Heathrow Hacks: Cheap British Airways flights from Boston to London

While perusing Google Flights the other day, I put in “BOS” and “LHR.” Though non stop flights between the two airports have dramatically decreased in price from the $952 round trip (that was the base fare: total cost of $1,034, as choosing window seats ahead of time was $41 each way) when I went to England in the Fall of 2014, they still run generally between $750 and $990.

With all that in mind, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a non stop flight from Boston to London Heathrow that was priced at $512 round trip. Yes, $512. And this wasn’t just one flight that was priced so low: I looked further and found a number of dates in November and December in which round trips of varying lengths – everything from a few days to a week and perhaps even more – are priced significantly lower than normal.

lhrhack1
First example of dates.

 

lhrhack2
Second example of dates.

You might’ve noticed that the links next to the buttons say “Book with American.” The reason for this is that these fares are being sold through American – British Airways’ price is significantly higher. The reason that AA can sell BA flights is because – given that both are members of the oneworld alliance – they have a codeshare, which allows them to sell each other’s flights. This is usually helpful when a neither a direct flight nor multiple flights on the same airline are available between a given origin and destination, so – instead of booking multiple tickets on multiple airlines – the customer only has to buy one ticket that will work on all segments of the route. Even so, that begs an interesting question: why can American sell the fare cheaper than BA?

Great question, and I wish I knew the exact answer. It’s possible that this is an example of a “mistake fare,” where the price is set incorrectly. However, I’m not sure that this is the case, as a mistake fare is often priced at significantly less than 50% of the normal fare (e.g. a $1,200 Emirates flight going for $150).

Moreover, these fares are being offered in a particularly slow time of year for international travel: the period between the end of fall and the Christmas holidays. For example – although I myself did – not many people travel to the U.K. for Thanksgiving, which perhaps drives the prices of flights between the U.S. and the U.K. down. Of course, this is an unconfirmed hypothesis – I’d have to check a number of other fares to see how prevalent it is – but I can very much see it being the case, and I’d be willing to guess that such is the case here.

But what about Norwegian?

If you’ve read Hump Day Fare Hacks, you’ll know that Norwegian Air Shuttle tends to offer super low ($300-$400) fares on the Boston to London Gatwick route. So why is this – at $100+ more expensive – such a good deal?

First off, BA is what is called a “full-service” airline. This means that – at the very least – you get a checked bag, a meal, drinks, and refreshments included with your fare. Meanwhile, as a low-cost carrier, Norwegian charges for each of those things. If you simply want to get from A to B, Norwegian is undoubtedly cheaper. However, should you want the same amenities on Norwegian that you’d get on BA, you’ll likely end up spending an amount comparable to the price of the BA ticket.

Second, BA has four daily flights each way between Boston and London. Going over, there’s a morning flight BA238, an early evening flight BA212, and two night flights, BA214 and BA202. Coming back, there’s a late-morning flight, BA213, two late afternoon flights, BA203 and BA215, and one night flight, BA239. Norwegian, meanwhile, has just one each way – DY7148 going over, DY7147 coming back – and it operates four times per week. Moreover – and this may only matter to avgeeks like myself – BA will operate three different types of aircraft on the route – the Boeing 787, 777, and 747 – each with its own layout and perks. Norwegian, meanwhile only flies the 787, although I must say that Norwegian’s 787s are extremely comfortable based on my trip to Oslo. All other things equal, BA gives travelers a significantly larger number of options than Norwegian does.

Third, Gatwick, located in the county of West Sussex, is a bit further from the heart of London than is Heathrow, which is located in London proper. However, this is negligible, as while a train from Heathrow is quicker, it’s not by much – the Gatwick express is almost as fast.

Finally, some prefer the fact that Gatwick is smaller and easier to get around than Heathrow. Think of Gatwick being like Newark compared to New York JFK being like Heathrow: Newark does have its own issues, and JFK will give you more options, but Newark is – in my opinion – much easier to get in and out of than JFK. The same could be said for Gatwick compared to Heathrow.

Bottom Line: Do what works for you!

