Flying to Europe: 2008
How do you find the best airfare to Europe — on a flight that's cheap, convenient, and reliable? Rick and the ETBD team usually let their trusted travel agents do the work for them. But some people prefer to research fares online and and make the reservations themselves. What's your strategy and why?
If you have questions about flying, we suggest you talk to a travel agent. You can also check out Rick's advice on flying.
Read the Distillation: Best Tips for Flying Smart, 2005
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I just booked Northwest flight to Europe from USA (frequent flyer miles)-no $100 charge. It did cost $20 for using phone instead of website. Changes made to reservation after midnight the next day incur $100 fee. According to website there is no charge for your check-in bag on international flight, but $15 for domestic.
WA USA Wed 11/26/2008
In response to the post about the Frankfut airport below: We also tried to get a VAT refund there and had the same problem. The airport is huge and that in itself makes it less user friendly. However, this year we flew in and out of Munich and had a great experience. It is a smaller airport, has great transportation into the downtown area and everyone there was friendly and helpful. We also had to come back after a week to pick someone up. We were not sure how that would all work out, but with the size of Munich airport it was easy. My husband circled around while I went in and waited where people exit into the terminal. Very easy.
Everett , WA USA Mon 11/24/2008
Airfare - vayama.com
I got a great airfare on non-stop flights from Chicago to Paris, Rome to Chicago on Vayama.com for travel in September. Close to $400 cheaper than any other travel site including AA's website.
Chicago, IL USA Thu 11/13/2008
Aer Lingus great fares
Ck Aer Lingus for a Dublin, Ireland destination or to hop on a Ryanair cheap flight for elsewhere in Europe. Or ferry over to Wales from Dun Laoghaire just a short distance by bus south of Dublin.
Ca USA Mon 11/10/2008
This is not about airfare but about an airport. We just returned from a wonderful trip to Switzerland and Germany. We flew home from Frankfut airport. This has got to be the most non-user friendly airport we have ever been through. We arrived at the aiport by train from the Rhine valley. This is a train stop just for the airport but there was no information in the train station concerning departing flights and it was difficult to even figure out how to get from the station to the terminals. When we finally found the terminal, people at the information kiosks were not helpful. And forget about getting a VAT refund. Before security, they would not let you get your refund on purchases you had in your carry on. After security, they said you had to do it before going through security and in a different terminal. Finally we just gave up. We arrived at the airport 3 hours early for our flight and needed 2 hours of that just to get through the airport and to our gate. I will not fly through Frankfort again. We also talked to other travelers who told us it was a very confusing and frustrating airport so it was not our experience alone.
Baltimore, Ohio USA Thu 10/23/2008
Flying Air One from Rome to Dubrovnik
We booked our airline passage from Rome to Dubrovnik well in advance of travel on the internet. We received confirmation of bookings but subsequent communication indicated that Air One was incapable of handling the payment aspect over the internet. I contacted them directly by phone to settle the payments, but they still could not handle the payment. They assured me that bookings would be held in our name and we could pay upon arrival in Rome. I documented all conversations, printed all communications and crossed my fingers. Upon arrival in Rome we encountered refusal by Air One that we had confirmed bookings. We produced all documents and still were met with icy refusal and with only one hour to make our flight we were informed we could find seats if we paid a considerably higher amount than what we were originally confirmed. We flatly refused and were met with cold indifference until we elevated our outrage and finally were handled by a more senior representative and the issue was resolved. I would caution anyone about booking on line with this airline company and suggest that a booking of this nature be done through a travel agent.
Calgary, AB Canada Wed 10/15/2008
Save money - fly through Ireland!
I discovered through numerous trips that flying in or out of Ireland saves HUNDREDS of dollars over Britain or the continent. I fly into Dublin and take a Ryanair flight to another city, then fly home from the continent. It saves me an average of $500 per itinerary. Continental flies to Dublin and Shannon with good service. I depart from Texas and connect through Newark or Chicago.
Georgetown, TX USA Tue 09/09/2008
Portland to Paris in February
For those of you who have flown to Paris in February before, how late did you wait to buy your ticket? Rick suggests only a month prior due to the low season.
