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Flying from UK to Vegas

Last edit: EnglishBill on Sunday, 3rd April 2016 5:00 am
Last response by EnglishBill 12th April 12:28am

My wife & I have travelled from England to Las Vegas twice a year & sometimes more since 2007. Before that we travelled from Spain.
Most times, just the two of us but we have gone with other family members.
Now we are semi retired, we have to watch every penny, so expensive flights & Hotels that don't offer comps are no longer an option.
We have, we think, tried just about every flight variation with just about every carrier. From direct flights from Manchester with Virgin, Thomas Cook & the now defunct Baby BMI at one end to convoluted flight plans involving flying from our tiny local airport to Amsterdam, then on to Detroit & finally onto Vegas with Delta/KLM. This used to be a 16 hour trip, now it can be 23
We have lots of unused air miles, as if you want to use them, prices always seem higher.
Apart from the airlines above,we have used BA, United, American Airlines,
US Airways etc. BA have the worst seats. American carriers seem to have larger, nicer seats.
We have changed at around a dozen US Airports. The trip is part of the vacation & can be good. Warning though, UK flights into Charlotte don't appear to have seat back entertainment. The entrance into Phoenix is easily missed, we nearly missed our flight!
Next week we will fly from Manchester to Philadelphia & then onto Vegas in the same plane, with the same seats, which is a first. Two weeks later the same in reverse.

Our first trip, we stayed on the strip in a Holiday Inn, which has now gone, we also stayed in the New Frontier. Now we stay downtown & have tried Binions, Fitzgeralds, Las Vegas Club, Golden Nugget, Four Queens & now the Plaza, which suits us the best.
If there is anyone out there who knows of another or better way to get from England to Vegas, or a downtown hotel with great comps, please let us know, the planning is part of the fun.

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 salkken responded on Sunday, 3rd April 2016

Surprised you haven't tried LHR-LAX-LAS. Since those shuttle flights from L.A. leave almost hourly, it would appear that connection would be easy. Your direct flight into Philly is likely your best bet. Otherwise, I suggest the transpolar route to SFO or LAX. Have fun and good luck.

 LosZorros responded on Sunday, 3rd April 2016

I've been going on holiday with my wife to Vegas every year for 2 weeks at a time, since 1999. We always travel in UK high season in summer.

Flight costs have been fairly consistent for the last few years, over a third of the cost is now tax, but overall I haven't seen the costs increase much at all over the years.

Always look to earn miles and spend miles each year with BA or Virgin. Needs planning but unlike us, as you are semi retired you will have more time to do it.

2015 flew Virgin for free using miles, only cost was GBP200 each tax.
2014 same again but with BA.
2013 free companion flight free with BA so only one adult ticket cost.
2012 same again with BA.

This year using Thomas Cook for the first time, booked l1 months in advance GBP1400 for the two of us, of which GBP440 is tax. So broadly GBP500 each return for the actual flight which is effectively GBP250 each for each 5,000 mile trip. Amazing value. Cheaper than a car journey. I noticed Virgin Atlantic flight costs 11 months ago for the same flight was GBP2,200 for two people but 2 months later it had reduced to GBP1600.

So you have to keep right over the subject for a number of weeks/months. Plan ahead, earn and use miles, set a price and when you see the price you regard as value - immediately book. That's why we are not using miles this year, the Thomas Cook flight was great value and we bought the flight - leaves miles untouched to use in 2017.

I really can't see how an indirect flight could offer significantly more value to justify extending the journey time. I want to get there and get back ASAP.

So it's all in the early planning and monitoring and miles earning/spending.

The Outsiders' Guide To Las Vegas Book (available on Amazon from UK) covers similar planning tips (a great book).

Good luck and Viva.............

 EnglishBill replied on Monday, 4th April 2016

Hello Los Zorros, thanks for the info, very interesting, especially the air miles. Every time we attempted to use Virgin miles, we were told we could only use a small fraction of them on a Vegas flight. They also refuse to accept our Delta miles, although it's all one concern now.
You don't say where you fly from. Some of our difficulty is, we prefer to fly from Manchester, we tried BA from Heathrow, but it's a 4 or 5 drive home & after any trans Atlantic flight that's too much.
Like you we study prices & book as soon as we spot a good deal, all part of the fun.
We have used Thomas Cook twice now & were not impressed. I hope you have better luck.
Our flight next week, with American Airlines has a 2-3 hour stop over but as we will pass though immigration in Philly, we'll just get our bags & go after landing in Vegas. So overall the travel time is not a lot different going out & we will have stretched our legs.
We paid less than 1000 all in for our two tickets. Virgin is as you say at least 1600. As we fly to Vegas twice a year that is a big difference.
We try never to look at the tax, you have to pay it & it just makes you feel bad. There is a possibility of flying from Dublin where the tax is way lower but it might be too long an ordeal.
Maybe one day we'll win a progressive & fly first class?

 LosZorros replied on Monday, 4th April 2016

Bill, in East Midlands so use Gatwick. No good for you but for us train is direct to terminal via St Pancras 2.5 hours. Thomas Cook is Stansted. Would use Manchester if I needed to. Using Airmiles I just use the online system of BA or Virgin. It shows all the available flights for using Airmiles. Really clear. Log In to your Airmiles accounts with both airlines and it will show all availability. You can also phone but I would rather see availability online. Good system. Fire up a dummy booking to have a look. You need to look as early as possible though - 11 months or so ahead. Then keep checking back as they release seats for miles. Also look at Companion flights or even miles plus money. The more flexible you are the better choice you will have.

Enjoy your trip. Love the place.

 warrenslo responded on Sunday, 3rd April 2016

I would not advise connecting at LAX, as you would have to change terminals which from Tom Bradley to domestic flights can be quite a trek... Instead you could consider connecting at JFK (Virgin America is in International Terminal 4) or another US airport without this issue.

 socalduck replied on Monday, 4th April 2016

There is now an airside connector between TBIT and Terminal 4, making it much easier if connecting to AA domestic n

 vespajet responded on Monday, 4th April 2016

Have you priced Norwegian? They offer service to Vegas from Copenhagen and Stockholm (which are both served out of Gatwick), although it's once a week service. They offer service to several US cities out of Gatwick (Boston, NYC-JFK, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, L.A, and will be starting Oakland service next month.). All of those airports have service to Las Vegas.

 EnglishBill replied on Tuesday, 5th April 2016

Hi Vespajet, thanks for advice, we did look at this option but from where we live, coastal Lincolnshire, travelling down to Gatwick is over 4 hours & most of the connections were quite long.

 vespajet replied on Wednesday, 6th April 2016

I figured that the crazy schedules they offer would be a bit of a nightmare.

 donnymac66 responded on Saturday, 9th April 2016

Would Air Canada be an option. Change planes in either Montreal or Toronto. You would do US Customs clearance in those airports prior to boarding the LAS flight.

 EnglishBill replied on Sunday, 10th April 2016

Thanks for suggestion Donny, we did check out some flights with a change in Canada but the few we did look at suffered from quite long breaks between flights.

 donnymac66 replied on Sunday, 10th April 2016

I think Westjet is now flying to England as well as Air Canada so there are more options. Did you find a suitable flight?

 EnglishBill replied on Tuesday, 12th April 2016

Hi, I'll look into them for our next trip. We did find a great flight with American Airlines,for this trip, we stop at Philly but get back on the same plane, in the same seats, for the Vegas part. Not expensive either, around $800 each.