One of the first and most important tasks to organise when you’ve decided to move abroad is to make it official and purchase that flight. Once you have secured your seat on a plane, you know it’s on and the planning can really begin!
Whether you’re buying a one-way ticket or a return, there are a number of options available. If you have any frequent flyer points then this is a good time to use them. If you see any Early Bird specials, grab them while you can. If you leave it a bit late, it can get a bit trickier but there are still relatively cheap ways of going around it if you’re prepared to put some research into it.
When to book flights?
Ideally, you should start looking at booking your flights around six months before your departure date. The later you leave it, the more expensive it will get. Keep an eye out for any good sales that come around and if possible, try to be a bit flexible as you will be more likely to get a cheaper price if you’re able to play around with the dates a little.
How long is the flight time?
Your average flight from Australia to London is about 22-24 hours, depending on where you depart and where you transit.
Melbourne to Singapore takes just under 8 hours, and Singapore to London is just under 14 hours flying time. When you take into account the transit and check-in times, your total travel time adds up pretty quickly, and anything under the 30 hour mark is quite standard.
To find out how long it will take you to travel from your destination, take a look at this calculator. http://www.flight-durations.com/
Travel Agent vs. Online
95% of the time, purchasing your tickets directly through the airline will save you money as you won’t be paying any commissions to a travel agent. On the downside, you have to do all the research and booking yourself.
If you prefer to leave it up to someone else and you’re prepared to pay a little more to take the stress away, then I recommend that you book through a travel agent.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re trying to cut costs where possible, are happy to do a bit of research and put in some extra time, then just go for it! It’s so easy to do it yourself and you will have full control over everything – from selecting your favourite seat to choosing how long your stop over will be.
One Way vs. Return
You will find that most of the time, it costs almost the same (sometimes less) to purchase a return ticket rather than a one-way.
Airlines always have specials on return long-haul flights but they never seem to apply to one-way tickets, so you’re most likely to save more money by buying a return flight and it will give you a good excuse to come back and visit home. Most flights will require you to return within 12 months of your departure date.
Although, if you manage to find a cheap one-way ticket then I’d say go for it! There’s something so much more final about buying a one-way flight, like you’re flying off into the unknown and don’t know when you’re coming back. It’s a surreal but exciting feeling.
Airlines seem to be getting stricter with their baggage allowances on what seems like a weekly basis! It’s getting much harder to get away with having a few extra kilo’s packed in your bags without having to pay an arm and a leg for them. If you have a lot of luggage that you must take with you, don’t forget to check the terms and conditions around your luggage limits before you purchase your tickets. You may find that it can even work out cheaper to fly business class, which often gives you double the baggage allowance per ticket.
If you’re a little indecisive like me and leave it a bit late, there’s still hope to get a decently priced ticket however it can get a little fiddlier, so be prepared. I found there to be a huge connection with high priced tickets and taxes for all flights leaving Australia and arriving in London. However, when I separated the flight in half – Australia to Asia then Asia to London, the prices more than halved. Now I’m not sure if this is due to lower taxes or just increased competition between more carriers, but either way it seems to work so start investigating and get some online quotes.
For a one-way flight that I would have normally paid over $1800 for, I bought for $800.
Sounds too good to be true? Not entirely. The down side to booking your flights this way is that you have to allow enough time to get through customs, collect your luggage, and re-check in to your next flight (as apposed to having an easy connecting flight that doesn’t require this). Remember that to do this, you may also require a visa.
You could really just see this as a blessing in disguise and rather than limiting yourself to a short transit of a few hours, book a 48 hour stopover and go and explore the city that you’re in. Since you’re already there, it’s almost like a free holiday!
To check out the most popular transit locations for Australia to London flights, please refer to the Transits page, which gives you all the information that you need to have a successful and relaxing stopover.
Arriving in London
Please visit my Airport Guide page for more information on your arrival in London.