Personally, I’m a BA loyalist, although Norwegian’s prices are certainly tempting. That said, I can definitely understand why many would prefer to fly for significantly cheaper on the latter, even if Norwegian doesn’t have as many flight options or amenities as BA boasts. I myself flew Norwegian from Boston to Oslo this past April, and I thought they did a fantastic job, especially for the price. And though I’ve likely firmed up my travel plans for the fall, leaving me with no room to plan a spontaneous trip to England, I encourage any Boston-based travelers thinking of a trip to the U.K. to consider this deal – although I don’t believe it will last!

Hump Day Fare Hacks: September 21, 2016

This week featured the unearthing of some new deals, the increasing of fares on other routes, and a number of notable events in between.

For starters, I was convinced that the Norwegian Index would increase dramatically, as we had to say goodbye to the BOS-OSL route (which, by the way, is still in the low-$300 range for October). However, while both of the routes that were previously listed at under $300 increased in price, the two that were listed at over $300 both decreased in price, resulting in a less dramatic change than I’d anticipated. As a result, we might even see routes such as BOS-CPH and – much more likely – BOS-LGW creep under the $300 mark.

Norwegian Index for September 7, 2016 (measured in dollars): 295.0.

Going back to that last sentence: why is BOS-LGW (at $318) more likely to break the $300 price floor than BOS-CPH, which is listed at $304? Well, BOS-CPH goes out of season at the end of October, and we’re getting close to the final dates. As you may know, the general rule in the airline world is that – all other things equal – the closer it is to the date of departure, the more the price increases. Now, of course, there are times when you’ll find a crazy low fare on a flight departing the following week that should be really expensive, but those are anomalies, and usually have to do with a special promotion, or the fact that the airline is desperate to sell seats. So even though BOS-CPH is significantly closer to $300 than BOS-LGW, it doesn’t have time on its side, whereas BOS-LGW will run throughout the winter.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 27

Carrier: Hainan Airlines
Price: $638

Thoughts: So what if it’s short notice? YOLO.

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $304

Thoughts: The route goes out of season at the end of October, but I’d say it’s still possible that this goes through the $300 price floor.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11, 13-16, 18, 20-23, 25, 27-30
  • February (2017) 1, 3-6, 8, 10-13, 15-28
  • March (2017) 1-9, 11-23, 27-31

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $507

Thoughts: I know it’s the same price as last week, but trust me – this will not last.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $580

Thoughts: I believe this is the lowest this fare has gone. For a winter getaway in Portugal, this is well worth the money.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • October 26
  • November 13, 14, 27, 29
  • December 1-5, 7
  • January (2016) 16
  • February (2017) 21, 27, 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $318

Thoughts: Dare I say that this route goes under $300? I know it seems implausible, but I’ve learned that the only thing to expect with Norwegian is the unexpected.

 

 

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK and Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11-31
  • Any date in February
  • Any date in March

Carriers: Delta Air Lines (JFK), KLM (JFK), United Airlines (EWR)
Price: $439

Thoughts: So all of the December dates that were available have gone, leaving only 2017 dates available. Doesn’t change the fact that this is a steal.

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 12-17, 19-24, 26-31
  • February (2017) 1-6, 8-28
  • March (2017) 1-23, 26, 28-31

Carriers: Brussels Airlines
Price: $443

Thoughts: The only Belgian thing I can think of that’s better than this deal is a stack of Belgian waffles. I’m sure there are others, of course, but this is definitely up there.

 

New York JFK – Dublin

Leave on:

  • November 15, 22, 30
  • December 1, 6-8, 12
  • January (2017) 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30, 31
  • February (2017) 1-3, 6-9, 13-16, 20, 22, 23, 26-28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 12-14

Carriers: Aer Lingus
Price: $497

Thoughts: Of all the legacy transatlantic carriers that fly between the U.S. and Europe, Aer Lingus is usually the cheapest. However, a flight to Dublin – not Shannon, Dublin – priced at less than $500 is exceptional.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 19, 22, 24, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 5, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $280

Thoughts: This fare has hovered around the high-$200 mark, but I anticipate that it might plunge below $260 if capacity isn’t filled. I’m not saying “wait,” but waiting wouldn’t be bad, either.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 22

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $278

Thoughts: It hasn’t set the low-water mark for Hump Day Fare Hacks by some distance, but don’t let that fool you – $278 for a transatlantic flight is not normal.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: September 14, 2016

Norwegian Index for September 14, 2016 (measured in dollars): 292.0.

