South America has always been reasonably accessible from the UK but over the past year a number of new routes have been added to the main flight schedules meaning there’s never been a better time to travel there. Below we look at some of the key flights you can take from the UK and the various pros and cons of each airline.
PROS: Aside from Sao Paulo, BA offer the only direct flights to these destinations meaning they’re the quickest and easiest option out of London. With connections available from a lot of the regional UK airports it also provides a good option for passengers living outside of London. They’re part of the One World alliance so flights can often be combined with Iberia and Latam. BA also offer Premium Economy for those looking for something a bit more comfortable than Economy Class but without having the pay the huge premium for Business Class.
CONS: The BA flights are often more expensive than the non-direct options so you can pay a premium for the privilege. Although the airline still offers a comfortable service including food, drinks and onboard entertainment, standards and customer service levels are perhaps not as high as they once were.
Iberia offer flights via Madrid to most of the main hubs in South America. Once known for their old planes and unfriendly staff, the airline has invested a lot of money recently to improve the quality of their service.
PROS: Iberia have the most comprehensive network covering the most destinations in South America. New planes have now replaced the old fleet meaning journeys are a lot more comfortable. Passengers travelling with Iberia can access the cheapest Lan Pass rates for flights within South America on LATAM.
CONS: The connection in Madrid can be a little tight especially if flights are delayed leaving London so it’s worth trying to leave yourself a reasonable amount of time to contact there.
The merger of Lan and Tam airlines and the huge network that they now offer means you’re likely to take at least 1 flight with them during your trip particularly if travelling around South America. They offer direct international flights from Heathrow in to Sao Paulo with good onward connections along with a variety of options from London via Madrid.
PROS: LATAM offer the most extensive network within South America connecting most of the main hubs and booking internal flights alongside the internationals will usually make them considerably cheaper. They have also recently opened a new flagship business lounge in Santiago Airport and is unarguably a leap forward business lounge standards for Latin America.
CONS: Options for the international flights are a little limited.
Offering direct flights out of Heathrow in to Bogota, Avianca have expanded their network over the past couple of years and now offer good connections to a large number of destinations within South America.
PROS: The airline offers a daily overnight service with good connections from Bogota to onward destinations. The flight is on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The airline also offer an airpass and can therefore make flights within South America very cheap.
CONS: Flights are only possible out of London and the internal flights offered to travel between destinations within South America are limited.
This Spanish airline offers 2 daily flights out of Gatwick to Madrid where they connect with a large number of destinations in South America.
PROS: The fares are often the best value available. The airline also has alliances with some domestic carriers meaning internal connecting flights can be added on for a cheap price.
CONS: Although the fleet is being updated, many of the planes are old and do not have seatback entertainment. Drinks are not included so must be paid for onboard. Flights only operate out of Gatwick so are not too practical especially for those living north of London.
KLM / Air France
KLM offer flights to South America from a large number of UK airports via Amsterdam while Air France also cover a lot with flights via Paris.
PROS: Offer flights from many regional airports that other carriers do not. The prices are normally very reasonable and both also offer a Premium Economy service.
CONS: The connection in Amsterdam usually involves a long walk so it’s advisable to ensure sufficient time to connect particularly for elderly or less mobile passengers.
Flights to South America from the UK
Thinking of flying to South America from the UK? At Chimu we offer amazing airfares and better yet, we are experts in tailor-made tours to South America, Antarctica and the Arctic. Speak to a Destination Specialist today or drop in to our London office. Contact us today for more information.