Flying Within Europe
These days you can often connect European cities by air as economically as by train. Any good or bad experiences flying within Europe? How about the cut-rate European airlines? Are the various air passes worthwhile?
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Schlipol airport nightmare
Schlipol airport connection was a nightmare because passport control took over one hour. We had a 1 hour, 45 minute window between flights but almost missed our plane. No explanation why 200 of us were made to wait like cattle to pass through passport control. We also did not have time to get our VAT stamp so we could get the sales tax refunded because of passport control delay. Will try to avoid Schlipol airport in future.
Portland, Oregon USA 09/16/2012
RyanAir is a RIPOFF !!
RyanAir looks inexpensive until you book your Flight. What you initially think the Fare will be can triple. Select a Seat = 10 Euro. Use OnLine Booking = 12 Euro. PLUS numerous other Administative Fees, Etc. They are also very RUDE and ARROGANT.
Burlington, WA USA 09/01/2012
Ryanair Rip OFF
Hi there, Have you been a victim of Ryanair's automatic local currency deduction from your PrePaid Credit Card? If so, this will help ruin their financial system and give you a few CHEAP flights. AND IT IS LEGAL!! Until they wake up to their problem and have to redesign their system
What you do is to get a Prepaid Credit Card. If you live outside the UK all the better. Then all you do is to load it with say a 1000 YEN. Thats about 10 Dollars. Now if you live somewhere that has a more valuable currency, when booking your flight just give the credit card details and Ryanair automatically assumes your Yen are your local currency. SIMPLE AND FEELS F***ING GOOD!
It might be good to circulate this on Twitter too. Cause chaos at RYANAIR! AND Mastercard who obviously support this scam.
Melbourne, Vic Aus 07/30/2012
Gatwick Connection to Central London
Just found an "EASY BUS" connection from Gatwick Airport to Central London-Earl's Court for 2 pounds. They pick up at both North and South terminal. It may not be the quickest, but very convenient. I booked my ticket on-line with only a small fee. EASY!
Park City, UT USA 05/16/2012
CDG Air France Regional Airline Connections
A 90 minute connection allowance for Paris CDG may to tight if it involves arrival on an Air France Regional airline. The smaller Air France aircraft disembark passengers at remote locations, transporting passengers from aircraft to a remote passport control checkpoint by bus, the re-boarding on a new bus to Terminal 2. The ride from passport control to the first stop is about 14 minutes then another 4 minutes to the second terminal stop. If passport control is busy, you may miss the first bus and have to wait 10+ minutes for a second. Bottom line is that 90 minutes may be tight to make a connection.
Medford, OR USA 03/21/2012
Good Flight on Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines was great. Got bumped off a flight because AA somehow did not book it for us even though our tickets indicated booked. Got a flight with Turkish Airlines. It was like the days of old. Free drinks, food on real plates. Yeah
Visalia, CA USA 03/20/2012
When I booked my flight from London to Bergerac on Ryanair, I had to pay outragous hidden fees. I had to pay 20 pounds per checked bag per flight. For this reason, I only put one checked bag on, but I still had to pay 40 pounds. Then, I had to pay 6 pounds per person per flight, which I thought was a real ripoff. Since my son and I are going on the flight, I ended up having to waste 24 pounds on this useless charge. Then, they make you pay a 24 pound administration fee. Now, I'm not sure if that is a ripoff, but it was a lot of money for nothing. They also offered to send me a text message on my phone for 1 pound, but I declined, since they were already sending me a text message. They also offered to give me travel insurance for the flight, but be warned, you can not get the travel insurance if you live in the USA or Canada! I hope that this information helps you in your trip-planning.
Columbia, MD USA 08/04/2011
Beware of AirItalia
They allow only one bag per person check in. Extra bags cost 60 euros each, no matter what size or weight! Carry ons are limited to 8 kilos each!
Hockessin, DE USA 07/10/2011
Checking transportation alternatives with a different website
There is this new travel app called rome2rio (www.rome2rio.com) that might be handy for fellow travelers.
