Star Alliance carrier United Airlines currently sells cheap tickets to a couple of Caribbean destinations. With departure from London, prices start at £365 (~€424) for flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Flights to St.Thomas on the US Virgin Islands cost just a little more. All flights have a short stop in a North American hub like Newark or Washington. While meal and beverage services are included in this price, checked bags are not.
Worldwide travel restrictions are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. We strongly recommend gathering detailed information about the travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to your desired origin and destination.
A good start is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website. It provides current updates on a country’s immigration policies. Even better, the Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map is one of the most useful tools you can find.
Flights are available mainly in November and December 2022. While trips to Puerto Rico are available almost daily for roughly £25 (~€29) more, flights to St.Thomas are much harder to find. That’s why our availability calendar shows you example dates for trips up to two weeks.
United Airlines Boeing 767 aircraft will transport from London to Washington. Flights to the Caribbean are narrow body aircraft services.
All promoted prices are Star Alliance fares without checked luggage allowance. Especially when flying United, you will also have other cutbacks:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
On flights with Lufthansa Group carriers, you will be able to select your seat for free at the time of check-in. Star Alliance Gold member can currently bring one checked bag (23 kg). But it is not sure how long this will be possible.
When flying United you can still bring two pieces of checked luggage (23 kg each) as a Star Alliance Gold member, MileagePlus frequent flyer can even bring three pieces (32 kg each). But there are other disadvantages:
- No seat selection. You will be assigned a seat during check-in and can’t change it anymore
- Lowest priority while boarding
- For MileagePlus members:
- No complimentary Economy+ seats
- Only 50% tier miles (instead of 100%)
- No same-day changes
- No upgrades
Air Canada’s Basic Economy fare isn’t as restricted as the one from Lufthansa and United. Star Alliance Gold members can still bring one piece of checked luggage (23 kg), and Air Canada Altitude customers can bring up to three pieces (32kg each).
- Altitude members:
- Only 25% earning rate for international flights, no miles for domestic
- No upgrades
Search & Book
According to the fare rules, these prices are available until June 15, 2021 – we expect them to be gone much sooner. You have to stay at least six days at your destination to get the cheap tickets, a good length for a relaxing holiday. Availability is best in late 2021.
You can use Google Flights to find additional flight dates. Though online travel agencies offer lower prices, we recommend booking directly with a Star Alliance carrier like Lufthansa or United Airlines.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.