London To New York – Which Airline Is Best?

One of the most important aviation links between Europe and North America is the London to New York market. With plenty of daily flights, passengers have a variety of options when it comes to selecting an airline. However, with a lot of choice can come a lot of chaos. Let’s take a look at which airline is the best to fly between the two cities.

London to New York
Which is the best airline to make the 3,400-mile hop from London to New York? Photo: Great Circle Mapper

The methodology

Simple Flying is using the following methodology to rank these airlines. Each airline will be scored out of 10 possible points in the following criteria:

  • Schedule
  • Aircraft
  • Onboard product
  • One-way price

The scale will be from one to ten, with ten being best and one the worst. With that, let’s take a look at each airline in alphabetical order. For the purpose of price and schedule, we will examine two dates. One will be August 3rd, 2019. The other date will be December 7th, 2019. Roundtrip prices are examined based off options across multiple dates and represents pricing across the next six months.

American Airlines

American Airlines is the largest airline in the United States. London to New York is a major route for them. Let’s take a look at what American has to offer.

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An American Airlines Boeing 777-300.
An American Airlines Boeing 777. Photo: American Airlines
Schedule

On August 3rd, American Airlines operates four flights from London-Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport. Here is the official flight schedule:

  1. 9:45AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 12:40PM
  2. 2:05PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:05PM
  3. 5:00PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 7:59PM
  4. 7:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 10:35PM

Four daily flights is a healthy schedule and gives passengers multiple options for departure times. However, American Airlines does not offer any mid-afternoon arrivals or early morning arrivals into New York-JFK.

On December 7th, American Airlines operates three flights from London-Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport. Here is the official flight schedule:

  1. 10:15AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 1:20PM
  2. 2:45PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:55PM
  3. 5:15PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 8:20PM

This is a solid winter schedule when demand to Europe is lower than the peak summer season. American Airlines does maintain a morning, afternoon, and early evening departure out of London. However, the same issues persist above in the sense that there are no mid-afternoon or early morning arrivals into JFK. Nevertheless, this still gives passengers several opportunities to fly between the two cities.

For this section, we will score American Airlines’ flight schedule from London to New York as an 8/10

Aircraft

American flies the following aircraft from London to New York. In order of schedule on August 3rd:

  1. Boeing 777-200
  2. Boeing 777-300ER
  3. Boeing 777-300ER
  4. Boeing 777-200

On December 7th, American Airlines operates the following aircraft:

  1. Boeing 777-200
  2. Boeing 777-300ER
  3. Boeing 777-300ER

Overall, American Airlines operates newer widebody aircraft on these routes. Widebodies do add some more comfort on a flight of this length.

AA 777
American Airlines flies 777s between London and New York. Photo: American Airlines

Because of the consistency of aircraft, American Airlines gets a score of 10/10 for this section.

Onboard product

All aircraft offer business class, premium economy, an extra-legroom economy, and economy sections. However, the Boeing 777-300ERs also offer First Class.

AA 777J
Business class cabin on an American Airlines 777. Photo: American Airlines

Premium economy on the 777s is in a 2-4-2 configuration. Meanwhile, economy is a tight 3-4-3 configuration.

AA 777 interior
American Airlines outfits their 777s in a 3-4-3 economy class configuration. Photo: American Airlines

The soft product on American Airlines is great, but not the best. American Airlines doesn’t have the best catering out there and is not known for having one of the best employee cultures. However, the consistency in product and a modern interior does give American Airlines some additional credibility in this section.

American Airlines earns a 7/10 for their onboard product.

One-way price

A one-way ticket in economy class runs to $1,976. Premium economy costs $2,405. If you want to fly in business class, a one-way ticket costs $8,176. Meanwhile, one-way in First Class comes at $11,805. These prices are valid for both August 3rd, 2019 and December 7th, 2019.

On some dates, American Airlines does offer flights in economy for as low as $450 roundtrip. If you are booking a last-minute trip, prices can range from around $1,500 to $1,750 for an economy ticket. In Premium Economy, on the low end, fares can be had for between $1,800 and $2,400. Meanwhile, business class tickets can be found for around $7,600 roundtrip. First Class obviously comes in higher- around $8,100 for a roundtrip ticket.

These are steep prices for a one-way. However, there is incredible consistency in the cost of these tickets. In terms of roundtrip, prices are based on select dates. Depending on when you have to travel, you can either score a great deal on American Airlines or else will cost a fair bit. For this section, American Airlines scores a 5/10.

Overall

American Airlines scores a total of 30/40 possible points.

British Airways

British Airways has a major presence on this route. As the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, they have significant name recognition. Let’s take a look at British Airways’ offering.

