Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: I would like to fly from Adelaide to Heathrow, what are my options?
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.
Wednesday 10 April 2013
Q. I am visiting a friend in Adelaide in February 2014. I have booked the outbound flight (to Sydney) in business class with BA using all of my Avios. He is meeting me in Sydney for a couple of nights before we fly on to Adelaide. I have yet to book my return. However I have had a quick look and Malaysia and Singapore Airlines from Adelaide to Heathrow look to be my best option. These both have stopovers in Asia which is fine with me. Any comments or advice would be welcome.
Gary Crump, Evesham
A. You might not thank me for this advice – but it is probably best to cancel the Avios booking and take the £25 hit this involves. Then book a return trip to Adelaide (via Sydney if you like) with cash. It will save you money, and leave you with your frequent-flyer points intact.
One-way fares from Australia to the UK are way out of line from those in the other direction. An Adelaide-London one-way cost about the same as a UK-Australia return trip. The reason: the strong A$, and the buoyant economy, mean that international passengers from Australia will tolerate much higher fares than the UK market.
Looking at the dates you have in mind: in economy the one-way Adelaide-London fare is around £1,000, with plenty of return deals from London for roughly the same price.
In business class, the price advantage turns even more favourably to the UK-originating passenger. A return from the UK is typically £4,000 return, compared with £5,000 one way from Australia. Add in the £300 or more that Avios will have charged you in “taxes” to avail yourself of the “free” flight, and paying the £25 cancellation fee doesn’t seem so bad.
Don’t feel obliged to book immediately. The airlines are likely to have seat sales in the autumn or early winter, at which point you can pick the best deal around. Fares for round-trips from London to Australia in February are unlikely to go up significantly before the end of January.
One more suggestion: you might want to organise a round-the-world trip to make the most of the stopover opportunities; you could build in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Again, in business class it would cost less than a one-way trip from Adelaide to London.
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