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Flight to NY next summer. All the advice you have, please

(11 Posts)
sparkysparkysparky Mon 13-Oct-14 11:28:40

I used to be a seasoned solo flyer - all over the shop. Then I got married, had a baby and was diagnosed with MS. DH and DC (8 next year) wonderful. MS not so bad so far. We are going to visit relatives in NY state next summer (1 hour's drive from NYC). My last flight was to see them in 2004 with unseasoned traveller who is now DH. Everything I knew about flights has changed (liquids in clear bottles in hand luggage ... huh?) Dc has never flown. Please pour your advice on me. Direct vs indirect flights (I am in N England) ; surcharges; best and or cheapest airline; online booking; how do e tickets work ( I'm serious - only used old fashioned ones before) how to keep dc entertained; stuff to do in NY area. Any advice you can offer. Please

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 13-Oct-14 14:01:59

Purchase the best travel insurance policy you can afford. Do not just purchase any old policy online, I would also talk directly to the insurers you choose re your travel insurance about your current state of health as well. Infact I would check this first before actually booking anything else, the travel insurance cost for yourself could well be very high indeed.

As you are planning to go to the US, an electronic travel authorisation called an ESTA will need to be completed for all of you in your party after you have booked the flights. This is done online (only use the official US government based website for this) and will cost $14 US (around £9 sterling) for each of you.

If your local airport is somewhere for instance like Manchester, I would try and get a direct flight from there rather than schlepp down to Heathrow.

Nowadays you can make the flight booking online and the process is quite straight forward. Once you've paid in full (which is what is expected with the airlines) you can at a later date print off the boarding passes. You can choose your seats in advance however, airlines like BA and Virgin charge you for doing so.

Luggage allowance varies between airlines but for economy passengers its usually one suitcase which weighs no more than 23kg. Hand luggage is separate and is usually one bag per person. Details would be on the airline's website anyway.

You can pack liquid items like shampoo etc in your suitcase, you cannot take that in your hand luggage or for that matter any liquid over 100ml through security. The liquids rule is still in force. You can buy water and other soft drinks airside to take on the aircraft.

Book a hotel for your accommodation needs in NYC. Short term apartment lettings under 30 days in that city are illegal so avoid sites that offer these. Also such sites do not verify that these listings are genuine.

I hope you do get to NYC and have a fab time.

Any other questions just ask.

MillyMollyMama Mon 13-Oct-14 16:02:00

If you can get a direct flight, then definitely do it. Changing in Europe is total hassle and adds so much time to the flight for a relatively small saving.

We always put all creams, make up and any small liquids into clear plastic bsgs before we go or you have to do this at the airport which can be fiddly. They have to go through security andhave to be seen. We put perfume and any larger bottles, well wrapped to avoid leakage, into the hold luggage. You should put any expensive items in your hand luggage and you may have to separate out your lap top, ipad, phone and camera for X-ray and scrutiny. I know BA will let you have a carry on bag (they give dimensions on their web site ) and a lap top bag. I feel a huge carry on bag is difficult to manaoevre and stow, and I would favour hold luggage and minimal hand luggage to make life easier. Keep your sunglasses and any medication in your hand luggage and anything else of value.

When travelling to the USA you cannot lock your hold luggage unless you have an authorised lock. Therefore, stuff can be stolen. You do need the ESTA mentioned above and if you need a passport, apply for it NOW!!!

There is often a charge to book the seats in advance but on the BA web site you can go into "manage my booking" by using your unique code and do all of this if you want and I would never leave it until you get to the airport. We always print our boarding passes (e tickets) at home or download them to our phones. The system is easy to use and explains each step. If you want to sit together, paying for an early reservation can be best. However, the BA seat reserving system is free 24 hours before departure. Avoid seats near the loos (constant traffic) so check the configuration of the seats in the aircraft you will be on. The nearer the front you can get, the better, usually. The only surcharge on a decent airline is choosing the seats before the 24 hour check in time. I cannot think of anything else but booking early is usually the best tip because the prices are less: book now! You need to add personal information for each traveller and pssport details at a later stage via "manage my booking". Book airport car parking if you need it. There should be lots of films and entertainment via the numerous channels for DC. Take a book or two if preferred.

I honestly would not use a "cheap" airline to New York. Not even sure there is such a ting unless you go via some out of the way place. For example, BA/American airlines have loads of flights each day, so if there is a problem with an aircraft they can sort you out another flight. If it is an airline with one flight a day, you are stuck. Have a great time.

breward Wed 15-Oct-14 20:55:01

Cheap flights are possible. We booked Kuwait Airlines direct to JFK for £520 each. We flew 29th July (so in the school holidays) for 2 weeks. Flight on time both ways, flew at 4pm going, 9pm coming home, great food, ok staff, inflight entertainment not working on the way out- we had been warned so I read a book.

The flight was mainly British families. However, our 12 year old son had a lovely chat with a Saudi lady he sat next to. He learnt so much about her country and culture. The money we saved paid for our hotels in the states.

PrimalLass Wed 15-Oct-14 20:59:45

Going Aer Lingus through Dublin is worth a look. You can clear US customs there on some flights (depends on the time of day, I think).

ihatethecold Wed 15-Oct-14 21:20:27

US customs takes a long time.
Be prepared for that. They are very thorough.
They will ask you questions about your trip, how long, why you're here etc.
in flight entertainment is great with BA and virgin.
I use sky scanner to get an idea of price.
Join the airlines loyalty scheme when you book, even if you won't use them again.
I spent my points for our family on a box of lovely wine at Xmas.

Johnogroats Wed 15-Oct-14 21:30:24

We flew to JFK this summer. It took about 1.5 hours to get through immigration. They do have loos there though...DS2 needed a visit which broke up the time a bit.

I have heard it is wrth flying from Ireland or flying to a smaller US airport. Worth considering. No idea wher the other NYC airports are better or worse than JFK.

HermioneWeasley Sun 19-Oct-14 18:16:03

Dial a flight have always been good at getting best priced flights for me.

Flights are usually fully booked now - gone are the says of having a row of empty seats you can stretch out on.

If you can run through the airport or book the seats furthest to the front it is worth it to avoid long queues at immigration.

E tickets - you get a reference code when you book. You can check in online before the flight (how soon before varies) and then print your boarding card at home or pick up at the airport. You just drop your bags at check in as usual.

sparkysparkysparky Tue 04-Nov-14 13:40:33

Thank you all very much for your comprehensive replies.smile smile

BooDidIScareYou Tue 04-Nov-14 13:47:29

I love Virgin for flying to the US, just find their seating much better. Mr Boo is a tall hefty chap and even he was fine in a normal economy seat with them, flew BA recently in their premium economy and he said he had been much more comfy in a normal economy Virgin seat. We flew into JFK last time and sailed through immigration etc really quickly but perhaps we were just lucky. Cab to Manhattan when you get there is c$50.

Graciescotland Tue 04-Nov-14 14:14:21

You might want to check out iceland air for cheap flights. Especially if you're not flying from London. It was faster for me to transfer through reykjavik than via London. I flew business class with them (not lie flat beds but comfy) for less than the price of BA economy.

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