Next Big Trip Up: England in the Spring

My trip to England in Fall 2014 was my first across the pond in more than 10 years. Given that England is my favorite foreign country, I knew that I didn’t want the next one to be 10 years down the road. Back then, as a gift for my graduation from college, my parents were nice enough to pay for my airfare. The base fare was $952 on British Airways, which was pretty cheap for non stop BOS-LHR flights at the time (it ended up being $1,034 altogether with window seat reservations both ways). More importantly, I was able to fly on the Boeing 747-400 both ways, which was an incredible experience. All told, I was extremely happy with that trip. That said, I’m similarly excited for my upcoming trip to England.

Pricing

This time, I myself paid for the trip. It was $504.89 base fare, and came out to a total of $576.89 with window seat reservations both ways. As good as that base fare is, it’s not even the lowest that it’s been – British Airways was selling $460 BOS-LHR round trips in November. Regardless, the fact that there has been a $447 reduction in the base fare on the BOS-LHR route from the last time I went to this time – from $952 to $505 – is insane.

Aircraft

You might well know that I am partial to the 747 over the Airbus A380, the latter of which BA is scheduled to begin flying to BOS at the end of March. However, having enjoyed my flight on a China Southern A380 during my trip last month, I decided that I did want to fly on the A380 at least one of the legs of this trip. Since I enjoy the flight home more than the flight over, I figured I would take the 747 on my favored leg of the trip and the A380 on the other leg.

The Itinerary:

  • 04/09/2017 – BA212 – 7:20 p.m. departure (spring schedule) – A380-800
  • 04/17/2017 – BA203 – 4:45 p.m. departure – 747-400

I am seated on the World Traveller upper deck section of the A380, in 82K, and the World Traveller main deck section of the 747, in 49A. Both are window seats – the first on the right, the second on the left.

Other Factoids

Flights I’ve Taken Between U.S. and U.K.:

  • 11/25/2014 – BA212 – 5:55 p.m. departure (fall schedule) – 747-400
  • 12/02/2014 – BA213 – 11:20 a.m. departure – 747-400
  • 11/10/2004 – BA238 – 8:10 a.m. departure – 777-200ER
  • 11/16/2014 – BA213 – 11:20 a.m. departure – 777-200ER

So, to this point, I’ve taken BA213 twice, BA212 once, and BA238 once.

I do like BA213 a lot because it’s a late-morning departure from London and an early-afternoon arrival in Boston, but it’s being operated by an A380 that day, so I decided to take BA203 instead for the 747, which still gets me back around 7 p.m.

Other Notes and Overall Thoughts

While I’m in England, I plan to take a couple of short Euro trips – to Brussels and Amsterdam. Each city was decided somewhat on a whim, but I am confident I’ll enjoy them.

My dad went to Brussels back in 2002, via London. He very much enjoyed taking the Eurostar train through the countryside of France on the way to Belgium. I’ll be taking that train, too, and for less than $90 round trip.

Amsterdam is a fascinating city that I’ve always wanted to see. Also, the easyJet flights were running for around $75 round trip from London Southend, so that should be fun. Two new countries for less than $200 in travel expenses – I’m happy with it.

I’m pretty excited to have finally booked this. The last time I went to England, I was very focused on the excitement of flying on the 747. As a result, the way over was very much a blur (albeit an awesome one). This time, having been on both the 747 and A380, I’ll definitely try to relax and enjoy the flights (and the trip) a lot more.

I’m Going to China

While I’d always had the sort of “back of my mind” thoughts about venturing to Asia, I had no concrete plans to do so. Being an Anglophile and having visited England twice in my life, the last trip which came in Fall 2014, I hope to go back within the next few years, and figured that my next intercontinental trip would likely be to the British Isles.

However, an innocuous Google search on a recent Friday changed all of that. As I do on many a day, I spent my lunch break scouring Google Flights to see what kind of deals were out there for this fall. After all, there’s something that I love about discovering incredibly low fares.

Looking at the map that Google Flights has, I found a few surprises. For one, flights to Asia were well below $1,000 round trip. Then I started messing around with the dates, and found that I could swing a trip to Asia this fall for less than $600. Yes, a round-trip ticket from Boston to Beijing in November was $569 on Delta, albeit with an overnight layover in DTW on the way over and an hour-long stop in the same airport on the way back. When I looked below, however, I saw that the same trip could be made nonstop on Hainan Airlines on a beautiful Boeing 787 for $659.

Much like I did when I decided spur-of-the-moment to book my trip to Norway, I decided to take the plunge, booking tickets that take me to China on November 5 and back on November 12. This time, my purchase was slightly less impulsive, as I slept on it before deciding to buy. Regardless, I knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to China for such an incredible deal. To top it all off, I booked a one-night trip from Beijing to Chengdu (located in the Sichuan province, in the center of the country) and back on a China Southern A380, as the tickets were significantly cheaper than a transatlantic A380 roundtrip out of JFK (which is currently the closest airport to Boston with A380 service.) There’s still more than six months to go before I climb aboard the Hainan plane for the first time, but I’m already looking forward to it, and I genuinely can’t wait to see what it brings.