London is great for a lot of things, you can peddle a boat around Hyde Park on a summer day, watch tennis at Wimbledon, rugby at Twickenham or a play in the West End. One thing London isn’t so good for, however, is flying out of.
Flying out of London with British Airways involves paying hefty fees which are hidden in the ticket costs. In this article I will show you how I completely eliminate those fees by starting my trips elsewhere in Europe.
Due to Air Passenger Duty (a tax on passengers flying out of the UK), flying out of the UK will almost always end up being far more expensive than out of Europe. What this usually means is that starting your trip from a European airport, flying to London and continuing your trip as you were originally planning on doing is cheaper. Airports that I usually route out of include Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris because these airports are easily and very cheaply accessible from East Midlands Airport which is where I am based for most of the year.
Example #1 – Avios Bookings
In October, I will be flying to Toronto in British Airways’ new business class. I opted to book this trip using miles and straight away I saw that this trick would save me around £400.
The cost of an avios redemption in business class to Toronto would have cost me a total of 50,000 avios and £418. With this enormous cost in mind, I used opted to start in Dublin instead.
Firstly, I searched for cheap flights out of EMA and found a one-way to Dublin for only £9.99: booked.
Secondly, I searched British Airways website for a one-way avios redemption from Dublin to Toronto via London which came up using the same London-Toronto flight I would have selected at first for a total of 62,750 avios and £166.
While this is a steep increase in the number of avios, for me it made much more sense I have a lot more avios than money. But remember, if you don’t want to use so many avios you could reduce the amount you use for cash.
Example #2 – Cash Bookings
Cash bookings are where the real money can be saved just by starting your trip in Europe. The example I will use for this is a trip I am looking to book to Tokyo in the autumn in business class where the usual return ticket comes in at £3,670.
Now there are two ways to finding a much cheaper price for yourself on BA’s website. Firstly, you need to decide if you want to visit the European destination in advance and effectively start your trip a few months before or if you simply want to fly out, back into Heathrow and go straight from there. If you want to make a holiday out of the European hop then you want to use the multi-city flight search tool on BA.com and input the day you want to return from your small trip (start of your big trip), the outbound and inbound dates for your main trip (the Tokyo bit) and then a throwaway return leg which you won’t be using. This is what my search tool looked like:
After inputting these dates, you will be pushed through to a shabby looking page to choose the flights (note that you won’t be able to see the prices of the individual sectors) and once I had selected the flights the price of €2,606 which is a total of £2,385.
This trick therefore created a saving of £1,285 per person and when you include the flight to Amsterdam you have to buy separately you’re looking at a rough saving of £1,245.
This is no hack or mistake fare but the most simple way to reduce costs on your next flight out of Heathrow. I tend to always use this trick when flying longhaul as it can pay for so much once you arrive in your destination.