Best Time To Buy Tickets To London (Save 20%+)

Booking London flights 6-8 weeks in advance typically offers the lowest fares, with average ticket prices hitting a sweet spot of around 20% cheaper than peak season according to historical fare data – aim for traveling in the spring or fall. Flying midweek on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday can yield huge savings compared to coveted Friday and weekend departures to London – up to $300 less per ticket for the same route based on 2022 fare analytics. Finally, be flexible with your departure airport, considering options within a few hours’ drive that offer budget airline routes to London for hundreds less than major hubs – flying from a big city almost always means paying a big city premium.

Planning a trip to London can be exciting, but the cost of flights can be daunting. With some strategic planning around when you purchase tickets, you can save substantially on airfare.

This comprehensive guide examines the best times to buy plane tickets to London, relevant data, and tips to score deals.

We’ll explore factors like time of year, day of the week, time before travel, and more so you can make informed decisions to keep more pounds in your pocket.

Peak vs Off-Peak Travel Times

One of the biggest considerations when buying London airfare is peak versus off-peak travel times. Peak season for London travel typically runs from June through August.

This is when good weather brings hordes of tourists, demand surges, and prices follow. July and August tend to have the most expensive airfare.

You’ll find the best deals traveling in the off-peak seasons of late winter and early spring. March and April are excellent times with fewer tourists, lower demand, and you can save hundreds on flights.

Aim for Shoulder Seasons

If your schedule allows, target London’s shoulder seasons for savings. In the fall, late September to mid-December prices are lower once summer crowds taper off.

Airfare drops again in January and February during the off-peak winter season. The weather isn’t ideal, but hotel rates and flights are much cheaper.

Pay attention to the weeks right before and after peak summer too.

Late May/early June and September can have good airfare before prices spike for summer.

Book Early

Booking London flights several months in advance almost always results in the lowest fares, particularly during peak summer travel. For a June trip, you’ll find the best prices booking in January or February.

Prices will incrementally increase the closer you get to departure as demand rises and availability decreases.

Aim to book at least two months early if possible, more for summer trips. Last minute booking rarely yields deals across the pond due to high demand.

Be Flexible

If your travel dates are flexible, keep an eye out for airfare sales and shift your dates accordingly. Sign up for email alerts from carriers and flight search engines.

Off-peak season flights already have lower fares, and sales push prices even lower. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic run regular sales. Being flexible on departure airport can also help score deals.

Sometimes flying out of an alternate airport like Washington DC instead of New York can provide major savings, even after adding train/bus tickets.

Consider flying mid-week too – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays often have better fares than high-demand Fridays and Sundays.

Check prices multiple times

Airfares fluctuate often, meaning prices can change day to day and even hour to hour. Set price alerts and check back frequently when planning your purchase.

Use historical fare trend data from search engines like Kayak to understand when prices for your dates were cheapest and are likely to drop again.

If possible, don’t book the first time you search. Check a few days later at different times to observe fluctuations and look for dips in pricing.

Leverage miles and points

Booking award flights by leveraging airline miles and credit card points can drastically reduce costs. Off-peak flights that are already several hundred dollars cheaper can essentially be had for the cost of taxes and fees.

Even during busy summer, using points for flights can still represent huge value. Work on accumulating credit card rewards and airline miles to exchange for free or discounted plane tickets.

Sign-up bonuses from travel rewards credit cards can quickly help you pile up tens of thousands of points.

Understand airfare classes

Airlines offer different airfare classes at varying prices depending on perks and restrictions. Basic Economy class is usually the cheapest with a lower-tier experience.

Premium Economy class costs more but offers upgraded amenities and comfort. Understand differences between fare classes across airlines and don’t overpay for features you may not really need.

However, some Premium Economy perks like extra legroom, lounge access or priority boarding may be worthwhile if they make a long flight more enjoyable.

Use low-cost carriers 

Low-cost carriers (LCCs) like Norwegian and WOW offer cheaper nonstop transatlantic flights to London from select cities year-round.

Fares may have lots of restrictions and extra fees, but base pricing is substantially discounted from major carriers. Though some LCCs have folded recently, others have absorbed discarded routes.

Just be aware of potential complications like aircraft changes or cancelled flights which can happen more often. Always review airline quality ratings before booking lesser known discount airlines.

Check Google Flights Explore tool

For flexible travelers, Google’s flight search Explore tool can surface some amazingly cheap London flights. You input your departure airport and dates then leave destination blank.

Their algorithm returns a map of lowest priced flight options across Europe.