BA A380
British Airways is the flag carrier of the United Kingdom. Photo: British Airways
Schedule

British Airways offers the following schedule out of London on August 3rd, 2019:

  1. 8:30AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:10AM
  2. 9:35AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 12:25PM
  3. 10:50AM departure from LHR and arriving in EWR at 1:40PM
  4. 11:20AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 2:05PM
  5. 1:10PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 4:00PM
  6. 2:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:25PM
  7. 4:15PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 7:15PM
  8. 4:45PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 7:35PM
  9. 4:55PM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 7:55PM
  10. 6:05Pm departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 9:00PM
  11. 7:50PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 10:35 PM

British Airways offers the following schedule out of London on December 7th, 2019:

  1. 8:25AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:25AM
  2. 9:50AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 12:55PM
  3. 10:50AM departure from LHR and arriving in EWR at 2:00PM
  4. 11:25AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 2:25PM
  5. 1:00PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 4:10PM
  6. 1:55PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:05PM
  7. 4:20PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 7:30PM
  8. 4:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in EWR at 7:40PM
  9. 4:45PM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 7:55PM
  10. 6:00PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 9:10PM

Overall, this is an excellent flight schedule. British Airways operates 11 flights during the summer season and 10 during the winter season. With multiple time departures to and from different airports, British Airways takes the cake with a solid 10/10 when it comes to their schedule.

Aircraft

British Airways offers a mix of aircraft on this route. Some flights are operated by Boeing 777s, others on Boeing 747s, and some on Boeing 787s.

BA 747
The 747 flies some flights between London and New York. Photo: British Airways

Depending on the time and the airport, the aircraft will vary. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lack of consistency. Some of these aircraft are also aging quite a bit.

BA 777
A British Airways 777 at Gatwick. Photo: British Airways

For this, British Airways receives a score of 6/10.

Onboard product

Oh, British Airways. Most flights are operated in a four-class configuration consisting of First Class, Club World business class, World Traveler Plus premium economy, and World Traveler economy.

British Airways Club World New York Boeing 777
BA’s current First product as seen on the Boeing 787. Photo: British Airways

When it comes to business class, unfortunately, British Airways has fallen behind quite a bit. Their Club World is woefully outdated.

Club World
British Airways Club World business class. Photo: British Airways

On select flights, however, the new Club Suite 777s will soon be found. Unfortunately, this is not a standardized product across all of British Airways’ fleet yet.

British Airways will fly the new “Club Suite” on select flights to New York. Photo: British Airways.

With personal entertainment on board and a solid soft product, British Airways redeems itself for some of the points lost due to an outdated product. In addition, British Airways offers some excellent ground experiences with lounge access.

Overall, however, British Airways receives a 5/10 for their product.

One-way price

Thanks to British Airways’ tie-up with American Airlines, their pricing is just about identical.

A one-way ticket in economy class runs at $1,976. Premium economy costs $2,405. If you want to fly in business class, a one-way ticket costs $8,176. Meanwhile, one-way in First Class comes at $11,805. These prices are valid for both August 3rd and December 7th, 2019.

Similar to American Airlines, British Airways does offer flights in economy for as low as $450 roundtrip. If you are booking a last-minute trip, prices can range from around $1,500 to $1,750 for an economy ticket. In Premium Economy, on the low end, fares can be had for between $1,800 and $2,400. Meanwhile, business class tickets can be found for around $7,600 roundtrip. First Class obviously comes in higher- around $8,100 for a roundtrip ticket.

These are steep prices for a one-way. However, there is incredible consistency in the cost of these tickets. Unfortunately, British Airways loses some points due to an outdated business class that doesn’t match some of its competitors (or even partner’s) offerings. British Airways scores a 5/10 on price.

Overall

British Airways scored a total of 26/40 possible points.

Delta Air Lines

Delta is an Atlanta-based carrier that is making a splash in the New York market. They have recently made significant investments in the New York area.

Delta A350
Delta is making its presence known in New York. Photo: Delta
Schedule

On August 3rd, Delta offers the following flights from London to New York:

  1. 10:30AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 1:29PM
  2. 5:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 8:49PM

On December 7th, Delta offers the following flights from London to New York:

  1. 10:30AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 2:01PM
  2. 5:15PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 8:45PM

This is a very light schedule on Delta’s part. They only offer two flights between London and New York during both winter and summer. Unfortunately, this means fewer options for passengers.

For this schedule, Delta Air Lines scores a 4/10.

Aircraft

For flights on August 3rd, Delta is flying Airbus A330 aircraft. On December 7th, one flight is operated by a refurbished Boeing 767-400. The other is operated with an Airbus A330-200.

