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Bits: last chance for the BA Winter sale, US and Canada ESTA changes

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News in brief:

Last chance for the British Airways Winter Sale – ends Tuesday

British Airways is winding up its Winter sale with the deals ending tomorrow night.  The home page for the sale is here.

Travel dates vary by destination.  The deals appear to run throughout 2016 for most destinations although prices move around by season.  The easiest way to check out the best prices to a specific destination is with the British Airways Low Fare Finder tool on ba.com. This will show you the cheapest price on any route, in any class, on month by month basis.

If you can be flexible with dates, there are some decent fares available.   Here are some major destinations, priced as World Traveller / World Traveller Plus / Club World / First:

New York £362 / £797 / £1,391 / £2,416

Miami £432 / £872 / £1,534 / £2,535

Abu Dhabi £374 / £715 / £1,339 / £2,061

Mumbai £453 / £664 / £1,945/ £2,879

Bangkok £491 / £1,074 / £1,941 / na

Tokyo £509 / £969 / £2,033 / £3,677

The US and Middle East Club World and First fares are very aggressive compared with usual sale prices out of London.  £1,391 Club World to New York is very, very cheap – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it cheaper on BA in a mainstream sale.  Abu Dhabi, note, is £300 cheaper than Dubai in Club World on certain dates even though they are only a short cheap taxi ride apart.

The Caribbean is looking OK – Barbados is down to £1,692 on some dates in Club World.  Kingston and Punta Cana are a shade under £1,300.

In general, the £2,000 Asia fares I quote above are as good it gets, apart from perennial dog Chengdu!  This is £1,698.  Similarly, Africa doesn’t have any standout deals – Cape Town never gets below £3,000 whenever you book.

The best thing to do if you are interested is to pop over to ba.com and have a look around.  The sale page is here.

Remember that there are also some excellent Club World deals to be had if you are willing to start your trip in Dublin.  My original article on those fares is here.

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Fairmont Banff Springs 350

ESTA changes for the USA and Canada

Both the US and Canada are making changes to the process for entering their countries which could make your travel trickier.

With immediate effect, the US will not be allowing anyone who holds dual nationality with  Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria to enter under the Visa Waiver Programme, irrespective of who issued their other passport.

In addition, anyone who has visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 1st March 2011 will be unable to use the Visa Waiver Programme.

Over in Canada, the online ‘Electronic Travel Authority’ system is being launched for the first time.  From 15th March, an ETA will be required for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. US citizens are exempt.

The cost of the ETA is C$7 per passenger, and the validity is five years or until your passport expires, whichever is shorter.

Comments (52)

  • Lady London says:

    @KC this is the official tier point and avios calculator. Enter your flights segment by segment.

    http://www.britishairways.com/travel/flight-calculator/public/en_gb

  • Waribai says:

    “Apart from perennial dog Chengdu!”

    Raffles, I’m guessing you know about the dog festival there. Rather close to the bone!

    Slightly OT, a couple of weeks ago I booked AMS-BKK on BA for December 2016 in J for £1000 rtn. The lowest rate on the outbound was to do AMS-LHR-HKG-BKK. Now though AMS-LHR-BKK is pricing out the same. If I ring up BA, will they let me change to the latter (more direct flight) flight?

  • Mac says:

    Raffles, on the subject of US immigration… One of the travel benefits of the Amex Plat card for US cardmembers is the $100 fee credit for enrolment in Global Entry. With this program recently being extended to UK passport holders, any chance Amex will offer this same benefit to us on this side of the pond? Maybe you could have a word with them?

  • Fenny says:

    I am choosing not to visit the US any time soon for 2 reasons. Firstly, as long as the idiot hairpiece is at all likely to win any kind of elected office, I’m not going there. But, more importantly, as long as the US authorities are randomly preventing British citizens from boarding a plane to the US with no explanation, I’m not going.

    The first may all be done & dusted by August. The second will potentially be an ongoing situation. My US friends can get used to coming over here to see me!

    • Anon says:

      Have to say, if old wiggy wins this year could be my last visit to FL, let’s hope that our US cousins make a kind informed choice based on a mature, outward looking world view…

    • Callum says:

      Unfortunately it looks like you’re never going to the US again then! They’ve been doing that for years and years already – it’s only received publicity recently because people made the claim they were blocked just for being Muslim (which wasn’t true – rightly or (most likely) wrongly, it was due to the computer flagging terrorist links at their address).

      • Fenny says:

        As I don’t have to go there for work anymore, that’s not actually a problem.

    • Callum says:

      And I refuse to believe Trump would win (though I am still in shock that he’s remained this popular…), but if he does I think a lot of people will be joining you on that US boycott!

      • Brian says:

        Why would people be boycotting the States because of Trump? I don’t see many people boycotting Qatar because of the government’s human rights abuses. Or China, for that matter. And some people in the comments above are saying they’d choose to go to Iran instead. Each to his or her own, of course, but it’s silly how people just jump on a bandwagon without actually thinking about things.

        • Fenny says:

          Just because we don’t say why we don’t go to countries doesn’t mean we don’t go there. I’m not jumping on any bandwagons and I have thought about this a great deal.

          I’m actually still waiting for him to say it was all a joke. He would hate to be POTUS, as he wouldn’t actually be able to do any of the things he says he will and the US would lose all international credibility.

          I am bothered about the nutters who support him. They are the real reason why the US is such a weird place.

        • Pol says:

          Some people on here, me included, do boycott the ME three, it’s been mentioned on here before. I will have to think long and hard about visiting if Trump gets in, even though my dad lives in Miami.
          I’m hoping it’s all some elaborate comedy satire show engineered by the US TV networks to parody American politics 🙂

  • Concerto says:

    I wonder when and where this security sickness is going to end. For a long time now I’ve viewed the US as the least free country in the world. The result will be the total end of freedom of movement a la North Korea.

  • Michael says:

    Related to Emirates/Qantas/TierPoints mentioned above…

    I need advice….I’m booking my elderly parents on a trip from Ireland to Australia, with a visit to Singapore and Perth, Melbourne and Sydney compulsory. Routing from DUB/BHD via LHR with BA/SQ is costly. Best route seems to be:
    DUB-DXB-PER-MEL-SYD-SIN-DBX-DUB.
    It totals about £1K in Economy – all flights are marked QANTAS (Operated by Emirates) or EMIRATES (Operated by Qantas). I’d love to send them BIZ (even part of the way) but there seems to be no way without spending a small fortune! (I do have a stash of Avios and a BA 241 voucher but don’t think they’re any use here.) Parents want to see NZ too but I think I’ll have to book those flights separately from MEL/SYD, as no online booking service seems to allow more than 6 flights.

    Anyhow, my parents are NOT part of any airline loyalty scheme – so what’s the best thing to do?
    If I enrol them in BAEC separately can I credit the QANTAS/EMIRATES flights to gain them Tier Points (as they’ll probably use BA in Europe), or is that a waste and I’d be better crediting direct to Emirates? Also am I missing something and is there a better way to plan such a trip (I’ve used ITA Matrix to search flights)? I’m very confused so any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  • Hana says:

    Good timing on the article, as I just booked a trip to Iran this year. Does this mean once I enter Iran, my Esta will no longer be valid?