British Airways: The World Is On Sale (UK)

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British Airways has announced its latest “world sale” for departures from the UK. The sale starts from today (17 December 2016) and runs all the way through to midnight on 2 February 2016.

The travel dates when sale prices are valid will depend on your destination so the easiest way to see when the cheaper fares are available is to use the Low Price Finder Tool on

Virgin Atlantic started their sale over a week ago and, interestingly, British Airways seem to be offering considerably better prices. I’ve put the Virgin Atlantic sale prices in brackets to allow you to compare the two.

All the sale fares can be found on the British Airways World On Sale page here but I’ve picked out a few headlines below:

Headline Sale Prices

USA & Canada

Economy (all prices are from round trip travel)

  • New York – From £362 (Virgin Atlantic From £498)
  • Boston – From £400 (From £509)
  • Orlando – From £424 (From £469)
  • Chicago – From £507 (From £641)
  • San Francisco – From £533 (From £578)
  • Los Angeles – From £434 (From £558)

I’m not a big one for economy class travel (although thanks to the AAdvantage devaluation I think I’ll be doing a lot more of it!) but some of those fares look pretty good to me. New York from £362 and Los Angeles from £434 are pretty tempting.

The dates that these fares are available aren’t too terrible either:


Premium Economy

  • Toronto – From £710 (n/a with Virgin Atlantic)
  • New York – From £822 (From £919)
  • Boston – From £714 (From £919)
  • Miami – From £872 (From £904)
  • Chicago – From £822 (From £1,013)

Business Class

  • Toronto – From £1,308 (n/a with Virgin Atlantic)
  • New York – From £1,391 (From £2,029)
  • Boston – From £1,408 (From £2,049)
  • Miami – From £1,533 (From £2,199)
  • Chicago – From £1,413 (From £2,029)

There are some very good prices in that list (bearing in mind this is for travel from the high-tax UK) but the prices don’t really tell the full story. Yes, those prices are available but the dates they’re available for aren’t that spectacular – the price jumps pretty steeply for some months.


And the prices to the West Coast are  poor compared to some deals still available ex-Europe.


Nevertheless, for Business Class flights departing the UK, Toronto for £1,308 and New York from £1,391 are very good fares indeed.  And the British Airways prices absolutely trounce what Virgin Atlantic are offering.


Economy (all prices are from round trip travel)

  • Cancun – From £478 (Virgin Atlantic From £530)
  • Antigua – From £495 (From £529)
  • Barbados – From £495 (From £519)
  • Tobago – From £495 (From £530)

Premium Economy

  • Cancun – From £846 (n/a with Virgin Atlantic)
  • Antigua – From £807 (From £799)
  • Barbados – From £808 (From £829)
  • Tobago – From £807 (From £900)

I expected the lower fares to be limited to the Hurricane season months but, as I found out, when I searched, there isn’t too much variation in sale fares throughout the year.


Business Class

  • Cancun – From £1,485 (n/a with Virgin Atlantic)
  • Antigua – From £1,695 (From £1,809)
  • Barbados – From £1,692 (From £1,789)
  • Tobago – From £1,691 (From £1,750)

Once again British Airways beats out Virgin Atlantic reasonably comfortably but, while these aren’t bad prices at all, I’d still check the ex-Europe fares before booking any of these – I’ve definitely seen prices a lot cheaper than these if you’re prepared to take a positioning flight.

Other Destinations Of Note

Economy (all prices are from round trip travel)

  • Hong Kong – From £485
  • Tokyo – From £509
  • Singapore – From £572
  • Johannesburg – From £596
  • Cape Town – From £700
  • Sydney – From £802

The Hong Kong fare at £485 looks very tempting (especially when Cathay Pacific are charging £678 for travel in the same period) but it’s probably worth noting that the best  it’s only available in May and December 2016.


Premium Economy

  • Hong Kong – From £925
  • Tokyo – From £969
  • Singapore – From £1,230
  • Johannesburg – From £1,519
  • Cape Town – From £1,593
  • Sydney – From £1,910

Premium Economy fares to Hong Kong and Tokyo aren’t too bad but I’d probably avoid all the others. Singapore at £1,230 is a terrible deal when you consider that I’ve seen ex-Europe Business Class fares for a lot less than that in 2015.

Business Class

  • Hong Kong – From £2,403
  • Tokyo – From £2,033
  • Singapore – From £2,460
  • Johannesburg – From £2,714
  • Cape Town – From £3,075
  • Sydney – From £4,316

It’s hard to find anything  good to say about these fares. Earlier this year, on 4 separate occasions, we’ve seen Hong Kong Business Class fares from Germany at less than half what the ex-UK sale price is right now so I couldn’t, in all good conscience, say that people should consider this as a deal.

There are a lot of other destinations on sale, the above are just a taster. Head on over to the British Airways Sale page for full details as well as the terms and conditions of the sale.

Bottom Line

Some of the sale fares on offer really are good deals (New York in Economy/Business, Hong Kong Economy etc..) while some are simply terrible and shouldn’t constitute a sale fare in the first place.

I’m impressed with just how comprehensively British Airways have undercut Virgin Atlantic’s sale fares – in most markets the prices aren’t really that close and you can save a lot by choosing BA over Virgin (especially if you multiply up the difference in prices when families are traveling).

I’m still a big fan of booking premium fares out of Europe but I fully understand why that wouldn’t work or be practical for a lot of people. So, if you’re a UK captive, some of the Business Class fares to the US are pretty attractive and you should probably consider them closely if you’re looking to try out BA’s Club World cabin.

Outside of the US Business Class fares I think there’s more value to be had out of the better Economy Class fares (New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Boston) and a couple of the Premium Economy fares than there is out of the Business Class fares. But then that’s just my opinion :).