As you can tell, the Norwegian Index (defined in last week’s post) fell by 2.0. What’s more, though, is that’s not even the most impressive development for this week. Instead, I think the craziest thing is the fact that there are three routes without low-cost carriers that are showing sub-$500 round trips between New York and Europe. If I had to pick one for myself, I’d choose JFK-MUC on Lufthansa for $490, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • September 27 (return October 6)
  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $306

Thoughts: Just waiting for this one to go below $300 (it won’t, but that would be impressive).

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $585

Thoughts: Combined with Lufthsana’s increase to $597 for BOS-FRA, TAP and BOS-LIS come back into the picture for the exceptionally low price, variety of dates, and the fact that many of said dates fall during the coldest part of winter – an idea time to venture to Portugal.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • December 5
  • January (2017) 9, 11, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 6, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $338

Thoughts: Up $8 on last week but with new dates available. Really don’t know what to make of the fact that there are direct flights to London for less than $400 round trip.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on: October 14, 21 (return October 22, 29)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $286

Thoughts: Norway is cold, but this fare is hot. And with Norwegian going out-of-season at the end of October on the BOS-OSL route, now’s the time to book.

 

Boston – Tel Aviv

Leave on:

  • November 20, 24

Carrier: El Al
Price: $650

Thoughts: Have family in Israel? Want to visit them over Thanksgiving? Book this flight.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK and Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • December 13-19
  • January (2017) 11-31
  • Any date in February (2017)
  • Any date in March (2017)

Carriers: Delta Air Lines (JFK), KLM (JFK), United Airlines (EWR)
Price: $439

Thoughts: Much like last week, my recommendation would be KLM and its Boeing 747 or 777 over the Delta 767 or United 757, but you can’t go wrong with this price and the extensive range of dates.

 

New York JFK – Brussels

Leave on: December 13, 14, 16

Carriers: Brussels Airlines
Price: $443

Thoughts: In addition to the fare listed, there are a number of different dates in 2017 where a sub-$500 fare is available, so your options may be far more extensive than I’ve listed here.

 

New York JFK – Munich

Leave on:

  • December 13

Carriers: Lufthansa
Price: $490

Thoughts: Just one departure date available, sure, but this is crazy stupid low. Never thought I’d see a Lufthansa long-haul flight going for less than $500.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $261

Thoughts: A dollar off last week. Stockholm, eat your heart out.

 

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 15, 22

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: A very commendable second place in the unofficial Norwegian competition for lowest fare of the week on Hump Day Fare Hacks.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: September 7, 2016

This week, I’m introducing a new measurement called the “Norwegian Index.” Before you accuse me of turning a user-friendly blog into pure airline jargon, I should say that the Norwegian Index is simply the average of all Norwegian Air Shuttle flights profiled by Hump Day Fare Hacks in a given week. I think this is a solid way of seeing what an average “low-cost” (e.g. non-legacy carrier) transatlantic fare is at a given time, and, as such, will provide a basis of comparison for the cost progression or regression, depending on how the market behaves. And while a more comprehensive version would perhaps be weighted by the number of available days for each route, I simply don’t have the time or interest to take that on. If you’d like to undertake that task, be my guest – I’ll be sure that you get the appropriate recognition.

Norwegian Index for September 7, 2016 (measured in dollars): 294.0.

Just to be clear – this does not mean that I’ll be profiling more or less Norwegian flights in order to generate a more favorable Index. The average will be computed after I choose the deals to be profiled in a given week, ensuring that the Index is calculated objectively.

Moving on – Lufthansa is the airline to watch this week, offering a range of flights for less than $510 on BOS-FRA, JFK-MUC, and EWR-MUC. The German flag carrier usually charges significantly more on transatlantic flights, so this is something to take advantage of if you have the desire to travel to Bavaria or Hesse. Additionally, Hainan is offering exceptionally low fares on BOS-PEK for a number of September dates – prices which seem unthinkable at first glance given that the closest one is just six days away.  Two different countries; two carriers synonymous with quality; four great deals. Can’t beat it. (Maybe they can, but I don’t see it happening).

