Friday, October 22, 2021

NEWS & OFFERS: Red list to be culled and Good Dublin-US/Dubai fares from £1188 – skip UK immigration!

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UK Red list to be culled

I was initially expecting a higher number of red countries to be taken off the red list at the last review. Although they took 8 countries off it still left a whopping 54 countries on the list. Today the Telegraph is saying that next week when the next review is due to be announced (usually Thursday) that the majority of countries will be taken off the list.

It is expected that the number of countries on the list is likely to be reduced to around nine. 

Countries that are predicted to come off the red list are:

  • South Africa
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Cape Verde
  • Indonesia (just in time for Bali’s supposed reopening).
phuket beach

Phuket

Thailand is another option but cases are still very high there so it is borderline. 

There was also speculation that the hotel quarantine would be removed. If the list does go down to a much more rational number of countries, I could see the hotel quarantine remaining. This does seem reasonable in very exceptional cases of countries with a high number of cases of specific variants. 

Great Dublin-US/Canada/Mexico and Dubai fares

Currently, fares to the US are very high from the UK starting at over £2000 expect for JetBlue and TAP. However, starting elsewhere is around £1000 cheaper per person.

While Ex EU fares can be quite daunting in the current circumstances, Dublin actually has several advantages. Firstly, when you come back to the UK you will arrive as a domestic passenger, so no queues. I would consider flying American direct back to Dublin rather than BA unless you need the extra tier points. All their aircraft have 1-2-1 seating which is pretty comfortable and it means then when you arrive in the UK, you arrive as a domestic passenger. Legally you still have the same rules to have a day 2 test etc, but you don’t need to go through immigration. They occasionally do spot checks, so have your testing paperwork handy. 

American Airlines B777-300ER review

AA reverse herringbone seat

Secondly, if you fly out to the US direct from Dublin you can pass through US immigration and customers before you board.

Technically you can do a back-to-back at Dublin but it does require going out through passport control which can be busy at the moment. I usually stay overnight at the airport, although hotels can be very overpriced. The Premier Inn is perfectly adequate and reasonably priced. 

You could choose to route via Heathrow both ways and fly on BA or AA in which case you could either pass through domestic flight connections or the e-gates. Domestic connections were around the same time frame as the e-gates on an average queue length. This is mainly due to very poor organisation as there were only around 20 people in the queue. Every time something was found to be wrong the whole queue was held up while the officer dealt with it. They should simply have one officer dealing with issues and those people have to queue for that while everyone else can go through swiftly. They were calling people forward for their flights at least. The whole process was around 25 minutes. 

If you did the full routing of Heathrow-Dublin-Heathrow-US and return all in Club (positioning flights at your own cost) you would get 440 tier points instead of routing direct where you get 280. 

 

The fares

From Dublin business class return from:

Oneworld

  • Dubai £1209 
  • Denver £1258
  • Phoenix £1258
  • Los Angeles £1258
  • San Franciso £1268
  • Las Vegas £1217
  • Austin/Dallas £1268
  • Chicago £1183
  • Washington £1215
  • New York £1178
  • Toronto £1201
  • Mexico City £1210
  • Cancun £1229

The rules:

  • Book by: 6 month advance purchase
  • Travel:
    • From Europe -Permitted Tue/Wed/Thu on each transatlantic sector.
    • To Europe – Permitted Mon/Tue/Wed on each transatlantic sector.
  • Minimum stay: 24 hours and a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 1 month
  • Transfers: Yes – 2 in Europe each way and then 2 free in US depending on carrier and transfer point. 
  • Stopovers: Unlimited Stopovers Permitted In Each Direction In Europe At Eur 150.00 Each. And – Unlimited Stopovers Permitted In Each Direction In The United States/Canada/Mexico At Eur 600.00 Each.
  • Refundable: See individual airlines policy
  • Changeable: See individual airlines policy

You can book direct with British Airways here or find the cheapest online travel agent price with Skyscanner.

If you have a complex routing, Debonair can help. 

 

Star Alliance or Sky team – these do not include the TAP deals that start from around £950

United’s Polaris business class

The fares

  • Los Angeles £1229
  • Denver £1225
  • Las Vegas £1217
  • San Fransisco  £1220
  • Seattle £1217
  • Portland £1221
  • Phoenix £1217
  • Orlando £1188
  • Miami £1217
  • Atlanta £1217
  • Chicago £1183
  • Austin/Dallas £1220
  • New Orleans £1225
  • Toronto £1208
  • Vancouver £1353
  • Calgary £1225
  • Mexico City £1261

New Orleans

The rules:

  • Book by: 6-month advance purchase – there are some fares around £100 more that do not need 6 months advance purchase
  • Travel:
    • Outbound – permitted Tue/Wed/Thu on each transatlantic sector.
    • Inbound – Permitted Mon/Tue/Wed on each transatlantic sector.
  • Minimum stay: a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 3 months
  • Transfers: 6 transfers permitted in each direction free
    • 3 free in area 2 in each direction
    • 3 free in area 1 in each direction
  • Stopovers: No
  • Refundable: See individual airline policy
  • Changeable: See individual airline policy

You can book direct with Air Canada here, United here or find the cheapest online travel agent price with Skyscanner.

If you have a complex routing, Debonair can help. 

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