A Delta Air Lines A330 at Amsterdam Schipol. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Delta maintains consistency during the summer. During the winter, however, due to reduced travel demand, Delta does operate the smaller Boeing 767-400. The 767 does offer one of the more comfortable economy class experiences.

For the aircraft section, Delta receives a 9/10 for aircraft.

Onboard product

Delta operates Airbus A330 aircraft with Delta One business class, Delta Comfort+ extra-legroom economy, and economy class. On the Airbus A330, Delta One is a reverse herringbone configuration.

Delta One on an A330 is in a reverse herringbone configuration. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Meanwhile, on their refreshed 767-400, Delta has an upgraded staggered business class configuration.

Delta’s 767-400ERs will have 34 new Delta One seats. Photo: Delta Air Lines

In addition, the 767-400ERs will have Premium Select.

Delta Premium Select
Delta Premium Select Seat on a Boeing 777. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The products are not consistent, however, what really sells Delta’s service is the soft product. The crews are renowned for being significantly better than many other American carriers. Unfortunately, New York-based crews are a little less stellar than other bases. However, their economy service is getting a huge upgrade.

For this section, Delta receives a 8/10.

Price

Delta maintains excellent consistency when it comes to one-way pricing. Economy runs around $2,000. Premium Select is $2,405 one-way. Meanwhile, Delta One is $6,807 one-way.

In terms of roundtrip journeys, economy class can cost as low as $350-$475 on Delta metal. On other dates, economy class costs around $1,400. Premium Select, when it is introduced to London, is available for as low as $1,000 roundtrip. However, as those dates close in, it is expected that Premium Select’s pricing will go up. Delta One can vary from as low as $3,200 to as high as $7,800. These are entirely date-dependent, however.

Delta is competitively priced on this route, and their lower one-way Delta One cost gives them a leg up. Overall, their pricing is a 9/10. Economy class does offer an excellent experience, even in basic economy.

Overall

Delta’s total score is 30/40.

Norwegian

Norwegian is a low-cost carrier looking to give full-service carriers a run for their money.

737 MAX norwegian
Norwegian is a low-cost carrier that has a presence on the London to New York market. Photo: Boeing
Schedule

Norwegian operates the following schedule on August 3rd:

  1. 7:45AM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 10:45AM
  2. 5:05PM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 8:05PM

On December 7th, Norwegian operates the following schedule:

  1. 6:10AM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 9:20AM
  2. 9:50AM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 1:00PM
  3. 5:10PM departure from LGW and arriving in JFK at 8:30PM

Note that all of their flights depart Gatwick Airport in London. Norwegian schedules more flights during the winter season compared to the summer season. That being said, neither schedule is heavy and doesn’t give passengers that many options for flight times. In terms of schedule, Norwegian earns a 5/10.

Aircraft

Norwegian flies the 787 on long-haul flights on their livery.

Norwegian 787
Norwegian flies the 787 to New York. Photo: Norwegian

However, due to various groundings, Norwegian is leasing some aircraft from other organizations. Unfortunately, this means your aircraft could turn out to be an A330 from Evelop Airlines.

Due to some of these inconsistencies, Norwegian receives an 8/10 for aircraft.

Onboard product

Norwegian operates two classes of service. One is premium economy and the other is economy.

Premium economy
Premium Economy on Norwegian. Photo: Noel Philips/Simple Flying

As a low-cost carrier, Norwegian does not offer all of the frills of a typical full-service carrier. This is also true for their soft product. The presentation and food does not compete well against those of British Airways or Delta.

On this crucial business route, Norwegian also does not offer business class in a lie-flat seat. This makes them the only carrier on this route to operate without a business class cabin. In addition, their onboard product can vary if passengers are on a wet-leased aircraft. This can either work out well for passengers or end up being a horrible flight experience. 

For their onboard product, Norwegian scores a 3/10- partially due to the lack of consistency with wet-leased aircraft and dismal onboard product.

Price

Due to their status as a low-cost carrier, Norwegian is very competitively priced. One-way in economy on August 3rd can be had for as little as $670. On December 7th, this drops to $175.

On the other hand, Premium Economy on December 7th can be had for $590. On August 3rd, that goes up to $926.

Norwegian routinely offers economy class products for between $350 and $530 roundtrip. In premium economy, this is closer to the $1,000-$1,500 mark. In either case, these are competitive prices on this route.

For this, Norwegian scores a 10/10. Their prices are unbeatable.

Overall

Norwegian’s overall score is 26/40.

United Airlines

United maintains a hub at Newark-Liberty. Thus, all of their London flights are to this airport as a way to facilitate connections.

