I'm looking to book tickets for London this year. Ideally late June. Can someone recommend a good website, airline, or travel agent/site to get plane tickets, please? I'm looking into booking vacation rentals instead of hotels but I'm open to flight packages.
I use Hipmunk.com for booking all my travel, since it uses an algorithm to figure out which trip legs have the least "agony." It's a great at-a-glance interface too.
A lot depends where you are flying from. The airlines have it pretty sewn up in terms of pricing. US Airways & AA tend to have it sewn up for the lowest prices. I have tickets for Heathrow on June 12th from LAX that cost $1100 in early February. I use Kayak to search, but often book through the airline site as the prices are generally identical. Watch out for overnight flights or flights with significantly long connection times, as you could easily lose a day of your vacation for the sake of $150, and not realize until you booked. Redeyes are usually a bit cheaper and get you there in the early afternoon so worth exploring. One other "trick" which can save cost IF you are brave and 'travel agile'. The UK charges a hefty tax for all flights LEAVING the country. It is calculated based on your next port of call. SO you can save by doing one of 2 things - a) Fly into the UK, but add another city, such as Brussels, Dublin or Paris, onto your itinerary. You can reach those cities by train or ferry, and you wont then pay the departure tax. It also makes it worth looking at Air France or Lufthansa as the departure tax would be less if you were flying from the UK to Frankfurt, say, than to New York. Based on a recent article I read the optimum time to book a flight to Europe is 154 days before departure (or thereabouts) so get your tickets as soon as you can. Good Luck!
Check out www.2divastravel.com Or send an email with your travel dates and number of travelers to twodivastravel at gmail.com. I own the company with my best friend and we would be happy to assist you in anyway we can. We enjoy booking travel but we love talking about it and sharing pictures even more.
Kayak.com I usually set a price alert for the date range I want to go and they will email you with flights fluctuations. This compares prices from nearly every single airline.
I'm pretty sure your best option would be SkyScanner.net - it's amazing how many cheap flight you can get with this site! Not all of the website have 100% positive feedback, but I guess those prices are worth a try!
It all depends upon what your goals are. Do you just care about the cheapest fare you can find? Then Kayak will get you in the general ballpark (though not always the absolute cheapest, nobody can guarantee that). If you care about the onboard experience, then you might want something a little heftier. Hipmunk does have the agony rating but it still doesn't give you great details about what you'll get when you fly. For that, Routehappy is excellent. (Disclaimer: I am on the company's advisory board.)
But if you really don't want to deal with it yourself, then travel agents can help. My company is Cranky Concierge. We can search options based on your preferences and then get you booked. We also provide flight monitoring service and help if anything goes wrong. But our service isn't the kind of service that fits everyone's needs.
I love hipmunk.com. It orders flights not just by price, but by a magical formula called 'Agony', that factors in the timing of the flights, stopovers etc. It's got a great interface as well.
Price-friendly flights could be found here: http://www.ryanair.com/
You should bear in mind that you will have to take a bus or train to London from London Stansted Airport (STN) (it is, as far as I remember, 16 GBP per person – return ticket to London and than back to Stansted). There is a free wi-fi in A6 bus.
You can also use http://www.skyscanner.net/ for more carriers.
Check out kayak.com or flightscanner.net for flights only (your cheaper options will include a connection in Doha, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Istanbul). And see couchsurfer or airbnb for places to stay.
Skyscanner is the best for checking flights and I would recommend Virgin Atlantic if coming from the States :)
Kayak is decent for flights. British Airways is relatively cheap when flying from another country, and your British experience starts the minute you board the plane: it's not a bad airline at all (and is a partner of American Airlines, if you're on their frequent-flyer).
Try skyscanner.com or kayak.com...always find cheap deals on there!
Flights to London during the summer months can be very expensive. There are also high taxes when leaving the UK, so if ticket prices are too high look for other options where you can leave from another country. Depending on where you are going back to in the US, there are often much cheaper flights back from Ireland, Spain, or other European countries that are very cheap to get to from London.
I'd recommend setting up some price alerts on some of the bigger search sites (Orbitz, Kayak, Expedia) as well as Airfare WatchDog.
Renting a flat in London is a great way to get a better sense of the city vs staying in a hotel. Not to mention that you will often get much more living space that way as well. Check out AirBnB as well as VRBO.com to get a sense of pricing and availability.