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 13, 14, 21, 26, 27

Carrier: Hainan Airlines
Price: $638

Thoughts: It may well be too short of notice to plan a trip to China, but if you’ve got a week and $638 to burn, I can’t think of a better investment. I’m kidding, of course – however, the fact that this fare is available for a transpacific flight less than a week away is almost unthinkable.

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11 (return October 20)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $305

Thoughts: Just one date left. Either way, an exceptional deal, even if not as cheap as BOS-OSL.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11, 13-16, 18, 20-23, 25, 27-30
  • February (2017) 1, 3-6, 8, 10-13, 15, 16, 18-28
  • March (2017) 1-23, 27-31

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $507

Thoughts: If a $1 decrease wasn’t enough, the fact that the number of available dates drastically increased makes this deal a very attractive proposition. Anything transatlantic trip for less than $600 on Lufthansa is an exceptional fare.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $330

Thoughts: A $3 increase with 2 more days of availability. Business as usual for Norwegian.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)
  • October 17, 21 (return October 25, 20)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: This is the second week that this fare and these dates are available. If you haven’t bought your ticket already and you have even the slightest of desire to do so, you probably should.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK and Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • December 6-20
  • January (2017) 11-31
  • Any date in February (2017)
  • Any date in March (2017)

Carriers: Delta Air Lines (JFK), KLM (JFK), United Airlines (EWR)
Price: $439

Thoughts: This smells of an over saturation of capacity in the market – one that could well be rectified in the coming months. Either way, this is a fantastic deal to take advantage of – personally, I’d recommend KLM and its Boeing 747 or 777 over the Delta 767 or United 757, but you can’t go wrong with this price and the extensive range of dates.

 

New York JFK and Newark – Munich

Leave on:

  • December 6, 7, 12, 13

Carriers: Lufthansa, United Airlines
Price: $505

Thoughts: A pretty exceptional fare for Munich, and made even better by the fact that you have the option between two airports and two carriers. I personally would choose Lufthansa over United, but that’s just me – you can’t go wrong with this price.

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $262

Thoughts: Don’t know how Norway in the winter is – I imagine it’s probably cold. What I do know, however, is that this is an exceptional price.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • December 8
  • January (2017) 19, 24, 26, 31
  • February (2017) 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: $1 more than last week. Guess this isn’t a good deal anymore (sarcasm).

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 15, 22, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $270

Thoughts: I’d be curious to see what flights between New York and Miami are going for during the winter. I bet this price would be competitive with those fares.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 31, 2016

This week was certainly a remarkable week in the world of Hump Day Fare Hacks. While eight of the 10 routes profiled last week remained, seven of those decreased in price (by an average of $8)! Furthermore, the one fare that didn’t go down remained at the incredibly low price of $269. I wouldn’t be rushing to hedge my bets that the prices will go down yet again, but — based on what we’ve already seen — it’s entirely possible. Either way, these are incredible, in my mind, and I’d highly recommend booking ASAP if you have ambitions of traveling to any of these destinations.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $304

Thoughts: A $32 decrease in price from last week. Makes this good deal even better.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 29, 30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $508

Thoughts: My prediction last week was that this deal won’t last. I was right: it actually got cheaper.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • October 11, 13, 17-20, 24
  • January (2017)  9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-30

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $583

Thoughts: A great deal, especially considering the number of available dates in the wintertime.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $327

Thoughts: If I’m correct, this is the cheapest that BOS-LGW has ever been. Yes, it’s the same sentence I used last week, but it’s still accurate — the price went down by $1.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 30 (return October 8)
  • October 17, 21 (return October 25, 20)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: Not only is this an insane price, but it’s crazy that the number of available dates has expanded from one to three.

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • November 30
  • December 2-5, 7, 9-12, 14

Carrier: Delta Air Lines
Price: $388

Thoughts: I’ve often spoken about the generally high prices on flights between the United States and Amsterdam. When I first saw this fare, I thought that there had to be a layover. Surprisingly, there isn’t!

 

Newark – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 14, 15, 27-30
  • October 1-3, 18-21, 24-28, 30, 31
  • November 1-15, 17, 18, 21, 23-30
  • December 1-8

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $791

Thoughts: Certainly not as cheap as the EWR-HKG flights from about a month back, but still an incredible deal, especially considering the available window of dates.

