New Heathrow to US carriers – Competition keeps New York fares in check

Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways have all finally got access to London Heathrow and this week’s exclusive farewatch looks at how fares compare between these airlines and their services to and from their major US hubs.

Continental has started flights from Houston and New York Newark, Delta from Atlanta and New York JFK, Northwest from Minneapolis and US Airways from Philadelphia. All of these new services operate either daily or double-daily. Business class fares for travel departing Monday 31 March and returning Wednesday 2 April were collected for passengers originating both in the US and the UK.

Chart: London Heathrow - US: return air fares
Source: Airline websites on Thursday 27th March

With the current US dollar to UK pound exchange rate hovering around the 2:1 mark results for both currencies have been plotted on the same graph. Flights to New York appear to be considerably cheaper than to the other hubs, a fact which can only partly be explained by the slightly shorter sector length. Houston at 7,758 kilometres is almost 40% further than New York, but Continental’s air fare is well over twice that of its own fare to Newark.

Leisure fares for summer vary little

In a spooky coincidence (or is it?) Continental and Delta are both charging UK originating passengers £559.70 for economy return flights to New York this summer, including all taxes.

Chart: London Heathrow - US: return air fares
Source: Airline websites on Thursday 27th March

For a summer holiday Northwest to and from Minneapolis is the most expensive of the six new routes analysed here. The difference for UK originating passengers between the cheapest and most expensive summer leisure trip is just 14% with all destinations available for between £550 and £650 return, including all taxes.

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