Portland, OR USA Thu 08/21/2008
Buyer Beware - I would avoid booking a flight via Kayak and Sky Bird Travel. Airlines will not provide customer service to Sky Bird customers (at least that's the case with NW/KLM); Sky Bird will not provide customer service to Kayak users; and Kayak will not act on complaints about Sky Bird. I paid >$3,000 for three round-trips to Istanbul, and lost all access to routine customer service just because I used Kayak to find the fare. Never again.
New York, USA Tue 08/12/2008
Northwest just announced that frequent flyer trips will have a $100 charge and EVERY checked bag will be +$15. They did not put a start-date in the newspaper article.
Port Townsend, Wa USA Fri 07/11/2008
$ to use f/f miles
some airlines are going to start charging to use your frequent fly miles starting in aug so far on the news tonite it listed united usairways and delta use'm up folks !
plymouth , pa USA Fri 07/04/2008
Sleeping on the Plane/Jet Lag
I'm getting ready for a trip to Scotland, and am reviewing all my travel products. Just thot I'd pass along my favs for sleeping on the plane:
Komfort Kollar: The BEST head/neck pillow I've ever used. Designed to hold the head up from EVERY angle (tip: get the smallest size for your neck measurement, because you can expand it). Combined with ear plugs and an eye mask, I slept like a baby on my last flight from Hawaii (where I was living at the time) to Ireland. (www.magellans.com)
No Jet Lag: Again, flying to Ireland from Hawaii (11 hrs time diff), I got there in the early morning, and had NO jet lag....felt like a million bucks and was off to Dublin for the day. I also was instantly adjusted to the Ireland time zone. Same thing on the flight back. All natural, no side effects. (www.drugstore.com)
Lynnwood, WA USA Sat 06/21/2008
Great summer fares by cheaptickets.com
Check out the low fares from west coast to europe on Cheaptickets website. approx $950 all taxes incl.
calif USA Thu 05/29/2008
Helpful info for budget travelers
As budget travelers with two kids, we go wherever there is a good deal. Our rule is NEVER pay more than $500 for airfare including all taxes and fees. We have a "life list" of places we want to go and track prices on Kayak.com. They have a email service where they will email you when a route gets below a certain point. For example, France was near the bottom of our list in terms of priority when I saw a fare for $271 from our hometown of Spokane to Paris. We booked it and had the best time! This summer we really wanted to go to Italy, but fares were too $$. Instead, we're flying for $400 each (including tax) to Dusseldorf on LTU nonstop. We'll then rent a car and drive to Italy. It would be even cheaper to take a budget flight to IT, but we want to see the Alps enroute. Overall be flexible about dates and destinations and you can travel much more frequently. Also, I don't think the convenience of open jaw warrants the extra $, especially for four tickets. It's easy to plan a fun circuitious trip from any airport. Or for our France trip, we rented a car and drove to the far south end of the country. There we returned our Paris-rented car (small charge) and took the bullet train back to Paris. Finally if your hometown airport usually has expensive tickets. Try booking from JFK or WAS. Then find a cheap way to these larger cities. For our Dus trip, we booked the tickets from JFk and are using ff miles to get to JFK from Denver. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time (4 hours) to make the change. Finally, we take our kids out of school to capitalize on a good deal. Our Duss trip this summer would have been $300 more per ticket if we had waited to the end of the school year. Instead our older son will miss the last four days of school, which we don't think is a big deal. Good luck.
Laramie, WY USA Mon 05/19/2008
Check weight restrictions before buying!!!
A ticket was purchased for me by my employer- and I learned that one of the connecting legs is with Meridiana- which has a 8kg limit for carry-ons! (Only one at that!) The equipment I'll be carrying will push me over that limit- and I may end up having to pay an extra fee!
Lakeland, Fl USA Fri 05/09/2008
There is no Too Early
There is no "best time" to book fares. I've purchased as early as 11 months before and got an incredible deal from Knoxville, TN to Zurich for a base fare of $350 in June. I've waited as late as 3 months prior and snagged a deal from NorthWest that was actually a data input error on their part for the price of a ticket to London in June...but they DID honor their error.
You must research the prices enough to know when the price is average, good, or fantastic. There is no set timeframe for good deals.
USA Tue 05/06/2008
Buying fares too early is not recommended
Waiting about 2 months before you book your flight is the best, that is when the best deals pop up. Earlier than this is not recommended since when the seats first become available they are priced high. This is my experience.
