How to Find
Cheap Flights To England

Looking at the number of airports dotting the country, and the number of airlines advertising in the media, you may be excused for thinking that if it has wings, it will fly to England!

But for the traveller, this bevy of flights is actually a boon.

It means you can find cheap flights to England quite easily, especially when you are coming from another European country.

Across Europe, many small budget airlines now offer extremely competitively priced tickets, especially for the flexible traveller. In addition, you may be able to take advantage of seats on charter flights.

If you're travelling to England from further away, then your plane ticket may eat up a large chunk of your travel money. So for all of you from Oz, New Zealand or across the pond finding cheap flights to England is even more important.

So here are some things to consider when trying to find cheap flights to England:

Should you use a travel agent?

Travel agents, especially those specialising in England travel, can be very helpful in finding cheap flights to England. If you need to fly on a specific date or want to use a specific airline, they can often be a good bet.

If you're flexible in your arrangements, and you have the time and patience, you can find really good deals yourself using the internet. (Their time and patience is what you're paying the agent for, after all!)

One site worth investigating is Skyscanner. I find them particularly competitive for European flights. There's no single 'catch all' way to find the best deal, but here are a few other pointers to help you:

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Flights to England - When to Fly

Some times are busier (and more expensive) than others. Christmas and the New Year, Easter, July and August, Bank Holiday weekends and the school holidays are just some of these. If you're flexible in your travel plans and can avoid these dates, then you'll save yourself a packet without having to try very hard.

Besides, during Christmas and Easter break the major airports turn into a veritable zoo, so travelling is not only expensive, but also stressful and frustrating. Flying midweek, particularly on Tuesdays, seems to be a good bet, too.

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Flights to England - Where to Fly To

Which airport you use to arrive in England can have a significant impact on the price of your flight. The large, prestigious (read expensive) airlines tend to use England's largest and busiest airports: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham International.

But these are not the only entry-points into the country. Smaller regional airports offer charter flights from all over Europe and some destinations further away. These are definitely worth checking out. If you want to visit the North of England, why not look for flights to Newcastle or East Midlands? Or check out flights to Bristol for destinations in the west of England.

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Flights to England - Airlines

For a long time, British Airways was the English airline. That's no longer true, of course, and more recently BA has acquired a reputation for being overpriced and not very helpful. But the few times I've flown with them, I've been very happy with their service and the friendliness of their staff. Maybe - as with many things in life - it's the luck of the draw. BA is by no means the cheapest airline into or out of England, but it has an extensive timetable and an even more extensive list of destinations it services. So if you live a bit out of the way, or need to fly at a certain time and day, check out BA.

Virgin Atlantic is almost as well-known as BA, due largely to its flamboyant boss, Richard Branson. I've never flown with Virgin, but my other experiences of Branson's Empire have been very positive. Usually, people working for the Virgin brand pride themselves on their excellent customer service. And that can only be a good thing.

Virgin is now partnered with Singapore Air, connecting south-east Asia with many locations in Europe.

Emirates Airlines have an excellent reputation for service and comfort. (They have very beautiful TV ads, too!) Colleagues of mine who have used them tell me that ticket prices can be very competitive. Emirates fly from a number of English airports and when I did a little experiment with tickets between Christchurch, New Zealand and Newcastle in England, the price varied between £966 (returning on a Sunday or Monday) and £7535 (returning on Saturday)! .... Seems that Emirates can be a very good bet if you can be flexible in your arrangements.

American Airlines and Continental Airlines are the largest airlines flying to the Americas. American Airlines are planning to partner BA. They've tried this before and failed, as a merger or partnership would give the two companies too much of a competitive advantage. I've no idea if the attempt will succeed, but if it does ticket prices between England and the US could be set to rise.

There are - of course - many more large airlines flying to London. BMI, Quantas, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM and Iceland Air to name but a few. In fact, there are probably very few airlines who do not fly to England at all. Checking prices and tickets at each airline individually can be a lengthy job. But by using a cheap flight search engine, you can find some really cheap flights to England!

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Flights to England - The Best Budget Airlines

Budget airlines have revolutionised air travel. Their no-frills approach keeps prices down and means that you only pay for the services you use. No need to wrestle with a plastic tray of food if you only have a two-hour flight and had lunch before boarding.

Budget airlines are ideal if you're travelling to England from Europe. They're also good value for domestic flights. Ticket prices are extremely low, but you are expected to pay for almost all things you usually take for granted, such as manual check-in, checking in luggage, food and drink on the flight and in-flight entertainment. If you fly light and don't mind the lack of luxury, you may be on to a decent saving with a budget airline.

Equally, they're very useful if you find a great long-haul deal to another European city, but then need a hop across the channel.

Budget airlines may be lacking luxury, but I've never found them lacking in courtesy or service. They're used to fly large numbers of passengers between popular holiday destination, with very short turnaround times between flights. But Ryanair and EasyJet - the two we tend to use most often - still manage to have very helpful friendly staff!

Here's a list of the better-known budget airlines flying to/from England. (all the links will open in a new window):

  • Ryanair - headache inducing website, but excellent fares and loads of special offers. I have this one permanently bookmarked and it's often the first website I check when I need to get somewhere in a hurry.

  • EasyJet - the other budget airline we use a lot. Fares become more expensive the closer it comes to the departure date ... so if you want extra cheap seats (and sometimes they're even "FREE PLUS TAXES"!) then make sure you check them out early.

  • Germanwings - for flights from Stanstead to many locations in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Eastern Europe

  • Flybe - from almost every airport in England to almost all airports in Europe!

  • Air Southwest - this airline specialises in competitively priced domestic flights to and from the west of England. Often far cheaper than a train ticket.

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Other Travel Options

If all you can find is a cheap flight to somewhere in Europe, and none of the budget airlines can help you, could could also make your way to England by rail or coach. Eurostar offers services from Germany, Belgium and France straight into London St Pancras.

And if you've landed in England, but at an airport at the other end of the country from where you want to be? No problems.

British Rail offers connections across the country. Tickets can be bought online at The Trainline. Tickets are cheaper if you can buy online, and cheaper still if you have some flexibility in your travel dates and routes.

If trains don't do it for you, National Express runs coaches to almost every corner of England. And their fares are very reasonable.

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