I posted this in the Africa thread, but figured Euros might have valuable input as well So i have been planning my trip for 3 months now, and will be buying my plane tickets to Tanzania soon (yay!). I am moving to Moshi, Tanzania to volunteer for a year. I am not going to be paid for this entire year, and am leaving a very stable, good job to do it, so the financial aspect is very important that I have enough money saved to last for the year, and I cut whatever corners i can.
Starting point: Austin, TX
Option #1:The cheapest flight (one way) I can find from the US to JRO (Kili Airport) is $899 + taxes and fees from Washington Dulles. I have a free Southwest Flight anywhere, so getting to DC is no problem.
Option #2: I also have 30,000 AA miles, and can get a ONE WAY flight from Texas to London Heathrow. From there, i can get a round trip flight to JRO - Kili for only $450 + taxes. This way will save me about $700, but I wanted to know how feasible/difficult it is to have a one-way flight to heathrow, and then a second leg of the trip that is round-trip to Africa? I hear Heathrow is very strict on destination flights, and I don't want to get stopped or stuck there, unable to travel because of being held up in customs or because I only had a one-way flight to get there.
Does Option #2 work? please let me know if you have traveled through London in a similar fashion!
Instead of comparing prices without taxes I strongly suggest you look at prices with taxes. Taxes vary according to destinations, it can very well be that flying into London ceases to be a bargain once you add in the taxes.
What is more - when flying to Kili direct from the USA you get a return flight. When flying back to the USA you'll get only as far as London. You'll then be forced to take a one-way flight and nobody knows how much that will cost you in a year.
That aside I don't see any problems with your plan to fly via Heathrow to Tansania. Getting through customs won't be an issue if you flash your tickets to Tanzania. You just should plan on a lot of time between the two flights to be on the safe side. You might even want to spend a few days in London if you have never been before. Of course this won't be for free and it is bound to add to the overall travel costs, but if you stay at a hostel it won't be that expensive.
BTW, have you looked at flights out of Frankfurt too? IRRC AA also flies to Frankfurt, can't you use your airmiles to fly there?
Excellent points. What do you mean that if I fly direct, I'd get a return flight? Both of these options are for one way flights. I chose one ways for a couple of reasons - they give me flexibility with the date I am going to return and also they give me the ability to return from somewhere other than Tanzania, in case I wander to another country
Question about the taxes - I am assuming my airlines miles won't cover them? Like, I'll get the flight but will still have to pay for taxes and fuel charges? Are they really that much? With my flight from Heathrow to Africa, I was able to click through all the way to the payment screen to see how much taxes/fuel charge would be. However, because i don't have all 30k airline miles yet, I can't see the taxes on a flight from the US to Heathrow/the total amount of my "free" ticket yet.
Both of these options are for one way flights.
My mistake. I thought you where looking at return flights bc they are often the same price or cheaper as one-ways. If you will be volunteering for a year it makes sense to assume that you'll be flying home after that. I know it can be difficult to find return flights when the flight back it more than a year in advance, but there are some companies out there offering this. Maybe flyingbob has some tips on which airlines to look at.
BTW, have you sorted out your visa for Tansania yet? Considering African bureaucracy that part must be a real pain.