£69 flights to New York. Too good to be true?

Airline Norwegian put £69 singles to New York from Belfast and Edinburgh up for sale yesterday, so we decided to find out if it really was possible to bag one. And guess what? It worked – but only just.

These types of flight sales can be a whirlwind, and to be frank, a disappointment as the mega cheap deals can sometimes be impossible to actually book.

In this case if you were on the ball, and searching as soon as the sale started, you could have been on to a winner, as long as you were flexible and prepared for a little extra travel.

Is it really a £69 flight?

It’s definitely a cheap flight, but there are a few extra costs to factor in on top of the £69 base price, such as getting to and from the airport.

These crazily low prices were part of Norwegian’s launch of new routes to New York, Boston and New England.

The website says 950 £69 flights were released, with 300 available from Belfast and 650 from Edinburgh to New York. Singles were available from the US to the UK too.

They all went in a day – but I just about got in there

They were released at 11am yesterday and as the day went on we could see them slowly disappearing, and by this morning, they looked to have all gone.

I wanted to snap one up to test whether a £69 flight is possible and worth it – and hey, some time in the Big Apple thrown into the mix isn’t a bad thing, is it?

At about 6pm I thought I’d bagged the hot ticket of a flight on the 4th of July for £69 from Belfast.

But after I’d put in all my personal and card details, when I tried to pay, the price had jumped – you can imagine the frustration, as on Independence Day they would have been great for that price. So I didn’t buy them. I must say, though, that the price can change whenever you book an airline ticket, until it actually says you’ve bought it.

That really underlines how quickly these went. As the day wore on we could see them going, to the point that I couldn’t complete my booking without the cheap tickets going.

Instead of paying the higher Independence Day price, I got a £69 one-way flight, departing a few weeks later from Belfast to New York. To ensure I paid £69 I’m only taking hand luggage (hold baggage is £25 per bag each way), and haven’t paid for a meal (£20) or to reserve a seat (another £20).

As I’m based in London, I have to get to Belfast, and so bagged a £22 Ryanair flight, and will have to pay about £7 to get to Gatwick, using my zone 1-6 Travelcard and season ticket holder Gold Card discount.

The airport is miles from New York

One catch is, this flight is to New York Stewart Airport, which is about 90 minutes outside of central New York, and after a quick scan I reckon it’ll cost about $25 on public transport to get to the city. This can cost about $8 from JFK Airport or $13 from Newark International Airport; see our New York MoneySaving tips for more information.

So in total, one-way, this trip will cost me about £110, but if you live closer to these departure airports you could bag an even better bargain.

It’s also worth adding I won’t be going hungry on this flight, as it’s a great opportunity to have a mile-high picnic.

But I could only get it for £69 one way – it’ll cost far more to come back

I’m only going for a few days and couldn’t find a £69 flight coming home, so instead I’ve paid £250 to fly straight from JFK to Gatwick.

However, had I decided to book earlier in the day I could have got a return flight for £69 too, but I hung on too long – again showing how these mega-cheap tickets can disappear fast.

Is it a good deal without the £69 price?

We’re always a fan of finding cheap flights, and many MSEers have used loopholes such as flying via Oslo etc to grab a bargain – for more on this, see New York MoneySaving.

Norwegian hasn’t confirmed if it will release another raft of £69 flights, but says prices between Belfast and New York can be as low as £99, and £159 to and from Edinburgh.

We couldn’t find any of these prices from a quick check today, but it was still possible to get a return for £223 flying out at the end of October and returning a week later.

Of course, you’ll have to be flexible with your dates if you want to get a cheap return, and you need to weigh up if it’s a good deal if you need to add baggage etc, so use the tricks in our Cheap Flights guide.

Just how good will a £69 flight be?

Well, the only way to know is to find out, so we’ll do the hard work for you (I know, it’s a tough job).

In August I’ll be flying out and blogging on just what such a bargain entails – bearing in mind it doesn’t look like there’s any in-flight entertainment on the Boeing 737 I’ll be flying out in (though the 787 coming back to London will have).

While I’m there I’ll be trying out some of our top tips in our New York MoneySaving guide, so stay tuned.