Flying to Europe: 2009
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
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
new United fare sale to Europe etc
United has just posted vg fares incl. Europe.ie SFO-MADRID $274 one way.
Ca USA Wed 12/30/2009
I rarely post negative things about any company and I always want to be fair. However, with the customer service I received on a recent flight from Germany to Dallas on Lufthansa airlines, I will NEVER use that airline again. The flight attendant was clearly racist and I have never been treated so horribly!!
Humble , TX USA Sat 12/26/2009
Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.parisinfo.com)
UPDATE: Do not make purchases from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (parisinfo.com). They sold me an invalid round-trip ticket for travel to/from Paris-CDG airport, and continue to refuse to make a refund.
ALEXANDRIA, VA USA Wed 12/02/2009
Travel from CDG to central Paris
Don't buy tickets from the website for the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.parisinfo.com). I bought a roundtrip (aller-retour) ticket for the Air France "Les Cars" shuttle bus from CDG to central Paris in advance of my trip. The ticket they sent me was not accepted upon my arrival. Complaints to their website went unanswered.
Alexandria, VA USA Sat 10/24/2009
Turn your layover into an adventure
If you have a long layover at a European hub, the New York Times published an article with some of the best ways to kill time between your flights. Read "Where Layovers Can Be Turned Into Adventures" at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/travel/11journeys.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Pacific Palisades, CA USA Sat 10/10/2009
Lufthansa is Child Unfriendly
Just got back from Germany. Our flight was between Frankfurt and San Francisco for my two children 2 and 4, my wife, and myself. I bought the tickets and confirmed seats 6 months in advance. Then reconfirmed the seats 3 times to be sure. Arrived at check in 3 hours ahead of time. Ticket agent said our seats had been assigned to another family. But "not to worry" they would take care of at the gate. Long story short, got onto the plane, my wife with daughter on one side of 747, my son and I on the other. My son cried his heart out to get to his mother. Only after this did the head steward arrange to have my son sit with my wife. I was placed 20 seats to the rear, which upset my son some more. A Chinese family of 5 had checked in the night before (with confirmed seats together) but were split up all over the airplane. An Egyptian mother had two small children sitting in the row in front of her. The evidence is that Lufthansa does not respect the seating arrangements that it sold to its customers, and pays no attention to childrens' seating needs.
Palo Alto, CA USA Tue 08/18/2009
I found the best fare and connections using http://www.kayak.com/ for our July 2009 trip to Germany. Kayak searches multiple sites (orbitz, cheaptickets, priceline, etc.) automagicly. Sign-up for the email fare alert.. Fares will vary widely depending on the day of the week you buy your tickets, Monday thru Wednesdays seem to have the lowest fares. I paid $662 Raleigh to Nuremburg (including taxes) on a Monday. That same ticket is now $1400!! I expect it will drop again. I had been watching the airfares on www.flycheapabroad.com and it had very good prices and connections too. But the day I want to purchase, the flights for our dates were unavailable and I ended up going through Kayak. Look carefully at the airport connections when comparing flights. The US Air webpage had you flying in and out of different airports (into JFK out LaGuardia!)
Holly Springs, NC USA Sun 06/28/2009
fear of flying
I fly to Europe several times a year and have a real fear of flying. I have taken courses, tried hypnosis and medicine. For fearful flyers, I would recommend British Airways. I have tried many other airlines and find BA flight attendants attentive and knowledgable about fearful flyers. It makes such a difference!
hartford, ct USA Thu 06/25/2009
Venice Airport Arrival
Just back from Venice --best ever arrival. Walking toward baggage claim, I was delighted to see two new ticket machines, one for Alilaguna boat; one for bus into Venice. Machines take paper Euro only; fare on Alilaguna Orange Line ("Arancio") to Rialto was 13 Euro.(I always arrive with 100 Euro in small bills). I got my ticket in one minute, and thus avoided a very large crowd waiting in line at T.I. I walked straight ahead to baggage claim, got my bag -- most efficient. As you exit airport, it's an easy 10 minute walk, on level ground, to Alilaguna dock. Boat trip into Rialto took about an hour and I walked right over to my hotel -- much nicer than taking bus and transferring to vaporetto. Try it!