It would be just another Kayak, but it has two distinctive features: is focus on displaying alternatives rather than prices, it includes (in Europe) trains and flights available from a given place with travel times and it also has a easy-to-check list of destinations reachable by each transportation from a place.
I'm not affiliated nor connected to them, just wanted to leave the tip. I read many questions on the Travelers Helpline about "how can I go from München to Venezia" - this app/site is perfect for that type of question.
Tilburg, USA 07/01/2011
Small carry-ons ONLY!
Flyer Beware! Carry-on luggage on inter-Europe flights has much smaller allowable size restrictions than international flights. Your luggage that meets carry-on size for international flights is probably too large for inter Europe flights. How do we know? A very annoyed cabin crew on an inter-Europe flight informed us we could be denied boarding by not checking our international sized carry-ons. In the end they creatively stowed our bags in the crew closets. The Finnish-Polish passengers were not amused. On our next leg - Poland to Germany - we checked our bags and each carried on one small item - purse & backpack - No Problems!
Irvine, CA USA 06/24/2011
Experience with Easy Jet
Just an FYI- I used easyjet.com for booking plane tickets from Paris to Toulouse. They do charge for using a credit card (about 12 euros). The website is also not intuitive or comparable to more commonly used US travel websites such as travelocity/expedia, etc. So even though the original price may seem cheaper than some of the other airlines, by the time they are done tacking on extra fees and charges it may not end of being...
San Jose, CA USA 04/30/2011
Lufthansa: A blizzard was heading to Ekaterinburg, Russia, and the Lufthansa non-stop from Frankfurt had to make what-if plans for landing elsewhere. First, the flight was full, so in order to take on the extra fuel that was needed for an alternate site, the pilot offered cash to anyone who would rebook. No takers. So, the pilot announced that we would be departing a bit late because he had to file flight plans to land in Warsaw and take on extra fuel. So, we departed 90 minutes late; stopped in Warsaw for extra fuel; and landed in Ekaterinburg, where there was no blizzard. Changing flight plans and making an additional landing are not simple or cheap. Lufthansa and that pilot were absolutely outstanding, and because they took care of us so well, I shall always fly Lufthansa it they go where I am going.
Dallas, TX USA 03/29/2011
Terrible Customer Service
Galactically Inept - Lufthansa - don't fly if you want your baggage to arrive in the same country as you...
Lufthansa is the ABSOLUTE worst. The following link details my husband and my awful customer experience at the hands of Lufthansa. It has contact information etc. If my post helps other people avoid my experiences, that at least some good will come of it.
Washington, DC USA 01/07/2011
Nightmare return to US
Flyers beware: I just returned from Germany and had the most horrific experience returning via Luftansa.
We were delayed in departing from Hamburg to Frankfurt due to fog in Frankfurt. After a late departure and circling Frankfurt we landed 10 minutes before our plane was to depart to Charlotte. Needless to say we missed it but there were many that missed flights also. So many that Luftansa hearded us to a seating area to rebook us. We were told to take a number and when it came on the screen, we could go to the counter and rebook. There was approx 1000 people there.
As I said, the plane landed at 11:30am. 11 hours later our number came up for rebooking. Yes, 11 hours. We were told that if our number came up and we didnt report we would have to get another number and start again.
At 10:30pm, we were rebooked this time flying Luftansa to London, British Air to Washington, and United to Nashville. Flights to London and Washington were fine - no delays, on time. Passport control and customs didnt really have a long line. Rechecked our bags and proceeded to our game for departure at 10:00pm to Nashville.
Got to the game 1 minute after they had shut the door to the plane (9:50) and was sent to United's customer service for rebooking. The best they could do was booking us the next day on a 4:50pm flight. They wouldnt put us up at a hotel as it wasnt their fault - said to contact BA. The United CS reps and their superviors were the most unprofessional idiots I have ever seen in the airline industry.