Sometimes London comes up surprisingly inexpensive depending on promotions and availability. It allows you to easily spot abnormally low fares you may otherwise miss.

Don’t Forget About Taxes and Fees 

The advertised price isn’t all you’ll pay. Remember to account for taxes, fees, baggage when comparing airfares. Fuel surcharges and departure taxes can really impact transatlantic flights in particular.

British Airways is notorious for egregious fees driving up true ticket cost far beyond the headline price. Make sure to click through to view full fare details before purchasing.

Some budget airlines like RyanAir advertise impossibly cheap fares then sock you with fees pushing cost back up. Read the fine print!

Track prices with apps

There are some excellent apps to track airfare and predict best time to buy.

Hopper, an intuitive prediction app, monitors billions of prices daily then advises when to book based on historical data and projected fluctuations.

It tells you to pull the trigger on a good fare or wait if it expects the route to get cheaper. Other useful apps include Skiplagged, Flyr and Kayak price alerts.

Leveraging technology removes some of the guesswork on when to commit to a fare.

Vary your departure airport

Sometimes flying out of a nearby airport alternative saves hundreds. An American flying out of Toronto to London can save big because the route has far more competition.

Plus the hassle of taking a train or bus to Toronto before the flight can be worth it to keep extra cash for exploring London.

The nearest major airport isn’t necessarily the cheapest. Expand your options within reasonable vicinity for deals.

Shop on Sundays

Historically airfares dip by about 5% percent on Sundays as airlines roll out discounted seats for last minute buying before departure.

It’s worth comparing prices on Sundays versus midweeks when hunting for a good fare. Just plug potential dates into Google Flights or Kayak to view their variation day by day.

Some caveats – this Sunday effect used to be more pronounced prior to extensive LCC route competition and shifts may happen earlier now, especially for international flights.

Consider open jaw tickets

These specialized fares allow you to fly into one city and out of another. London has so many airports so you could save substantially flying open jaw with budget airline Norwegian between New York and London Gatwick then returning from Paris on Delta.

Mix and match inbound and outbound cities on low cost and major carriers. Many variations can provide big discounts while still getting you overseas.

Explore open jaw tickets on or when searching London options.

Don’t Limit to Heathrow

London actually has 6 airports, the largest 2 being Heathrow and Gatwick. Most travelers just reflexively search flights to Heathrow though nearby London Gatwick often has far cheaper nonstop options particularly on discount carriers.

Gatwick serves similar destinations and public transport makes it easily accessible to central London in under an hour for only 5-15 pounds.

Unless you need Heathrow specifically, always check pricing to London Gatwick on low-cost airlines as the savings is often substantial. 

Go Overland

If you’re planning extensive European travel before or after London, consider overland transport by train or bus rather than pricier direct flights.

Trains and buses service London seamlessly from all over Europe. Though the journey is longer, overland transport may be faster and cheaper door-to-door than flying with ancillary airport time factored.

With budget bus companies like FlixBus, trips cost as little as 10-15 Euros each way connecting London to major hubs like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne and dozens more. Worth pricing out as an alternative to say Paris-London flights.

Things To Consider Before Buying

When considering buying tickets to London, there are several factors to keep in mind to make an informed decision and potentially save on your travel expenses. Here are some user-friendly tips based on the provided information:

1. Early Booking for Attractions

It is highly recommended to book tickets for London attractions as early as possible to secure the best deals and avoid potential price increases.

2. Consider Attraction Passes

Evaluate the benefits of London attraction passes, such as the London Pass, which can provide access to multiple attractions and help with budgeting for your trip.

3. Theatre Tickets

When purchasing theatre tickets, consider booking online, finding the latest deals, and visiting the London TKTS booth for potential discounts.

4. Flexible Travel Dates

Flexibility in travel dates can significantly impact the cost of flights. For example, the cheapest time to book a flight to London is at least 13 days in advance, with potential savings of up to $820.

5. Membership and Discount Programs

Explore membership and discount programs offered by airlines, such as Volaris’ and v.pass, to access exclusive deals and save on airfare.

By considering these factors, such as early booking for attractions, attraction passes, flexible travel dates, and membership programs, travelers can make well-informed decisions and potentially save on their overall travel expenses when purchasing tickets to London.


Strategically planning when you book flights to London can help unlock significant savings, especially during high season.

Focus on traveling London during off-peak shoulder seasons, book early, remain flexible on dates/airports, leverage miles for awards, choose budget airlines selectively and utilize technology to monitor fares over time.

Employ some of the data-backed tips in this guide to keep more pounds in your pocket for enjoying London rather than draining your budget on expensive airfare costs.

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