It’s one of the most famous cities in the world and the capital of England. So popular that in 2019, almost 22 million people visited it. Yes, you guessed it, we’re talking about London. A city bursting with life, history, culture, fashion, and fun.
But first, you’ve got to get there, right? So, here we’re taking a look at some of the best airlines that to fly to London. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s hop to it!
London has four main airports you can fly into.
Let’s check those out first:
London has one international, inner-city airport aptly named City Airport. Passengers flying in and out of here tend to be from European destinations such as Frankfurt, Belfast, and Amsterdam. City Airport also has domestic flights to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Located to the west of the city, London Heathrow Airport is the capital’s largest airport and offers both international and domestic flights. It has five terminals, with Terminal 5 being its most recent and shiny addition.
Arrivals come from all over the globe, from around 180 destinations across 90 different airlines!
If you want to be literal about it, this airport actually sits in Sussex, a county to the south of London. However, it’s still considered a London airport and is one of the most popular airports to fly overseas. Flights land here from Europe, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and some US airports.
Again, technically, this smaller airport is in the county of Essex rather than London. You can fly here from many European and domestic destinations and from further afield such as Dubai, North Africa, Turkey, and Switzerland.
Who Should You Fly With?
Now we’ve covered where your flight might land, let’s check out some of our favorite international airlines that fly to London. Given there are tons of airlines flying into London, we’re going to tackle this review by looking at:
- The best airlines for points and miles
- The best budget airlines
- The best luxury airlines
- The best airlines flying in from the US
Best Airline for Points and Miles
Who doesn’t want to be rewarded for just choosing an airline and flying to London? It’s a great way of making your next journey more affordable or upgrading from economy to business or first class.
One popular choice is American Airlines which calls its loyalty points scheme AAdvantage. At the time of writing, the airline was due to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its loyalty scheme. First launched in 1981, it now boasts 67 million members across the globe.
London-bound travelers can fly into London Heathrow Airport from multiple US cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, and New York JFK Airport.
Another great choice is a UK airline, British Airways. For starters, it partners with American Airlines and at least ten other carriers, including Qantas and Cathay Pacific Airlines. This means you can transfer your points across and use them with their affiliated airlines.
Travelers to London can fly in with British Airways to all the London airports mentioned at the start of this review. Departure airports include domestic cities such as Edinburgh, European cities including Paris and Amsterdam, and continents including Africa and North America.
Best Budget Airlines
Depending on where you’re traveling from, you may want to find the cheapest fares so that you have more to spend in London’s finest bars, restaurants, galleries, and museums.
It’s fair to say that London is an expensive city. As a result, budget-conscious travelers may be more interested in landing, having spent as little as possible.
There are hundreds of budget airlines, but here’s our pick of the best that fly into London from different parts of the globe.
Norwegian Air International
Budget airline Norwegian Air International has been around since 2014. While it no longer flies from the US, it’s possible to reach London from several less far-flung destinations, including Israel, Italy, Poland, Sweden, France, Iceland, and Spain.
It’s impossible to say how much prices are because they change continuously. However, we can tell you that all flights land at London Gatwick airport.
Major American airline United Airlines also offers wallet-friendly fares to London from several US cities, including New York (JFK), Washington DC, Boston, and San Diego. Flights land at London Heathrow, and passengers can travel Economy, Business or First Class.
You can fly to London with Finnair from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington DC. This domestic and international airline has its HQ in Helsinki, Finland. Founded in 1923, it’s one of the oldest airlines in the world—fun fact: back then, it was then known as Aero.
Some flights offer economy, premium economy, and business seats, whereas others also provide a first-class option.
Several Things to Remember
Be flexible about your dates and departure times. You stand a much better chance of getting a better deal if you’re not rigid about this. Similarly, if you’re based in a big city with a choice of more than one airport, be flexible about which one you’re prepared to fly from. You could also mix it up and fly out of one airport and back into another; sometimes, this presents a cheaper option.
Also, flying during the middle of the week is always cheaper than on weekends. If you’re able to juggle your Monday to Friday work schedule around your flights, you’ll undoubtedly save money.
The same goes for flying off-season. Instead of heading to London when everyone else does (late Spring and Summer), consider going during the colder months. Just take a warm coat and an umbrella. The British weather is notoriously tricksy! Having said that, if you’re used to colder US winter climates, the London winter temperatures will be a breeze.
You could also consider not flying direct. Instead, you could change at one of the European hubs such as Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris, or Amsterdam. Suppose you’re not worried about getting to London at a set time or don’t mind hanging about another European airport first. In that case, this may help you to secure a cheaper ticket. You could even stop off for a few days in the city of your changeover airport for an extra dose of European culture.
Lastly, just remember that the initial price you see isn’t ever going to be the price you pay. Budget airlines have a notorious rap for adding on so-called “extras.” Most notably, checking-in luggage, take a carry-on bag on board, paying to sit together if you’re flying as a pair, etc.
Best Luxury Airline
Suppose budget flying isn’t your thing, and you’ve earned the cash to treat yourself. Why not spend some of your hard-earned money on a more comfortable, even luxurious airline?
If that sounds like you, here’s a look at our favorite choices for luxury airlines that fly to London.
In no particular order:
Why? We’ve all seen Jennifer Aniston in their ads walking upstairs to First Class, but how does Emirates really stand up to scrutiny?
You can fly first class with their A380 or Boeing 777 and feel like you’re in your very own hotel room.
- There’s a la carte fine dining any time you like
- There’s an onboard shower spa with Emirates Private Collection Bvlgari amenity kits.
- There’s a luxury bar you can walk to at any time.
