British Airways launches flight sale - is it any good?

British Airways has launched a worldwide sale on flights and holidays as long as you book by 25 September. It includes £317 return flights from London to New York and £512 returns to Cape Town. But you can never assume a sale price means it's the best deal, nor whether the deals are available when you want to travel, so we've crunched the numbers.

The prices below are all highlighted as top deals in the British Airways sale*. BA says sale prices can be found on flights between the end of October 2018 and July 2019, but exact dates vary by destination.

When we checked, we saw plenty of availability and the sale prices were easy to find – simply select a destination and it will take you through to the booking screen, where dates with sale prices are highlighted. But that does not mean they are a good deal.

We found cheaper flights on similar dates, by going via flight comparison sites instead, such as Kayak*, Skyscanner* and Momondo*. These sites check prices from online travel agents, which are often cheaper than going direct to an airline. So if you're willing to travel at slightly different times and with a different airline, you could fly for much less.

Of course if you're set on travelling with British Airways, you could still benefit from this sale – but ALWAYS check comparison sites before booking, as one of the cheaper options we found was actually a BA return for different times, sold by an online travel agent.

Here are how the flights compared when we checked earlier today on 30 Aug. For the examples below, we used days when you can get the sale price but compared them to alternative options:

BA sale price: £317 London to New York return

How does it stack up? It's definitely a good price for New York but we found flights for 15-22 May on British Airways for £266 return via Skyscanner rather than on the BA website.

BA sale price: £369 London to San Francisco return

How does it stack up? We checked flights for 10-17 Oct, and found cheaper flights for £280 return via Momondo on Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.

BA sale price: £431 London to Hong Kong return

How does it stack up? We checked flights for 5-12 Nov, and found cheaper flights for £360 return via Skyscanner and Momondo on Philippine Airlines.

BA sale price: £512 London to Cape Town return

How does it stack up? We checked flights for 10-24 Jan 2019, and found cheaper flights for £484 return via Skyscanner on Norwegian and Turkish Airlines.

While of course these are just a few examples, the answer is clear – don't assume a sale price is the cheapest out there –  ALWAYS compare prices before you book. See our Cheap Flights guide for more tips.