 

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2, 7

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $259

Thoughts: No elaboration necessary.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 19, 31

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $327

Thoughts: $1 off last week.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 22, 24, 27
  • March (2017) 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $268

Thoughts: The $2 price decrease on an already-low price would be even more impressive if the BOS-OSL flight wasn’t running for $259. Still, incredible.

Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 24, 2016

 

To give you a bit more insight into how I choose the deals for Hump Day Fare Hacks, I’ll start off by saying that these aren’t always the five cheapest intercontinental flights from Boston and New York. Instead, I look at current prices, and make a subjective judgement regarding which flights are the best “value.” This judgement is made given a number of factors, including the displayed price vs. normal price for that route, the distance of the route, the number of available dates, and the airline. So even though a Norwegian price, for example, might not be steeply discounted from the normal prices that Norwegian offers, the fact that its prices are significantly lower than many legacy carriers — whether the ticket is priced at a “normal” fare or “special” fare —  means that a number of Norwegian flights make their way into Hump Day Fare Hacks. And while I’m careful to not let this become a “list of Norwegian fares this week” sort of list, I do think it’s important to include them, as I’ve discovered that many people have no idea that you can fly to Europe for less than $300 round trip.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Copenhagen

Leave on:

  • October 11, 18 (return October 20, 27)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $336

Thoughts: A bit of a hike from last week, as well as a reduction of dates. Still a fantastic price.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 22, 24, 26-30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $525

Thoughts: A Lufthansa round trip for $525. Tickets on this route generally go well north of $800, so don’t expect this one to last.

 

Boston – Lisbon

Leave on:

  • September 12, 13, 19, 22, 27
  • October 4, 5, 10-24
  • January (2017) 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26-29

Carrier: TAP Portugal
Price: $585

Thoughts: I’d come to expect sub-$700 flights from TAP, but sub-$600 is well below market value, I think.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: If I’m correct, this is the cheapest that BOS-LGW has ever been.

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 26 (return October 4)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $286

Thoughts: Thinking that sub-$300 Norwegian flights might need to be excluded because they’re so commonplace. That said, many people still aren’t aware of how cheap transatlantic flights can be, so out the window goes that thinking.

 

NEW YORK

 

Newark – Brussels

Leave on:

  • November 22, 23, 25-30
  • December 1-14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $460

Thoughts: Is sub-$500 the “new normal” for flights to Brussels? Time will tell, but I’m not super optimistic. Either way, this is a very good deal.

 

New York JFK – Johannesburg

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 11-31
  • February (2017) 1-10, 12-17, 19-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-8, 13-16, 21-23, 27-30

Carrier: South African Airways
Price: $906

Thoughts: A pretty solid spread of dates (although winter flights from JNB to JFK usually feature a stop in Senegal).

 

New York JFK – Oslo

Leave on:

  • December 2
  • January (2017) 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23
  • March (2017) 2, 7, 9, 14

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $261

Thoughts: $261. $261. Move aside, Stockholm, there’s a new king of the week.

 

New York JFK – Paris

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 17, 26, 29, 31
  • February (2017) 2, 28

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $328

Thoughts: $328 for Paris is well below market price — even adjusted for “Norwegian deflation.”

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • November 25, 30
  • December 2
  • January (2017) 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $270

Thoughts: $12 less than last week. That statement in and of itself would be good; considering that it was $282 last week, this is even better.

Finding Cheap Flights is Easier Than You Think

This weekend, I traveled to Washington D.C. to visit a good friend from college, flying both BOS-DCA and DCA-BOS on American Airlines’ Airbus A319s. Both legs were rather uneventful as far as aviation milestones go, although I did get a pretty great view of the Friday evening sunset on the way down.

For my trip to Logan, I opened a ride sharing app and requested a ride. It must have been the quickest pickup I’ve ever had waiting for a ride: I saw the app confirm the driver, only to look up and see his van parked around 20 yards away. Apparently, he was driving down the street, received the request, saw me looking at my phone, and pulled over. It was a serendipitous and convenient encounter.

