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Airlines

Charter and
low cost airlines

Avro(for Monarchflights)

Easyjet

Fly Thomas Cook

thomson logo

Scheduled flights

British Airways
FlyBMI

Flights to Cairo
(see text)

Flight brokers

The following brokers rarely find good prices for charter flights but will find scheduled services mostly via Cairo

Expedia

ebookers

Insurance

It is usually cheaper to buy insurance independently than through a tour agent. Check the insurance page.

 

Booking flights from the UK

Charter flights

Security Situation

Please check the 'Security Situation' box on the front page to read about the latest government advice and flight availability

 

Charter flights are usually cheaper than standard scheduled flights but they are also more basic, generally have a lower baggage allowance and you will pay for drinks. Usually, the meals are optional, in which case you will also pay for something to eat.

There used to be many more charter flights to Luxor. XL used to fly to Luxor on Mondays but went into administration in September 2008. Amongst the rest there have been lots of mergers, which have reduced the options. Many of the remaining airlines have simply decided to stop flying to Luxor since the political troubles.

Charter choices

Manos, Aspro, Panorama and Airtours were already part of MyTravel. MyTravel and Thomas Cook have also merged making all of those brands part of the same company. Thomas Cook have since closed the brands Aspro, Manos and Panorama. If you go to the MyTravel web site, or the web site of these or any of their other brands, your flight enquiry will be redirected to Thomas Cook. However, Thomas Cook stopped flying to Luxor at the end of Spring 2013. The company still sells hotel rooms, but you will have to use another airline. For package holidays this will normally be Thomson.

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In short, for charter flights, you now only have Thomson. Check whether the Egyptair price will be better by the time you have allowed for luggage, food and drink.

 

First Choice have joined Thomson as part of the Tui group. There are still flights under the First Choice brand but increasingly the planes used will be branded Thomson, even if you book a First Choice holiday.

Cosmos and Monarch are the same company. They do use Monarch for package holiday purposes but by and large they have reverted to Cosmos for package holiday purposes and Monarch for airline and flight purposes. Their flight-only sales are booked through Avro, the charter and scheduled flights part of the Cosmos / Monarch group. However they stopped flying to Luxor in 2013 and have not yet indicated whether or when Luxor flights will resume. Their Summer 2015 schedule has been published and does not mention Luxor.

Other companies go to Luxor, but they use one of these airlines. For example, VJV and Olympic have packages to Luxor, but they do not have flights of their own. They buy seats from another charter or scheduled airline. When you book with Olympic you may think you are getting an Olympic Airlines flight, but it will not be an Olympic plane, it will probably be Thomson.

Thomson have traditionally been the most popular choice, because their seat pitch used to be the most generous and their food was reputed to be good. However, since the merger with First Choice they have generally been regarded less favourably. Their competition now that that the other charter companies have pulled out is the scheduled flights by Egyptair, who have better luggage allowances, free food and drink and much more legroom.

Thomson are especially stingy on luggage. Count the cost of hold luggage (£48 unless you have a Thomson package) and bear in mind that they apply their 5Kg hand luggage limit strictly. If Heathrow is not too inconvenient, and if you can manage Monday flights, Egyptair are definitely worth a look in preference.

Low Cost airlines

None of the low cost airlines flew to Luxor until 2010, when easyJet started a service (from November 3rd 2010). It went from Gatwick on Wednesdays (except in the middle of summer - see table) and returned on the same days of the week. In the winter there were also Monday flights. However, flights stopped altogether in mid 2013 and easyJet have not indicated that they will resume.

The flights were 'no frills', but as the charter flights are a bit crushed with payments for extras, and getting more like 'no frills' airlines than they used to be, easyJet was certainly worth thinking about and was our airline of choice for London - Luxor flights when it operated. Their leg room is much better than the charters. If you can be very flexible with your dates you can find really good ticket prices.

Scheduled flights

'Full-frills' scheduled flights are generally more comfortable and you get free meals and drinks, but they may be more expensive than charter and 'no-frills' flights.

Egyptair and BMI still codeshare the only scheduled direct flights from the UK to Luxor. They fly from London Heathrow (terminal 3 until early 2014 when they moved to terminal 2). The frequency of fights can vary through the year. For much of the year there are only direct flights on Mondays from London. When this flight is full, and for the rest of the week, you will be offered a flight via Cairo from London (or Manchester via Cairo since June 2013). Egyptair still share these services with BMI in spite of the take over of BMI by BA.

Other scheduled airlines fly to Cairo, possibly with another European stopover, but only Egyptair fly from Cairo to Luxor. If you want to go to Cairo for a day or two en route to Luxor, British Airways, Iberia, KLM and Al Italia are amongst your options as far as Cairo, in addition to Egyptair.

Baggage

Now that the no-frills and charter airlines charge for baggage, you may wish to consider the amount you can take, and the cost per bag, alongside the ticket price when choosing an airline.

This chart illustrates the different baggage allowances of the no-frills and charter airlines flying to Luxor from the UK. We check these figures from time to time, but do check your ticket or with the airline before you fly to make sure there has not been a recent change. The numbers relate to basic allowances per adult for Luxor flights when booked online. They may be different for shorter and longer flights, flights booked as part of a package holiday and flights booked via a call centre or shop. For example, on some package holidays you get 15Kg included in the package price, whereas flight-only tickets sold by the same company usually exclude baggage or sell you an allowance of 20Kg. Additional allowances can usually be bought.

Most of this chart is academic, as Thomson are the only charter company still offering flights to Luxor!

If you are travelling flight-only and arranging your hotel separately, and if they resume Luxor flights, easyJet is a good option if you can fit all your luggage into a 55cm case. You will not then need to check in any baggage. Be aware, though, that you will also not be able to take anything that is forbidden by airport security, such as sprays, liquids in bottles more than 100ml or even nail clippers!

Airport Lounges

One of the worst bits about any holiday is waiting around in the departure lounge for the flight to be called.

It isn't so bad for first class passengers, who have special lounges. But not all is lost, as some lounges are available to all travellers, including people travelling on charter flights. You just have to buy a lounge pass.

Lounges usually offer free drinks (soft, hot and alcoholic), free snacks, newspapers, magazines and internet. Check the specific lounge for details, but most of these are available at most lounges and most if not all of these perks are usually free. A couple of drinks, a snack and a wi-fi connection would cost a fair bit in the departure terminal, so getting all these free results in savings which reduce the effective cost of the lounge.

You have to wear smart casual dress (no shorts, baseball caps etc) and there are often restrictions on children and larger groups, so again, check the specifics for each lounge.

You can sometimes book into the lounge just by turning up, as long as they are not full, but it will cost a little more (typically 20% more). To be more certain of admission, and save some money, you can book in advance.

The cost to use lounges varies from one to another, but at the major airports expect to pay around £20 - £25 if you just turn up or £16 - £20 if you book in advance.

Web sites such as Lounge Pass list available lounges in the UK and abroad, tell you the costs and let you book in advance at a discount compared with the 'turn up' price.

 

 

updated October 2014

 


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