The “Brexit” Impact on Airfares: Flights to the U.K. Are Crazy Cheap

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.

 

200+ Round Trip Flights for Less Than $100

As a kid growing up, I often thought that flying was inordinately expensive. And, to a certain degree, my perception was accurate: when I was seven, I asked my mother how much a round trip plane ticket to Florida from our home in Maine was. (She replied that it was well north of $300 which, in 2016, would be around $432.00). And while obviously my sense of money wasn’t what it is now, as $10 seemed like a lot of money to this particular seven-year-old, I came to think that it was very much a luxury that I would seldom get to enjoy throughout the rest of my life. I found this to be a shame, as there were many things that I really enjoyed about flight — from the sheer excitement of takeoff and landing to the intricate logistics that comprise the operation of commercial flights.

However, as time has gone on, there have been myriad factors that have made the price of flying drop drastically: increasingly efficient aircraft, the saturation of seats in certain markets, and low-cost carriers providing the legacy carriers with increased competition (to name a few). At 24, I’ve flown 12 times in the past two years, which is exactly double the six times that I flew in the first 22 years of my life. Part of that is due to the fact that I have my own income and choose to spend money on flying instead of other things — I don’t rack up hundreds of dollars on bar tabs, fancy restaurant bills, or shopping trips — but it’s also due to the increasing affordability of flights everywhere.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to look at Google Flights and compile a list of sub-$100 round trip flights that I found from my home airport of Boston Logan (KBOS) to a variety of domestic destinations throughout this summer. This list is somewhat disorganized, as it was very much something I did for fun, but I’ve taken two sub-$100 trips on flights that I found researching for this spreadsheet, so I can even vouch for its effectiveness. And though the volatility of fuel prices — which have been low for the past few months — is unpredictable, meaning that ticket prices could increase dramatically, I think that it’s worth noting how affordable flying has become, and how you, too, can find plenty of affordable flights if you’re able to analyze market behavior and book accordingly.

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee that any of the information in this spreadsheet is accurate as of today. This list was compiled some time in early May of 2016. As such, many of the prices will have increased significantly in the month or so that has passed (as of today, I’ve noticed that prices for Newark, in particular, have increased); moreover, some of the dates here have passed altogether. You are free to tell me of any changes that you observe, but the purpose of this sheet was simply to show that there are a number of affordable flights out there rather than highlighting a certain fare, route, or carrier.

(Of course, these round trips are solely flights originating in Boston. However, there are a variety of other cheap flights that you can find throughout the United States.)