TYT Original Reporting
By Stewart Mandy
LONDON, ENGLAND – Are you keen to travel to Europe from the Yucatán Peninsula, but scared by the prices quoted by the big airlines? There’s a little known ‘secret’ route to London from Cancun on Thomas Cook Airlines, a British based charter company which also sells seat only deals on its regular flights between the two cities. Operating up to twice a week (Monday and Thursday), the flights are priced as low as US$289.99 one way from Cancun to London; a recent check of availability revealed a wide range of dates available at that price later in the year.
The return flight is more expensive due to the high taxes charged on flights departing from the UK; flights from London to Cancun start at US$399.99 one way. A round trip therefore can be booked as low as US$689.98; round trip booking is not required however, so if you just need to go one way, or plan to return to Mexico from elsewhere in Europe, you can always book in only one direction.
There are a few things you need to know about flying on Thomas Cook Airlines. Firstly, the Mexican departure tax of $800 pesos is NOT included in your ticket and must be paid at the check in desk on departure from Cancun. You can pay in pesos ($800 pesos), USD (US$60) or GBP (£40), cash only. Even factoring this into the total price, it’s still a great deal. While meals are included in the ticket price, beverages (except water and coffee/tea with meals) are not. A range of alcoholic and soft drinks as well as snacks are available for purchase (GBP cash or debit/credit cards accepted). One piece of checked luggage, maximum of 20kg is included, as is a carry-on of up to 6kg.
In London, the flights operate to/from London Gatwick Airport; the city is easily reached by train from the airport in 30 minutes, and the airport station also offers connections to other parts of the country without the need to travel into London, a great benefit if you are heading elsewhere in the UK.
I recently flew from Cancun to London on Thomas Cook Airlines, and found the experience to be pleasant; the Airbus A330 aircraft was clean and fresh; crew friendly; food delicious, and the in-flight entertainment system OK. Other than the need to pay for drinks, there was little to differentiate the onboard product from a supposedly ‘full service’ airline such as British Airways.
Nonstop flights between Cancun and London on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are generally never sold for less than US$1250 round trip (and cannot be booked at a reasonable fare for only one way). With Thomas Cook flights as low as US$750 round trip (when including the departure tax fee at the airport) it represents a considerable saving, and excellent value for money.
Thomas Cook flights departing from Cancun can be booked via the Condor website – www.condor.com – select Cancun as your departure point and London Gatwick (LGW) as your destination, in order to see Thomas Cook flights displayed.
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By Stewart Mandy
Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years.
His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go.
From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.
In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meridawriter, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at www.stewartmandy.com or his blog at http://tolocsandaluxes.blogspot.mx/
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