Q. Three adults, one child, non-stop to Los Angeles from London, flying 5-18 April 2014, which is over Easter. We must travel on these dates due to school holidays. When should we book?
A. Fares to California are likely only to rise for flights over the school holidays. So if you can stump up the cash, book now. Non-stop fares on the top contenders for your cash all look very similar: the total for your party if you book now will be around £3,000.
Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic are excellent airlines and well worth considering. But also check ba.com for the best American Airlines/British Airways combination for those dates - which look like American flying out, BA home. American's new Boeing 777s are well kitted out for the 12-hour-plus flight. Coming back, if you choose the BA268 departure, you will be aboard BA's new Airbus A380, which promises to be a cut above the old 747 service. (Incidentally, the EU rules on delays and cancellations will apply both legs of the trip: all departures from EU airports are covered, and BA customers are covered on flights back to Europe as well.)
Before you book, call a couple of agents - such as Dial A Flight and Trailfinders. They may be able to offer good deals on flights plus car rental and some or all of your accommodation. You may even be able to pay just a deposit for the flights, with the balance later, to help your cash flow.
The other essential: given the long lead time before you depart, take out good insurance with sufficient cancellation provision at the same time as you pay. Much can happen in the course of a year.
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