United flies several flights between London and New York. Photo: United
Schedule

On August 3rd, 2019, United flies the following schedule:

  1. 7:55AM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 10:55AM
  2. 10:05AM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 1:05PM
  3. 12:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 3:00PM
  4. 4:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 7:00PM
  5. 6:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 9:00PM

On December 7th, United operates the following schedule:

  1. 8:00AM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 11:15AM
  2. 10:15AM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 1:45PM
  3. 12:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 3:25PM
  4. 4:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 7:25PM
  5. 6:00PM departure from LHR arriving in EWR at 9:25PM

United operates a consistent five flights from London to Newark during both the summer and winter season. In addition, their flights operate at multiple times during the day. This is a relatively solid schedule.

For this, United receives a 10/10

Aircraft

United consistently flies Boeing 767 aircraft on this route. Due to this consistency, and the 767 being a comfortable aircraft, United receives a 7/10. The only issue with the 767 is that they are starting to age and do not offer as much capacity as some other aircraft.

United 767
United flies 767s between London and New York. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying
Onboard product

All but one of the five flights United operates between London and New York feature the new Polaris seat in a premium-heavy configuration.

United’s new Polaris seats. Photo: United Airlines

The lone daily flight without the new Polaris is a lie-flat in a 2-1-2 configuration. However, once United does get additional 767s reconfigured, it is likely that all of their daily services will be on Polaris-equipped 767s.

United does also offer a solid soft product. Between upgraded amenity kits and bedding, there is significant comfort available for passengers onboard. In addition, the food is quite nice onboard United.

Overall, for onboard product, United scores a 9/10.

Price

United consistently charges $1,910 one-way in economy class. In Polaris, United consistently charges $7,137 one-way. Currently, premium economy is unavailable for purchase.

United does offer economy flights for as low as $350 roundtrip in basic economy. This puts them on par with offerings at Norwegian- a low-cost carrier. On the other hand, Polaris usually clocks in at close to $3,000 roundtrip. On select dates, this drops to around $2,800 roundtrip.

United’s pricing is not too far off from their competitors. However, their old Polaris product does not compete well against more modern products. As a result, United scores a 7/10 for pricing.

Overall

United’s overall score is 33/40.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic recently celebrated their 35th anniversary. One of their most important routes is New York to London. Let’s take a look at their offerings.

Virgin Atlantic A350
Virgin Atlantic will soon fly A350s to New York. Photo: Virgin Atlantic
Schedule

Here is Virgin Atlantic’s schedule on August 3rd, 2019:

  1. 9:00AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:55AM
  2. 11:50AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 2:50PM
  3. 1:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 4:25PM
  4. 2:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:25PM
  5. 3:45PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 6:45PM
  6. 4:05PM departure from LHR and arriving in EWR at 7:20PM
  7. 8:15PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:10PM

This winter, Virgin Atlantic is flying the following schedule on December 7th, 2019:

  1. 8:50AM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:45AM
  2. 12:30PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 3:20PM
  3. 2:35PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 5:30PM
  4. 3:55PM departure from lHR and arriving in JFK at 6:55PM
  5. 4:05PM departure from LHR and arriving in EWR at 7:30PM
  6. 8:05PM departure from LHR and arriving in JFK at 11:20PM

Overall, this is also a solid schedule to fly from London to New York. Virgin Atlantic receives a 10/10 for schedule.

Aircraft

Virgin Atlantic flies a multitude of aircraft between London and New York. This includes Airbus A330s, Airbus A340s, the Airbus A350, and Boeing 787-9.

VS 787
Virgin Atlantic flies the 787-9 on select flights to New York. Photo: Boeing

This does create a lack of consistency. However, during the summer season, the A330 primarily operates the route while in the winter more flights are operated with 787-9 aircraft.

For aircraft, Virgin Atlantic receives a 6/10 score.

Onboard product

Virgin Atlantic’s non-A350-1000 product from London is standardized as a herringbone configuration. This is in an intimate 1-1-1 configuration.

VS Upper Class
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is either in a 1-1-1 or 1-2-1 configuration depending on aircraft. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

However, on the A350-1000, Virgin Atlantic is introducing an entirely new seat.

VS Upper Class
Virgin Atlantic will debut a new Upper Class on their A350-1000s. Photo: Virgin

The Virgin Atlantic onboard experience is also stellar. Between a currently standardized product and a new product debuting on the A350-1000, Virgin Atlantic has a solid onboard offering.

For their onboard product, Virgin Atlantic receives a 9/10.