Lesson here is to beware if you are delayed in Frankfurt. Could be a nightmare.
nashville, Tn USA 10/28/2010
flying to Europe
It is Sunday 26 Sept. British Air posted an alert on their website. There is a strike in Spain planned for 29 Sept.which will distupt flying to Barcilona,Madrid and Malaga. This will also affect flights to rest of Europe.BA is already prepared to change dates of departure and offer refunds. If your flying you may want to check with your airline.
Portland, Me. USA 09/26/2010
Worst Flight exprience !
My friend and I booked a flight leaving from Split,Croatia to Amsterdam Saturday Aug 21,2010. Our flight was supposed to leave @ 1600, but there was no flight. @1700 we heard an announcement that the flight was cancelled and no reason was given why. There was no easyjet representative to helps us out. We were put on our bus made to grab our luggage and kicked out of the airport.When we called easyjet helpline the representative said there was nothing she could do for us and the next flight leaving to amsterdam was on tuesday. We even asked if easyjet could at least get us to london the next day and we would find another way to amsterdam.We had such a limited time in amsterdam and had booked our accomadations flying to amsterdam on tuesday did not work for us. The representative said there was nothing they could for us and the best she could do was to refund our money,so we accepted our refund. We stood in line for three hours to by tickets on another airline only to find out that easyjet was giving free flights to amsterdam the next day, but because we were misinformed and we got a refund we were kicked off the plane's passenger list. In the end we had to pay 500 euros and fly with another airline. Advice: pay a little more and fly with a reputable not budget airline. Second, don't accept a refund because then the company can pretty much screw you over...
Vancouver, BC Canada 09/15/2010
Try Flybe airline for flights in Europe. The earlier you book, the cheaper the flight. You do get charged for every little thing, but even then, the prices were very reasonable. We have learned to carry food on board. Even a sandwich bought in the airport is cheaper than on the plane. Also you can always take an empty water bottle through security and fill it up while you wait for your flight.
Visalia, CA USA 08/29/2010
Took EasyJet from Basel to Amsterdam and a very pleasant and economical way to make that trip. I highly recommend EasyJet. I had made reservations and paid for my travel months ahead of time by using EasyJet website - very convenient and easy to do.
LIncoln City, Oregon USA 08/26/2010
Italy Domestic Flights
While I had no problem using the Air Italy web site to book a Naples/Catania flight, I had a problem with the Wind Jet site ( must be a special format to enter the required phone numbers that I was unable to figure out). But with an email to their booking centre - see their website contacts- along with my phone number with the international access code, an English speaking phone rep called me back, made the reservations for me, and emailed the reservations back to me. Might be more efficient to send them all the pertinent details, and have them call just for the credit card number.While Wind Jet does have some baggage limitations/fees, we really appreciated their extra effort in tracking us down for our Palermo/Pisa flight.
Edmonton , Canada 07/29/2010
Ryanair - no email contact and exorbitant exchange rates
Know that Ryanair allows one to book online, but you cannot get in touch with them online. You must either phone them in Dublin, no 800 number, or write them at WHQ in Dublin. They charged me an exorbitant exchange fee from sterling poinds to US dollars for my checked baggage in May 2010 - 2.57. It should not have been greater than 1.60 at the most. I wrote them a letter about this on May 28, 2010 and have not heard from them yet. I first used an email address, email@example.com, which was returned to me as invalid. I did find an email address on the internet, firstname.lastname@example.org. I emailed them and the email was not returned, but I have not heard from anyone yet. It looks like Ryanair is charging a very high exchange rate with all their reservations, so you have to be careful to charge in sterling pounds if they allow you, which was what we did with our reservation itself, but we did not have the choice when we paid for a checked bag. My main issue is that if you have any type of problem and want to contact them, it is difficult and costly. I don't think it is right that they allow you to reserve online, but you can't contact them online. I know I will never fly with them again. If you choose another cheap airline in Europe, I would recommend you check the website to be sure you can contact them online. The money I saved was not worth the aggravation.