Also included are privacy doors, ambient lighting, soft leather seating that stretches out to a fully flat bed, and gorgeous sheets to sleep in. Best of all, the cabin crew makes up your bed for you. Finally, you have your own private cinema with a flat-screen and a choice of movies and TV shows.
With an excellent reputation for their first-class service, you know you’re in safe hands with this international airline. You’ll enjoy 600 thread count bed linen on full-length beds, soft pillows, and a calming pillow mist. Rest assured, you’re bound to sleep your way to London, fresh for some sightseeing. The first-class suites can also be reconfigured into a working space, with privacy doors, in-seat power, and free WiFi.
You’re also treated to a la carte dining made complete with ethical and sustainable ingredients and vintage wines. Plus, you get access to state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment on an 18.5 inch HD screen with noise-canceling headphones. Choose from TV boxsets to binge on or dive into the latest Hollywood hits.
No review of luxury airlines is complete without Etihad and its A380 aircraft. There’s an inflight chef to prepare meals for you, or you can mix up what’s on the menu to suit your own tastes and dietary needs. There’s also a boutique wine list and wine pairing. Your seat pulls out into a full-length bed, and again it’s prepared for you by the crew when you’re ready to get some rest. The WiFi’s free, and you receive a gorgeous smelling Acqua di Parma amenity kit. This includes cologne, an eye mask, socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and the crew can provide a shaving kit should you need one.
You can get to London via several routes with Etihad, including JFK, from which you can book a truly sumptuous experience, the Etihad Residence. This is the airline’s most premium package, with three separate rooms: a bedroom with a 6ft 10” bed, a shower room, and a living room. Heady stuff!
The French airline likes to call its first-class option La Première, run in its A380 and 777-300ER. Your first-class cabin seat pulls out into a 6ft 5” bed, complete with a memory foam mattress, fluffy duvet, and soft pillows. You also get your own cloakroom storage space and a touchscreen entertainment service from which you can access music, TV shows, and movies.
All our favorite luxury airlines also provide access to their first-class lounges at your departure airport and chauffeur-driven cars to get you to the airport. However, it was unclear if these services were still be provided at the time of writing due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Best Airlines from the US
Flying to London from the US is simple. So many of the airports in the US’s major cities can get you to London, including LA, New York, Washington, Boston, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.
While this list isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, here’s our take on the best airlines to use from the US, bearing in mind that each airline has its own destination list. Some may not fly from all the departure points we’ve mentioned so far, so it’s always worth checking first.
With more than 160 million customers using Delta Airlines each year, it’s safe they’re a firm favorite with travelers to many destinations, including London. Delta calls London “one of the world’s hippest locations.” You can hop on one of their flights from several US departure points, including New York airports like Newark, JFK, and La Guardia, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, and airports in the Washington area such as Dulles and Reagan.
There are five categories of seats to choose from: Delta One®, First, Premium Select, Delta Comfort®, and the Main Cabin.
This 90 year+ old airline has a significant number of routes for passengers to choose from in terms of departure cities: Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Austin, Miami, Phoenix, New York JFK, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Philadelphia.
The pandemic has clearly caused havoc for the travel industry, and American Airlines are no exception. The carrier canceled dozens of flights to the UK capital from December 2020 during the holiday season. Having said that, a quick check on their website showed that flights appeared to be largely back up and running and landing at London Heathrow. In fact, it’s the second-largest airline at Heathrow airport.
Virgin Atlantic has always been popular with international travelers. Its website offers up some great things you can do while you’re in London. Of course, there’s the traditional old-school sightseeing – museum visits, British Royal family palaces, and events like the changing of the guard. Alternatively, there’s the hipper stuff like London’s markets (Brick Lane, Portobello Road, and Greenwich). Virgin Atlantic also suggests foodie and beer-related activities, so no one has to go hungry or thirsty after all that sightseeing and shopping!
US departure points include Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Miami.
Like Delta, there are five categories of seats to choose from: Economy Light, where your seat is allocated at check-in, Economy Classic, Economy Delight, Premium, and First Class.
We can’t talk about London flights without mentioning perhaps the UK’s most famous airline. With its own state-of-the-art terminal at Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5), the airline has a long history of flying to London from the US (and back, of course!).
Departure points from US cities include Los Angeles (LAX), New York airports (JFK and Newark), Boston, Washington airports (Baltimore and Dulles), and Seattle.
There are five flight classes, and these are called: Euro Traveller (sic), World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club Europe, Club World, and First.
Answer: Cheapflights.com says that the most cost-effective time to purchase a flight to London is between September and October. That said, you’re also likely to find decent deals between November to December 12.
Answer: Apparently, the average cost of a weeks trip to London is:
$2,002 for solo travelers
$3,596 for a couple
$6,741 for a family vacation
Typically, the cost of a hotel ranges from $77 to $351 per night.
Answer: Studies show that booking your flight 23 weeks in advance is the best time to book.
Answer: Below are just some of the American cities you can fly directly to London from:
New York (JFK)
…to name a few!
Answer: If you’re flying into London as a US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, or South African citizen, no visa is necessary.
Before We Take Off
So there you have it, our comprehensive guide on the best airlines to use when flying to London. While we can’t possibly cover every departure or destination point, we hope this has given you a flavor of which airlines to look out for, depending on your budget and where you live.
Airlines have taken significant steps to reassure passengers about their pandemic-related measures. At the time of writing, things are beginning to look hopeful for intrepid international travelers and digital nomads.
Good luck finding your flights to London; please tell us your stories and adventures in the comments box below. We look forward to hearing your traveler’s tales. Happy flying!