Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: How a 32-hour Christmas Day can save you money flying to LA
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
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 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 5 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...