a VirtualTourist member
I plan to go to Bratislava in February. On the days that I am looking to travel, I can get a return flight from London Stansted for £57.98 (£28.99 each way) including all taxes and fees with hand luggage. For anyone that travels there regularly, is this is good price or are there usually better offers for that time of the year if I wait? Thank you.
I would grab that ticket while you still can!! What is 60 pounds these days. I checked several dates with Skyscanner and i see nothing cheaper. I assume you are taking the Ryanair flight.
It is that one indeed :-) I've looked on and off for the last couple of months and the price always seems to have been £28.99 or £33.99 each way which is why I wasn't sure if it was a good price for that destination or not and if they were likely to have an offer on in the next few weeks for less like the £16.99 ones they have to other places. The flight flight price seems quite reasonable-it's the price of the journey from the North to the airport that will cost the most. Luton which is slightly nearer changed their flight plan and no longer fly on Mondays or Wednesdays so I'm trying to save a few quid on the flights if I can ;-)
I usually try to go to the airports on the easybus, tickets can be as cheap as 2 pounds
No-one can predict budget airline prices and certainly no-one can predict when they may choose to have a sale.
I almost always use budget carriers from the UK and the best option is to book when you see a fare which suits you and then not look again! Having visited fairly recently, the fare you give for Bratislava is very good, so I suggest you go for it.
Imo, you are generally better off in both time and money, paying a bit extra to for a flight from an airport nearer to your home than taking a long journey to save a few pounds...especially as you then run an extra risk of delays.
Easybus, of course, is really only a feasible option if you are travelling from somewhere which is served by its route. As Easybus only runs to airports from London it's probably a cheaper option to take a National Express bus directly to the airport from your home town or nearby (assuming there is a service) rather than go into London by bus/train and then out again by Easybus or any other option.
I've tried to suss it out many times, Kirsty, but in the UK the budget airlines eventually got wise to the fact that we punters generally waited until 6-8 weeks before the flight to book it.
So now you can book flights in advance for a much longer period of time and the best prices might be 4 months out...or 4 weeks out....or 6,...or 10. It all depends on what's happening with the bookings. And then there are the sales, which occur with no regularity whatsoever.
That's why my advice now is to book when the fare looks good for you and then not to look again. The only other thing I'd say is that if you leave it too late (e.g. 4 or fewer weeks before your date) chances are that you won't get the cheapest fares.
With mainstream airlines, which I use less often, I've found some excellent deals if I book 6+ months ahead (that's why I'm going to Sibiu in June). I've not found much variation in price within the 6-month-ahead period, to be honest, although Mondays and Fridays tend to be pricier (business travellers, I suppose).
But I can only ever travel during high-fare periods, of course. because if you travel in UK school holiday you can guarantee that *all* flights will cost more than they do the week before or the week after. So my experience may not be the norm for outside-school-hols fares. I avoid looking at those whenever possible. Too depressing. :-(
Thanks everyone for your replies :-D I would definitely fly from closer to home, which would make Birmingham or Liverpool the nearest airports, but to cover the weekend that I need to be there, I would have to go out for a week (Tue to Tue) as those airports only fly on Tue or Sat, so I chose Luton to go from instead, then booked my hotel out there from Wednesday to Monday (early booking to save nearly 50%) a few months ago. It then went wrong when Luton changed their schedule from flying Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun to Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun. Stansted are now the only ones to fly on Mon, Wed and Fri. If I had known the flight schedule would change, I would have just gone on Thur and come back Tue (the cheaper day hehe). It's just unfortunate I guess, but can't be helped. I'm quite lucky as I work shifts so I'm not just limited to certain days when I can fly. The National Express will be the best option for me I think. I'd love to have the will power not to look once I've booked lol!
I find that will-power does develop.... :-)
At least, if you're in Bham, you have the option of Nat Ex bus. I wondered if you were out in the wilds somewhere, when it would be much more of a hassle getting to Luton.
