London to Toronto Price Comparison
A friend recently asked me about which airline she should fly with on her regular trips back to Canada. She is over at Oxford for the next two years studying for her PhD. I thought I’d take a look at the options out there and see what’s of value. Let’s look at the London to Toronto Price Comparison options!
Because her term dates are not the usual school holidays I’d thought I’d take 3 dates when she’d be likely to fly and see what the various airlines have to offer. In the past, she has used Air Canada and Air Transat to see her family over here. These dates are London – Toronto first then Toronto – London.
The 3 dates are
8/12/17 – 1/2/18
28/3/18 – 28/4/18
30/6/18 – 24/8/18
So, let’s have a look at the first dates. To demonstrate, I’ve used prices for Economy and Business, all from the Google flights website.
Firstly, above are the economy flights for the December trip. And below are the business class ones.
This is where it gets tricky for Air Transat. They, in fact, don’t really have a business class. It’s more like a Premium Economy service. To clarify, see these independent Trip Advisor Reviews. In general, Premium Economy usually means a slightly larger seat with better reclining capabilities although not fully flat, a touch more legroom and sometimes a better meal choice. These things change depending on the airline.
So far, Air Transat is cheapest but my friend finds them lacking. So do I, I’ve flown with them twice before. Let’s look at the second dates
Firstly, above are the economy flights for the second trip and the business class below.
Once again, Air Transat is cheapest.
Below, the third dates.
So, four companies are consistently in the running, Air Transat, Air Canada, British Airways and West Jet. Let’s total up the cost of the flights in Economy.
The cost – London to Toronto Price Comparison
|Air Canada||Air Transat||WestJet||British Airways|
Ok, prices in GBP. The standout based on price alone is Air Transat. The rest are all around the same sort of price.
Of course, if it was down to price Air Transat is the winner. But (and it’s a big but), it’s not just about price. Now we have to factor in Loyalty programs. Of course, this is where it gets even trickier!
West Jet and Air Transat
Yeah, in fact, Air Transat doesn’t have a loyalty program. Nothing to see here, move along.
The WestJet loyalty scheme is something I know little about so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I checked the Frequent Flyers program website. The problem appears to be, in this case, it has few partners and it is quite small.
Air Canada looks to have a better frequent flyer program than West Jet. But that’s all about to change according to this article. In Brief, in 2020 they are dumping the current plan and moving to something else. The risk here is, will current points be moved (probably), will the value of the points accrued remain the same (who knows). It also gets more confusing knowing that Air Canada has 3 (yes 3!) different loyalty programs. See this to clear up the confusion. One advantage in particular with Air Canada is that it’s a Star Alliance member.
The Star Alliance is a partner program and is the largest. Star Alliance has its pros and cons the same as everyone else, for example, I have heard consistently that not all your perks from one airline transfer to another on Star Alliance. One chap when using a different Alliance member on a return flight was told he’d have to pay extra for his bags as the luggage rules were different between the airlines. But, the overriding factor, my chum has flown with Air Canada before and doesn’t like them.
The British Airways frequent flyer program is something I know a lot more about on account of being a member. In particular, British Airways is a member of the One World Alliance, so using other airlines in the Alliance makes sense! My friend, having two ‘home’ airports London and Toronto make things a little more tricky to work out. However, American Airlines has good coverage out of Toronto, to hubs like New York , Chicago, Washington and Miami to name just a few. As a One World Alliance partner, it makes sense. Also, it’s made more attractive when coupled with the destinations available out of London with BA. Gaining points on the airlines below can be added to your home airline scheme. For example, Avios and Tier Points accrued on a Qatar Airways flight are added to your British Airways account on request.
Points mean prizes
As we mentioned before, the loyalty scheme is a big factor to take into consideration. We will ignore Tier points, and concentrate on Avios. In short, Tier points are used to advance to the different levels of the frequent flyer scheme.
With all BA flights, you get Avios. Based on 6 trips x 3553 that makes 21,318 Avios per year on flights alone. Just as an example, she has family in Bordeaux, so a flight from London Gatwick to Bordeaux would be up to 18,000 plus £50 tax. That is for a business class return. If she were to pay for that it would cost between £200 to £300. The economy option is even cheaper at up to 9,000 Avios return plus £35 taxes peak and 8,000 off-peak.
There are plenty of ways to collect Avios for example, see my article on How to collect Avios for more details. Use Avios to lower the price of your flight. Either using Part-Pay with Avios or you can pay the full flight, minus taxes, with Avios. BA also has its own low-fare finder option see my article on the How to use the British Airways Low Fare Finder for more info.
Also, this site has a better North American perspective, and I was surprised to see Avios being scored so highly.
Conclusions – London to Toronto Price Comparison
Yes, I am biased towards British Airways and the One World Alliance but, based on the figures here of real flights and prices it seems to make sense when counted with the rewards. The free flight to see her family would more than make up the difference between Air Transat and British Airways.
And let us not forget the service and food on BA are much better than Air Transat. Okay, British Airways when compared to Qatar Airways, the service isn’t even in the same league, but against Air Transat it stacks up extremely favourably. Qatar Business Class is like British Airways First.
When considering an Airline, it’s worth seeing what is the best option from your home airports and as the One World Alliance includes American Airlines.
As a side note, based on her frequency of flying she would also accrue enough tier points to become a British Airways Executive Club Bronze member. With this in mind, it would boost her Avios earnings by 25%. Even more opportunities to visit her family in France!
- In this case it’s British Airways and One World Alliance
- This may not be so for everyone
- Your choices depend on price and level of comfort
- Your departing airport makes a huge difference to your choices
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