During the ride, my interest in finding cheap flights came up. I told him that I’ve flown four times for less than $100 round trip. Somewhere in there, he spoke of his desire to travel to his native Morocco with his family, but said that the flights were extremely expensive — a round trip from New York to Casablanca was well north of $1,300 for one adult.

“Well,” I said, “I was looking last week, and saw that flights to Casablanca from JFK are going for less than $1,000.”

“Really?” he asked.

“You bet,” I replied. “Let me check on my phone.” I had downloaded a third-party app that gave me access to the Google Flights interface, so I entered “JFK” and “CMN” and picked a pair of dates that I thought would be cheap: a pair of Wednesdays in December, well before Christmas. The result: a $790 direct flight on Royal Air Maroc.

When I told him of this price, he was pretty surprised. However, I knew in the back of my mind that an affordable flight from Boston — even if it wasn’t direct — would be even better than the option that I’d told him of.

“Let me see what I can get you from Boston,” I said. I plugged in BOS and CMN in, expecting to find something around the same price.

Lo and behold, it was even cheaper: a $681 round trip on TAP Portugal was available for a variety of dates in Fall 2016.

“That’s crazy!” he exclaimed when I told him of the price. After cautioning him that it would involve multi-hour layovers in Lisbon on both legs of the journey, to which he said was completely fine, I said that I’d be happy to pass along the itinerary to him if he’d provide his email, to which he eagerly obliged. In a matter of minutes, a pipe dream had become much closer to reality.

Knowledge is Power

Though this story might seem self-promotional or a “humble brag” of sorts, that’s not my intention at all. Rather, it’s to convey that flying can be much more affordable than many might think.

Despite naming my weekly blog series Hump Day Fare Hacks, I’m here to emphasize that what I do is not rocket science. Similarly, it is not anything that you cannot do. When I told a co-worker that I use Google Flights, which has an incredibly user-friendly interface and lists the schedules of pretty much every airline*, he jokingly asked me how I could be called an “expert at finding cheap flights” by fellow employees. (I’d like to stress that I did not give myself that title.) I replied that it’s not about using a tool that no one else has access to, but rather having unique knowledge such as:

  • Knowing what’s a good deal, rip-off, and normal price for a particular route.
  • Being aware of which airlines tend to run cheaper vs. more expensive in certain markets.
  • Keeping cognizant of price increases, fare classes, and other pertinent information.
What to Change

Many will go to an airline’s website, plug in the dates they want to travel on, and pick the first flight that they see. And while it might result in peace of mind because you’ve booked and paid for your trip earlier, reality is that you could save hundreds of dollars by scouring your options more comprehensively, checking a variety of dates, and looking at low-fare calendars. When I have a trip that I want to book, I usually experiment with a variety of dates, carriers, and trip lengths to see what will yield the best deal. And while I will usually pay extra for things like a window seat, I’ll usually take the 6 a.m. flight if it means that I’ll be saving $100 one way.

Certainly, flying has become much more affordable in the past decade. From increased competition and the emergence of low-cost carriers like jetBlue, to low fuel prices and increasingly efficient aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, there are a number of factors that have contributed to the falling prices of flights.

Regardless, it seems that many are still unaware of what a “normal price” for a flight on a certain route, not to mention a “good deal,” is — myself included. Before I started flying on a regular basis in 2014, I would have assumed that a BOS-PHL flight would go for $300+ round trip. In reality, there are a number of flights on that route for less than $200. If I myself have suffered from these misconceptions, I’m certain that there are many more out there just like me.

Bottom Line: Be an Educated Consumer

Much like buying a car, the best way to get a deal on a flight is to be an educated consumer. That means looking at a variety of travel websites, airlines, and repositories to see where the best deals are. Additionally — unless you’re on a strict schedule — it helps to experiment with a number of dates, flights, and seats. Considering that paying for a flight is, often times, a large financial investment, it’s surprising to see how many people who will simply book the first two dates that come to mind without realizing the savings they’re missing out on. There are a number of affordable, even cheap, flights out there if you know where to find them. Good news: it’s much easier than you think.

Note: * There are some carriers that don’t publish their fares on Google Flights, Southwest Airlines being one of them. That said, I’ve found some great deals on Southwest’s website, although such prices are usually exclusive to certain routes — email me if you want to know more about a particular city pairing.