Price

Thanks to their partnership with Delta, Virgin Atlantic’s flights can be had for similar pricing. Economy runs around $2,000. Premium Economy is $2,405 one-way. Meanwhile, Upper Class is $6,807 one-way.

In terms of roundtrip journeys, economy class can cost as low as $350. On other dates, economy class costs around $1,400. Premium Select, when it is introduced to London, is available for as low as $1,000 roundtrip. However, as those dates close in, it is expected that Premium Select’s pricing will go up. Upper Class can vary from as low as $3,200 to as high as $7,800. These are entirely date-dependent.

Virgin’s onboard product is similar to Delta’s, however, their new A350-1000 business class is far superior to Delta’s offering. In addition, their pricing is consistent across a broader schedule. For pricing, Virgin receives an 8/10

Overall

Virgin’s overall score is 33/40

The final rankings

Here they are! The final rankings:

  1. Virgin Atlantic (33/40)
  2. United Airlines (33/40)
  3. American Airlines (30/40)
  4. Delta Air Lines (30/40)
  5. Norwegian (26/40)
  6. British Airways (26/40)

Ultimately, it is up to each passenger to decide which carrier is best for them. Other considerations, such as elite status, were not taken into consideration since different passengers have different status and each tier offers different benefits.

These ratings are also quite close to one another. Thus, each carrier is competitive in their own way. Thorough research can help passengers stay informed and make the decision for the best carrier for them to go from London to New York.

Which is your favorite carrier between London and New York? Let us know in the comments!

11 comments
  1. Air India also has a fifth freedom flight ?
    You guys I see always forget important stuff please watch out as you might get a lot of hate for that thankyou

  2. Why are you comparing one-way prices? No one that’s booking those cares about prices. Compare round-trips under similar circumstances – either each during it’s respective fare sale, or all pf them while no one’s having a sale. I think you’ll find that prices among legacy carriers will be very similar (bigger difference between morning and red-eye than between carriers at the same time of day).

  3. It would be interesting to know the average load factors on each of these flights, though I suppose airlines will not divulge such specific information. I would imagine that a lot of the BA flights are (well) below average on load factor…there is such a thing as too much choice.
    I agree with the comments above regarding one-way fares, which, on most airlines, bear no resemblance to “real-life” round-trip fares. In some/many situations, a one-way far is higher than a round-trip.
    What’s certainly clear is that, on legacy carriers, London-New York is a very expensive route! Emirates will fly you round-trip from London to the far east or Australia for a fraction of the legacy economy fares quoted here…and you’ll have the comfort of an A380. Qatar will have comparable fares to Emirates.

    1. BA has a huge number of transit passengers flying to NYC because LHR is BA’s main hub. I don’t think United has many transit passengers flying to London via Newark. The demand for BA is higher simply because the number of transits through Heathrow is higher.

    1. When it comes to value for money, Norwegian Premium is miles ahead.
      You can see why BA is so keen to get their hands on the carrier, no doubt with the intention of shutting them down. I recently crossed the pond with Norwegian flying Premium on an alternative A330 operated by some obscure Spannish carrier I had never heard of.
      The Spanish cabin crew were charming and they kept the Cava flowing.
      It was a hoot.
      By comparison the fares being charged by the established carriers like BA VS AA UA etc. Are a rip off and the service is often dire, depending on the mood of the cabin crew.
      And yes why use one way fares when 99 percent of travellers need to get back?

  4. This whole article is frankly juvenile and about as well thought out and analysed as a high school student might come up with.
    The prices – whose idea was that? One way?
    The whole analysis of the who flies and when isn’t based on the dominant issues here – the joint ventures – the airlines timetables are specifically designed to mix BA/American and Virgin/Delta to give wide aspect all day range. Both sell the others tickets on their website to emphasise this. If you’re going to add Norwegian then you also need to add the other flights from Gatwick that go to New York, which I believe are BA and Delta from memory. You’ll find that the addition of EWR routes also makes a huge difference and it’s just as easy to cross the river from their as it is to get into NYC from JFK. It’s rare I find an article this poor, but this is truly hopelessly thought out.

    1. The article does include flights from Gatwick to New York and flights to Newark. Delta currently does not fly from Gatwick to New York but intends to. Some passengers do have preferred airlines they fly with. Thus, even if an airline sells tickets for a JV partner, it does not mean all passengers would be willing to fly with a partner carrier who may have different policies when it comes to seat selection, check-in opportunities, onboard experiences, etc.

  5. Virgin is my sentimental favorite. Flew with them many times early on, and managed to get free Upper Class for the family twice. Their crew were the Southwest over the Atlantic. My last trans Atlantic was thru American, good product and business like. BA is at the bottom of my list.

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