‘Open skies’ agreement spells good news for travel to London Heathrow

The “open skies” agreement between the U.S. and Europe goes into effect this weekend. And for those wondering whether this deregulation measure will result in lower transatlantic fares, it seems that the answer is yes…at least for now.

It used to be that only four airlines — United, Virgin Atlantic, BA and American — could fly between the U.S. and London Heathrow. Now under “open skies,” US Airways, Delta, Northwest and Air France are jumping onto this route. And in an effort to establish some kind of position in the market, they are offering competitive fares in the $400-$600 range for travel in April and May.

Carol Sottili, the travel deal guru over at the Washington Post, blogs about the details, including specific London services now on offer from the above carriers.

For the time being, it seems that the opening up of transatlantic routes will really only benefit those heading to London. While “open skies” mean, in general, that more airlines will be able to fly to more European destinations, Sottili points out that those flights are spread out across the continent, so competition between carriers isn’t as fierce as it is with London service.

But as a hub for many budget airlines, you can still leave London for other European destinations relatively cheaply. This way, your first leg to London is now more affordable.