Brexit Has Made Airfare to Britain Cheap, But You Have to Act Fast
Since Britain voted to leave the European Union at the end of June, interest in travel to the UK and Europe from the United States has skyrocketed.
Sales began to pick up speed last week, and flight prices from the United States to the UK are at their lowest point in three years, according to airfare prediction app Hopper.
Hopper saw a surge in search demand for flights to London and Edinburgh, with a spikes of more than 50 percent in June. British Airways saw even stronger demand, reporting 138 percent growth in searches for flights from the U.S. to the United Kingdom during the last week of June, when compared to earlier in the month. Overall, the carrier's site saw a 97 percent traffic increase.
Despite a saturated market, airlines lowered prices by as much as 15 percent to destinations across the United Kingdom and Europe. There are many sale fares available now, and the Airfare Spot also notes that Europe is a bargain. Flights from Boston and New York to Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and London are available for as little as $253 round-trip.
Even business class tickets are being discounted. British Airways is selling round-trip seats for two from New York to London and Manchester for $2,214 per person.
It’s a win-win for American travelers: In addition to fare sales, the British pound has fallen to a 30-year low, making the country more affordable than it’s been in decades. The value of the pound isn’t exclusively tied to more affordable flights, but negative news about Europe — from terrorism warnings to the migrant crisis — has made airlines more eager to appeal to travelers’ wallets.
“We think that Brexit may have been the final straw,” Hopper's chief data scientist Patrick Surry told Travel + Leisure. “Airlines are likely concerned that uncertainty and trepidation will reduce overall demand.”
However, Surry also said that British carriers like British Airways could be excluded from the European Open Skies Agreements if ties are officially cut between Britain and the European Union.
“Travelers have been enjoying the benefits of vigorous competition,” Surry said.
But a departure from the open skies agreement “would reduce competition in those markets,” he added, “exerting upward pricing pressure.”
So if you want a deal, buy your tickets now, before prices stabilize and eventually creep upward and beyond pre-Brexit fares.
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.