I am trying to plan a trip to England and I am shocked by the outrageous prices being asked. I have to be there from June 29th to July 5th, and the minimum price being asked for any trip with those dates +/- 3 days shown on Orbitz, flying DTW to LHR, is about $1700; the maximum is more than $3000! For an economy-class ticket! Similar prices hold from Chicago, New York, and Boston, and there are no other airports in Britain that are at all convenient. I have flown to England and to Europe many times before and never had to pay more than about $1300, frequently less.

What is the cause of this tremendous inflation (is something going on in England that week)? Can I expect things to get better or worse in the near future if I wait to buy a ticket?

  • If you can be a little flexible, you can save a lot. If you leave on Monday and come back on Sunday for instance, the price drops to $1470.
    – drat
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:06
  • 1
    As Independence Day falls on a Friday this year, larger than normal numbers of people will be traveling in and from the U.S. in the week before and after. There has been considerable capacity reduction, with airlines preferring to fly fuller flights of higher paying customers, and now able to after a series of megamergers. But flying to Europe during the summer has never been cheap. Even in 2003, when I scored a $336 round trip IAD-LHR in January, an equivalent summer flight was over $1000, and fuel was far cheaper then.
    – choster
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:19
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    June/July is summer and people tend to flock to England in summer i.e. Wimbledon, Glastonbury, sports events, commonwealth games in Glasgow. You are coming in the peak tourist season, so prices have been jacked up.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 17:08

4 Answers 4


I think the answer is the 4th of july. If you check for airfares to Frankfurt, Manchester, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, or even Tokyo. You'll see the same pattern, of sudden high fares in that period.

Americans apparently like to leave the country during their independence day.

Check one week before and one week later and suddenly the prices are lower.


If you were willing to drive the 4 hours to YYZ (Toronto) you can get one stop for $13xx USD or so, but nonstop flights are still pretty pricey. It's definitely high season.

At least the airport is on the favorable side of the city for someone coming from Detroit.


It's most likely because of the number of flights out of Detroit. If budget is a bigger concern then time, you can probably book DTW-YYZ, then use a charter like Air Transat or Canadian Affair. You'll probably get there for ~$1k. Bonus if the USD is still 10% stronger than the Canadian :-)


Flying from Boston via Reykjavík with Icelandair will cost you about 1500 dollars, if you stay a couple of extra nights and fly home on July 7th it is around 1300 dollars.

Icelandair also flies out of New York but I didn't look at the prices there.

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