their search facility also allows you to select ‘Whole Month’ as a date option so you can see prices around your ideal travel dates.
Look at durations of stay that are not the traditional 4, 7 or 14 day holidays. By searching for 6 nights, or 13 nights for example, you can often save money on flights.
Consider Connecting Flights to Save Money
It is often cheaper to connect to the USA rather than taking a direct flight. By adding one stop to your journey, you can often save hundreds of pounds per person. Multiply that up over a family, and you can be saving thousands.
Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester are all easy airports to connect through within the UK. Amsterdam is another great option though, as it’s one-terminal layout makes for easy transfers (although it can sometimes be quite a walk!). Dublin is worth considering too, with some added bonuses discussed below.
Look at options from Dublin Airport
If you’re looking to save money on flights to the USA, Dublin Airport is worth considering either as a starting point or a connecting point. Flights originating from Dublin Airport do not have Air Passenger Duty (APD) charged on them, so can save you a fortune in taxes.
Here’s a full list of the airlines and routes from Dublin into the USA.
Dublin Airport also has the added benefit of US preclearance facilities which mean you go through US immigration in Dublin and arrive into the US as a domestic passenger, saving all the queuing time on your arrival into the USA. You can find more information on this here.
Frequent Flyer Schemes
If you fly regularly, consider using your loyalty points to book your flights, either as full payment or part-payment if your scheme allows.
If you’re wanting to redeem loyalty points for flights, you usually need to be booking well in advance to get availability, particularly for peak holiday times. There is some superb advice on this subject over on Head for Points, including a great article on the new Avios Part-Payment option, which is great if you don’t have a lot of points accrued or are just looking to save a bit of cash.
Use Cashback Websites
Booking through cashback websites, such as TopCashback and Quidco can be a great way to make some money back on the cost of your flights. Although you won’t get the money back immediately, it can provide a good extra boost after you’ve travelled! Check out our full post about how to use these sites here.
Book Flights and Hotel Together
It’s worth looking at whether you can save money by booking your flights and accommodation together to save money on the overall cost. You can do this through a travel agent, or through online travel agents such as Expedia. This can also often offer you additional consumer protection through the ATOL scheme, but check with the company you’re booking through with your exact circumstances.
Consider what ‘extras’ you actually need to save money on USA flights
Airlines have now ‘unbundled’ lots of the added extras when flying such as bags, seat allocations, inflight meals and entertainment. This means that you will probably get the option to add these things to your booking as ‘extras’ now, depending on your airline.
Think carefully about what you actually need for your flight. Do you all need a 20kg bag, or you could your family of 4 manage on 3 bags? How important is it that you all sit together? Will you actually eat the inflight meal?
By cutting out some of these extras you could save on your total ticket price.
Look for Patterns on Airline Sales
This is no guarantee of a cheap flight, but its worth seeing if you can spot any trends in when airlines offer sales. For example, has an airline done a ‘black friday’ deal for the last few years? You can look back through airline social media pages, such as Twitter to see if you can spot any trends.
Of course, just because they did something last year, doesn’t mean they’ll do it again, but if you can hold out and are willing to take a risk, this could help you save money on flights to the USA.
When should I book to get the cheapest flights to the USA?
This is the ultimate question and one we all wish we had the answer to! The real answer is that it’s entirely up to the revenue management practices and policies of the individual airlines, which are variable and constantly changing. Generally though, the earlier you book, the cheaper the fare. This is not a guarantee though.
Our advice would be to book when you find a fare that you feel is good value and works for your family. Once you’ve done that, don’t give it another thought! Prices may fluctuate but that’s the gamble we all take.
We hope you find a great price on your flights!