San Francisco, CA USA Thu 05/14/2009
Emerg Exit Row
While it is true that Emergency Exit Rows do provide extra legroom...Keep in mind that added responsibility comes with that extra legroom! You must meet certain criteria in order to by law be permitted to sit there. It is entirely at the descretion of the Flight Attendants. Also keep in mind that you will receive a special safety briefing and you must agree to assist in an emergency situation. Another regulation is that Children are not to be seated at Emergency Exits. You must be an ABP- Able Bodied Passenger. So if you are required to move it is for the safety of all Passengers and Crew and not b/c we are giving you a hard time. If we dont move you we can be fined for not enforcing the regulations.
Niagara Wine Country, ON USA Tue 05/05/2009
Don't purchase airline tickets too early!
Like most folks I was in a dilemma when was the best time to purchase tickets for 3 to Europe. I had always heard it was better to purchase them as early as possible so I bought 3 tickets to Frankfurt in January for $1255.50 ea for June/July travel. Now those same tickets are $969.20. (and, I purchased them from Houston since it was $170 less per person to go Houston>DFW>Frankfurt than it was DFW>Frankfurt). I contacted American Airlines & was informed that I could get a voucher for the difference by paying a change fee. Well when I called to do that (since I was now $945 in the hole for the 3 tickets), I was informed that the change fee was $250 per ticket, or $750. So, no matter what – I paid $750 more for these tickets by purchasing early than if I had waited until a month or two before flying. And to add insult to injury all the window/aisle seats are still being held for the airport desks to assign, so I am being penalized $750 for crappy seats in the middle since I purchased early. I don't know if anyone has had this experience with other airlines, but we travel to Europe every year or two (often on frequent flyer miles) and I will be researching other airline options and purchasing later from now on.
Austin, TX USA Thu 04/30/2009
For Canadians near US border cities:
I stumbled upon an idea that just saved me $600 on a flight to London! Canadians quickly discover that airfares from Canada are REALLY expensive, compared to flying out of the US. (For example: Air Canada, Vancouver to London= $1200 Cdn. Whereas Air Canada, Seattle to London (VIA VANCOUVER!) =$620 Cdn. It's ridiculous that adding an EXTRA leg to the trip drops the price by half, but that's what Air Canada does to compete with the US carriers.
My first, obvious solution was to either drive down to Seattle and leave my car at one of the private-company airport parking services. This would add $125 to my trip (gas + parking), or alternatively, to take the "Quick Shuttle" bus from Vancouver to Seatac, for $85 round-trip.
However, I discovered an even better option: the "multi-city trip" option, offered on all the travel websites.
This way, I fly Seattle to London, and return from London to VANCOUVER! Only a one-way trip on the shuttle bus required, and the airfare cost is somehow even LESS than roundtrip from Seattle: $596 CDN.
Spending $55 on a four-hour shuttle bus ride saves me $600.
Vancouver, BC Canada Thu 04/23/2009
Book seperate tickets
When booking Tickets to an onward destination such as Israel and you want to spend a week or so in Paris book the trip under two separate tickets. Just recently I booked a ticket on Delta from The SF Bay Area to Paris and return for $970 with a stopover in Atlanta for only 1:20 minutes and one on the return in Salt Lake City.
I was able to get the Emergency Exit row on all flights for extra legroom without the extra cost.
From Paris to Israel I found a $400 airfare on Air France Atalia via Milan and Rome. Even if there is a stop the savings is worth it and it allows me to walk in between flights so it won't seem as long.
When I priced out this stopover the ticket was $1,300 plus 400 or so dollars in order to stop in Paris. This way I can get the ticket with a free stopover with a good schedule. You save the extra taxes this way. I only paid about$130 in taxes to Europe and $212 for the Israel portion.
