While I’m personally unhappy with the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, I’d be lying if I said that the outcome was all bad news for Americans who like to travel.
As someone who went to England in 2014, I was faced with a relatively high exchange rate between the Great Britain Pound and U.S. Dollar — around $1.60 per £1.00, if I remember correctly. In addition to the exchange rate being expensive, the flights were expensive, too: my round trip base fare on British Airways was $952, although the final total was a bit higher, as I reserved window seats both ways. Indeed, while it was undoubtedly the best trip that I’ve taken to date, it was by no means cheap.
Now, however, things have changed. Given that I hope to visit England in the next couple of years, I’ve been (somewhat regularly) looking at Boston to London Heathrow on Google Flights, playing with various dates to see when the best time to travel would be. Up until last week, the cheapest round trip prices hovered around $800, with cheaper flights available to London Gatwick through WOW Air (via Iceland) or Norwegian Air Shuttle on its new nonstop BOS-LGW service.
Despite the fact that the cheaper flights are — in my observation — those into LGW, I’ve been very much a British Airways and LHR loyalist for years. Given the choice, I probably wouldn’t fly to London on any other airline or into any other airport.
That said, if prices continue to drop, I may have to rethink my above proclamation. For example, BOS-LGW flights are showing for as little as $374 round trip, which is insanely low considering the aforementioned WOW flights were well north of $400 from what I can remember. While I flew on Norwegian to Oslo for less than $300 round trip, the BOS-OSL market doesn’t have nearly the same demand as flights between the United States and the U.K. Moreover, I booked on the cheapest possible dates I could find, so the average price on that route is likely higher. Regardless, a $374 nonstop BOS-LGW round trip fare is insanely low.
25 miles northwest of LGW at LHR, passengers will find that flights into and out of LHR have dropped quite a bit. From BOS, you’d normally expect to pay at least $800 for a non-stop, round trip to LHR and back on one of British Airways, Delta Air Lines, or Virgin Atlantic Airways. This morning, however, I found a variety of dates for both this year and next year where all three of BA, DL, and VS had BOS-LHR round trips going for $692.
While the pool of flights that I’ve profiled is specific to two markets (BOS-LHR and BOS-LGW), the underlying point is the most important thing to consider: flights to the U.K. are, for now, at the cheapest they’ve been in years. And though the exchange rate between the USD and GBP will likely lose some of the parity that it’s recently gained, I wouldn’t be surprised if these savings stayed for weeks, even months to come.