One thing about Luton though....it's a nice airport but it does get incredibly busy in the early to mid mornings, when many budget flights depart. Make sure you are there at least 2 hours before departure, even if you don't have any hold baggage, and make sure you go straight up to security as soon as you've checked your bags if you do have them.
I've flown from Luton several times in the past few years and the queue for security can easily last almost an hour at times. In fact, the last couple of times I've bitten the bullet and paid the 3 quid just to go through the 'fast lane' rather than stand in a line in a full-up room for 40+ minutes. There's a machine...cards only...up the escalators and just before the security area. So you can see how long the queue is..or not..before you pay up.
Luton can be so slow that I've seen Easyjet actually delay a flight because so many of their passengers were stuck in security until *after* their gate had closed.
I'm definitely not out in the sticks as it's Sheffield where I live. I always usually try and fly from Manchester as the train is really cheap to get there and takes you straight into the airport which is ideal. East Midlands is also generally fine for me. It's a shame that neither of these airports fly to Bratislava.
I originally planned to go from Luton, but it's Stansted that I have to go from because of me having to go on Wed and come back Mon due to the days of the Hotel I booked ages ago. I must have been tired after work and not explained it properly lol. Thank you for your detailed summary about Luton though. It's always good to know about the check-in process at different Airports and handy little tips which will be really useful if I need to fly from there in future. Have you flown from Stansted before. I have once, however, I can't recall any problems apart from a lady who was trying to squeeze her hand luggage bag into the measuring rack without any joy and being told that she would need to pay £50 excess baggage or not get on the plane. Glad it wasn't me!
I'm actually quite intrigued to find out what Bratislava is like as I've never been before. I'm actually going out there to watch a sports event on the Sat/Sun, but I'll have 3 full days to do a bit of sightseeing and I'll probably go and visit Vienna for one of those days. I imagine its going to be very cold though!!
> I must have been tired after work and not explained it properly lol
Nah...i was tired after work a probably didn't read it properly! Soz.
I live not far from you and Bham/East Mids are best airports for me too, followed by Luton. I have flown from Stansted several times though (it's such a trek by car...minimum 2h 15m...and trains/buses from here are useless:-( ) Like you, I don't recall any particular problems. It too can get very busy indeed at certain times, and I've queued for a longish time at border control,. but that's pretty much par for the course. Luton just seems exceptionally bad for security at certain times of day.
As for Bratislava, I really enjoyed my few days there. It's not as historically attractive as e.g. Krakow but it does have a very pleasant historical centre. The people are the same as people everywhere, language isn't a real problem (though taking a cheap phrasebook e.g. Berlitz, is worthwhile), wandering the streets felt safe (I'm solo middle-aged female), I enjoyed the food (all options available, not just Slovak) and there are lots of bits and pieces to explore and enjoy: My Bratislava pages and tips are here:
[original VT link]
Getting to Vienna is very easy indeed by train and the ticket office staff at Bratislava's Hlavna Stanica station understand English (I couldn't find any ticket machines when I visited). Allow a bit of time for buying your ticket; there were sometimes longish queues. My tip below was written a year ago so I'm not sure what the exact state of play at Vienna Sudbahnhof is now, but I'd still suggest you get off at Wien Simmering and take the U-bahn into the city from there:
[original VT link]
I'd also suggest you make a daytrip to Pies'tany (about an hour by train). It's a lovely little spa town and well worth exploring, though you might want a taxi from the railway station...it's about 15 minutes walk from the town centre:
[original VT link]
An alternative daytrip (or another day) is Trnava:
[original VT link]
Again, it's a good walk from the railway station (though less than Pies'tany, i think) but it's an interesting and very historical town.
For the weather, check the BBC just before you start packing:
Certainly colder than we are at the moment, but not too bad at all. Hat/scarf/gloves, good boots and quilted coat, I think. :-)
Bratislava is really a nice place to go, even if you don´t find anything you like to buy :-) Could though recommend you to take the train into Austria to Parndorf outlet. It is pretty easy to get there and we did a lot of shopping there :-)