You can use this tip to fly anywhere in Europe and the world I swear you will see the savings. Just allow 3 hours in between flights on the connection at the airport to the other airport. For baggage check in you will need to show separate itineraries for the agent to manually put the tags to the final destination.
Also you may need to check in at the counter at the European airport since some flights do not pre-assign seats or can enter your frequent flier info.
Be sure you go to Flyertalk.com to look at the Fare Codes for each airline. Delta S class allows you to get the best fare and get miles too.
CA USA Wed 04/15/2009
JFK to ZRH -- wow
Late June-early July RT from JFK to Zurich on Delta $441! In Jan that fare was $1100. Probably won't last long. Check on orbitz
Williamsport, PA USA Thu 04/09/2009
Discount on British Airways Int'l RT flights
Sign up on the British Airways website to have access to their specials. The latest is 30% off round trip international flights. The offer is good through 4/20/09, but you can't access the discount without logging in. There may be cheaper airlines, but we like the direct flights from Seattle to London and we're taking bikes with us and they have a generous bike policy compared to others.
Seattle, WA USA Wed 04/08/2009
cheap spring fares to Europe
Check, Iberia, Alitalia and Lufthansa websites for just announced cheap fares for Spring travel.
Ca USA Wed 03/18/2009
Via Expedia, got a round trip ticket from Denver to Heathrow for $553. Non stop, United airlines, for April.
Boulde, CO USA Tue 02/10/2009
US Airways August big sale to Paris
US Airways sale for mid to late August to Paris jus announced. Sea- Paris rdtrip around $750. Wow. US Airways website and Orbitz.
USA Fri 02/06/2009
Air france Sales to Europe
Great fares for March travel plus $75 coupon. They go to Istanbul, Athens, Rome, etc and Paris is a free stop over. From San Francisco it about $650 incl all taxes. Wish I could go!
Ca USA Fri 01/30/2009
Go directly to airlines website
Just got a RT flight on American from Texas to Paris for around $650 in March. After doing lots of searching, I found the best prices by going directly to the airline's websites. Cheapest tix are not always on expedia, orbitz, etc. anymore!
Austin, TX USA Wed 01/21/2009
Fare drops and using Expedia
We bought our tickets from Denver to Heathrow through Expedia for $664 non stop round trip for April. I changed the seats via United Airlines website directly, and then it changed the itinerary and said they owed us $103 refund due to the fares dropping. We got it back on our credit cards within 4 days. Even though we purchased through Expedia! I bet if we had checked directly with United Air first, we would have gotten them cheap in the first place. Luckily we did get the difference back. Everyone should check their itinerary through the airlines website for fare drops. I know Expedia wouldnt have notified us of this, and they hadn't!
Boulder, CO USA Wed 01/21/2009
When will summer fares drop to London?
Fares from EWR to LON for this summer are still high ($1000-$1100), except for Air India at $670. Anyone know when the airlines' oil contracts expire?
PA USA Thu 01/15/2009
DICCOUNT AIR FARES TO LONDON
I found these discount air fares to London on ?Bestfares.com
To London Now through April 2
From Price Normal Save
New York $379 $558 $179
Newark $379 $558 $179
Atlanta $379 $668 $289
Baltimore $379 $558 $179
Boston $379 $578 $199
Chicago $379 $578 $199
Dallas $449 $608 $159
Denver $379 $608 $229
Houston $449 $608 $159
Los Angles $449 $608 $159
Miami $379 $608 $229
Orlando $379 $618 $239 Philadelphia $379 $568 $189
Phoenix $449 $588 $139 San Francisco $449 $608 $159
Seattle $449 $598 $149
Tampa $379 $638 $259
Washington $379 $558 $179
DALLAS, TX USA Thu 01/08/2009
Good ticket consolidator
I used www.flycheapabroad.com to get my $800 round trip flight to London Heathrow from DIA last month. US Airways. Despite bad review, US Air was perfect in every way, from Diato Phl then Phl to Heathrow. and vice versa on way back. No lost luggage, no delays. I will definately use them again.
Boulder, CO USA Fri 01/02/2009