Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: How a 32-hour Christmas Day can save you money flying to LA
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 04 March 2013
Q. I want to go to Los Angeles over Christmas and New Year but flights are so expensive. When can I bag a good deal?
Peter May, Romford
A. Top marks for planning ahead, but as you have you discovered, fares to the US West Coast are already painfully high for the end of the year. It’s a consequence of transatlantic airlines cutting down on capacity but demand remaining strong. As a result, everyone is paying more.
The low-season sub-£500 prices for a London-Los Angeles return are drying up, partly as a result of the merger between US Airways and American Airlines. US Airways has long undercut the rest of the market with one-stop flights from Gatwick via North Carolina. Even in November, the lowest of seasons, the cheapest fare at present is £550 return (though there may be “specials” nearer the time).
At the strongest peak of the year, travelling out before Christmas and back after New Year, fares are currently in the mid-£850s for British and US carriers offering non-stop flights. However, there are seats at £780 return from Heathrow on Air New Zealand, which flies daily to LA en route to Auckland. That price will only increase, so if your plans are settled then you should book now.
To make a serious dent in the fare – and reduce it to low-season levels – there’s a simple solution. Fly out to California on Christmas Day, and back overnight on New Year’s Eve. Air NZ has a fare of just £550 return on those dates. These departures are always less popular; long-haul airlines cannot simply cancel them, because (for example) the 31 December departure from LA is needed in London to fly New Zealanders home on New Year’s Day. And looking on the bright side: going west, the time change will stretch your Christmas Day to 32 hours.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 50 Best spas
Thailand tourism video Love En Route criticised for featuring Instagram stalker
Luggage: The journey from canvas rucksacks to carry-on capsules
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best hiking boots
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...
£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...