At the 2 month mark it's best to check the fare repeatedly over a 10-day period to see the trend.
Los Angeles, CA USA Mon 04/21/2008
Travel Agent Advice
I wasn't sure if contacting a travel agent was the way to go - with service fees and all - but I contacted a local agency in Magnolia (Seattle) and loved it. The agent got me a fare lower than online, did the research and even with the $40 service fee saved me over $150 on my airfare. I would suggest trying....it can't hurt to have some professional advice.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 04/18/2008
I'm leaving from Seattle going to London on April 23rd, 2008 and I bought my ticket back in August. I used the website statravel.com, which is a student discount site and got my ticket for only $740 total. I highly recommend this site for students or anyone under 26.
Edmonds, WA USA Fri 04/04/2008
Maybe not so good to book way in advance?
We are planning on taking the Turkey tour in April 2008 and planned back in early November 07 to purchase the airfare at that time. Since we wanted to fly into Istanbul and out of Athens, we thought we should go through the travel agency recommended by ETBD instead of doing this online which I have done in the past. All we wanted them to do is book our flight and that came to $2600 for two. By doing this early, were hoping that we would grab a lower fare! I've since found out that not only is it easy to book "multi-cities" online, the fares turned out to be better in middle February 08, and we could have saved over $350 by waiting (this includes all taxes plus agency fee we paid). Has anyone else had a similar experience by choosing to wait? It's really hard to know when to jump. By the number of carriers we had to choose from in Feb, it seemed that there were plenty of seats available for the non-stop flights we wanted.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 02/15/2008
Cheap Airfare to Europe
I just got roundtrip tickets to Madrid for $563 each, for trip leaving Dulles (Washington, DC) to Madrid April 21. This included an open jaws return from Seville. Lowest fares I found were on Iberia website: www.iberia.com/us . Prices seemed to go up on the weekend, then drop on Monday or Tuesday. This was by far the cheapest fare, even searching other sites for Iberia flights (kayak, orbitz, etc.) If these rates still hold, it may be cheaper to take an Iberia flight, then fly/train within Europe to your destination.
Yorktown, VA USA Sun 02/10/2008
Cheap Airfare to Europe
Forgot to add: this is a nonstop flight. Iberia also runs nonstops from Boston, so this may help you, Molly.
Yorktown, VA USA Sun 02/10/2008
looking for cheap airfare
Does anyone have any hints for finding cheap flights to Europe this spring from the East Coast. hoping to travel in late April...I know the dollar isn't going to far, and the airfares are looking outrageous!
boston, ma USA Fri 02/08/2008
New, big Delta fee
Delta is now imposing a new ''Delta supplement'' of about $200 on trans-Atlantic tickets originating in Europe. So far, this is not yet in all markets in Europe but will be shortly and will also in the future include tickets originating in the US. Not only may this fee raise the cost of purchased Delta tickets, but it will raise the cost of using SkyMiles by about $200 for a European ticket, once fully implemented. This will be a huge devaluation of SkyMiles.
Ala USA Sat 02/02/2008
Airfare to Rome
Thanks for the tip, Jeff. We booked on Iberia as well for our air to Rome for our cruise in June. We also paid $850 RT. I know it could go down in Feb., but this year it may not, so I think it was a good deal. You're definitely right that it wasn't posted on any other site.
Boston, MA USA Sat 01/26/2008
Go to the source - worth re-mentioning
We are traveling to Italy in June. We checked orbitz, travelocity, expedia, all the consolidators, etc. etc. and the cheapest fares we found were on Iberian Airlines, for $1250 - $1500 each. On a lark, my wife went to Iberian's own website . . . and found the exact same flights we'd been planning on getting elsewhere, for $850 each. We bought three tickets for $2550, where we had been planning to spend $2700 to $3000 for only two tickets. Exact same flights. I'd never found a decent fare on an airline's website before, but this situation has made me a believer in what others have said. We saved $1100 just by going to the airline's site.
Fort Worth, TX USA Wed 01/16/2008
Beware of Kayak Deals
Kayak,beware they do not search ALL options.
Kayak completely ignores some airlines. It keeps sending me alerts for these great "deals" it has found for me, only thing is they are at least 300 to 400 dollar more then the flight I just booked. !! I emailed them and they asked which airline,, I told them, they haven't replied back... guess why..LOL
canada Sun 01/06/2008