Oneworld member British Airways and Star Alliance carrier United Airlines engage in competitive pricing for nonstop premium tickets between their respective hubs London-Heathrow and San Francisco. Both airlines sell tickets as low as £1,305 (~€1,435) for two 10-hour rides across the pond.
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 current immigration policies. Even better, the Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map is one of the most useful tools you can find.
While United Airlines currently plans to use Boeing 777 aircraft featuring their new Polaris business class cabin, BA’s schedule sees an Airbus A380 operating the flight. Since this offer is most attractive in 2021 and no schedule is currently set in stone, this might very well change.
Search & Book
Both carriers offer a similar set of fare rules. Both fares are set to expire on September 30, 2020 and are valid for weekday departures in both directions. The minimum stay of one night from Saturday to Sunday is identical, too. The main difference is that BA’s fare rules don’t restrict the travel period, while United’s offers sees it end on December 31, 2021. Availabilty is fairly good with both carriers.
We recommend using Google Flights to find suiting flight dates. Further, we strongly recommend booking directly with an Oneworld or Star Alliance carrier to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible.
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 to book with the airlines directly. There are two main reasons for that:
- 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.
British Airways issues these tickets in booking class I. In addition to 16,060 Avios, you can earn 280 tier points in British Airways Executive Club with these flights. Your mileage accrual with other carries should look roughly like this:
- 26,770 on Alaska Mileage Plan
- 21,540 on Finnair Plus
- 16,060 on Aer Lingus AerClub
- 16,060 on Iberia Plus
- 16,060 on British Airways Executive Club
- 13,380 on American AAdvantage
- 13,380 on Asia Miles
- 13,380 on SriLankan FlySmiles
- 13,380 on LATAM Pass
- 13,380 on Royal Jordanian Royal Club
- 13,380 on Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- 13,380 on Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- 13,380 on Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- 13,380 on S7 Airlines Priority Club
United Airlines tickets these flight in booking class P. You can earn the following award mileage in these Star Alliance frequent flyer programs:
- 25,850 on Air China PhoenixMiles
- 21,420 on TAP Miles & Go
- 16,060 on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 13,380 on EVA Infinity MileageLands
- 13,380 on Vistara Club Vistara
- 10,710 on Miles & More
- 10,710 on Singapore KrisFlyer
- 10,710 on Copa ConnectMiles
- 10,710 on Asiana Club
- 10,710 on Avianca LifeMiles
- 10,710 on Air India Flying Returns
- 10,710 on South African Voyager
- 10,710 on Aegean Miles+Bonus
- 10,710 on EgyptAir Plus
- 10,710 on SAS EuroBonus
- 10,710 on Aer Lingus AerClub
- 10,710 on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 10,710 on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 10,710 on Azul TudoAzul
- 10,710 on Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- 7,490 on ANA Mileage Club
Information & Tips for USA
The USA offers many sights, natural wonders and cultural significance. Thanks to numerous airlines offering flights across the Atlantic, it is always pretty inexpensive to get there. Alternatively, you can also cross the Atlantic by boat.
Immigration, ESTA & Visa Requirements
The USA has one of the strictest entry regulations in the world. Most EU citizens, among others, are lucky to be able to participate in the so-called Visa Waiver Program. If you get an electronic entry permit (ESTA) for about €12, you don’t need a visa for entry.
The Best Time to Visit
Due to its sheer size, the perfect time to visit the USA varies greatly from region to region. In winter, Florida is very popular due to the mild temperatures. In the summer the West and East Coasts are flooded by tourists which drives up the prices for hotels and flights and during the Indian Summer in late autumn New England is a very popular destination. The hurricane season between July and September can be dangerous in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida and the southern states are regularly struck by these tropical storms. Blizzards occur from the East Coast to the Midwest during the winter months and regularly put air traffic and public life on hold.
The US dollar is widely used throughout the world and accepted as a currency in most tourist hotspots worldwide. That being said, carrying cash isn’t necessary in the US, all you need is a credit card! These are very common in the USA and are accepted pretty much everywhere without any issues. If you already have a credit card in your wallet, you should make sure that it does not charge a foreign currency fee if possible. Carrying a few dollars in cash doesn’t hurt though. You might need cash e.g. for the bus ticket if you want to buy it directly from the driver. Most of the time you even have to give exact change.
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Information & Tips for San Francisco
The city on the Pacific coast in California captivates with unique buildings like the Golden Gate Bridge but also with the serenity, enlightenment and cultural diversity of the population.
Best Time to Visit
Temperatures in San Francisco are quite warm and moderate all year round. But in winter you have to expect to get more rain. The best months for traveling are April to October.
Top 3 Sights
Golden Gate Bridge: There are only a few buildings that say ‘USA’ as much as the bridge that connects with San Francisco to Sausalito. You can pass the bridge either by car, on foot or by bike. The latter is highly recommended because it is somewhat tricky to get on the bridge by foot. When planning your trip, you should always check the weather forecast, as the bridge is often covered in thick fog. This might be great for taking spectacular pictures of the bridge, but passing it could be rather disappointing due to the limited visibility.
Alcatraz Island: You can reach the legendary prison island, on which Al Capone was imprisoned, by ferry. You can book tickets on the official website. Attention: Other sites that also offer tickets are only re-sellers who charge excessive prices. It is worth to book the tickets in advance because especially during high season the ferry can be full due to the limited number of seats.
Fisherman’s Wharf: An excellent place to start your visit to San Francisco. This old part of town – once the Little Italy of San Francisco – is famous for its shops, restaurants and the beautiful atmosphere by the water. It’s a nice place to walk around and get a taste of the city. It’s also a starting point for tours with spectacular views of the city.
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