Westbrook, CT USA 07/18/2010
EASY JET CHANGE FLT FEE
Dear Mr YARBROUGH,
Thank you for contacting us.
I am pleased to confirm that flight dates can be changed online for an administration fee of £25 per passenger, per flight plus any difference in the seat price. This must be done at least 2 hours before departure. Unfortunately, flight time changes are not possible if any journey in the booking has been flown or any unused flights are in the past and any bookings containing multiple sectors must have the same passenger name on all sectors. To make a change online, please log into My easyJet.com section.
You can also make a change to ypur booking by calling our Reservation Centre on 0905 821 0905 (calls cost 65p per minute; calls from mobiles and other networks may cost more) where the administration fees are £37.50 per flight per passenger, plus any difference in the seat price. For more information on our change policy, please visit easyJet.com by clicking on the following link:
I do hope I have been able to answer your question fully. To update your query please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.
Customer Service Representative
Murphys, CA USA 06/25/2010
EASY JET RIP OFF
On 19 Jan 2010, I booked a this flight. On about April 27th or 28th I considered switching this flight from Rome Ciampino To Paris Orly to a flight from Venice to Paris. Our plans had changed and we were not going to be in Rome the evening before our flight. We explored the option of changing our flight but found it was going to be over $300 to do so.
The solution was to take train 9405 from Venezia S Lucia, Italy, to Roma Termini, Italy, and then bus or taxi (45 Euro) out to Ciampino. This would require changing hotels (65 Euro/night) with a 30 minute train ride to Venice train station, to a hotel (95 Euro/per night) located in Venice 10 minutes from the train, since we needed to be on an early TGV to make all this work. The next requirement to do this was to make and pay for a reservation on the TGV, that was about 45 Euros. AS you can see we had additional expenses to make our flight, but still less than rebooking from Venice to Paris.
So on April 29 we embarked on our journey, first on the TGV. When we arrived in Rome we found an internet cafe and I was going to check-in online and discovered that our flight reservation had been changed to much earlier in the morning. Not sure how to resolve this issue we proceeded to Ciampino to speak with Easy Jet representatives.
Well that was a joke, since you do not have ANY employees at the airport I could find. So NO SOLUTION was going to be easy. We tried to check-in for our flight and we were informed that we had missed our flight. I was then directed to "Easy Jet Customer Service", not actually your employees but contracted. While I was waiting in that line I was also on an international call on hold to your customer service, 25 minutes on hold to the UK.
It was finally my turn to speak to your "contracted Customer Service"and the lady explained she would not be able to help me that I had missed my flight. With her limited English it was difficult for her to understand exactly what had happened. She called your customer service number in the UK and I finally spoke to somebody that said "You (as in me had) changed the flight your flight, sorry you missed it."
Time was running out for check-in, a solution did not seem to be coming anytime soon. I tried to explain that I had not done so but your customer rep said according to the your computer it was showing I had done this.
The only thing I had done online was to explore the possibility of changing our flights from Venice to Paris as I previously stated. We were down to less than 5 minutes before check-in was going to be cutoff. My only option was to pay the $585.98 for two new tickets. And contact you later. , When we boarded the aircraft the was a slight delay as there was a security issue. Apparently, per the flight service rep as she was speaking to the flight attendant, "...luggage for Jeff and Deborah Yarbrough is on the flight and they had not check-in."
Well actually we were sitting in the from row and that was how I heard this conversation. We were actually on the passenger manifest TWICE.
I have filed a dispute with my credit card company. I should not have to pay for a flight TWICE. I have also posted this on the internet on a very popular travel website. I want my fellow travelers to beware of how you do business.
Please let me know how this situation can be resolved. I will update my posts on the internet to let everyone following how this is being handled.
Murphys, CA USA 06/24/2010
New Ryanair currency conversion ripoff
Ryanair has some good prices but you have to watch them like a hawk on junk fees, some downright dishonest. For some time, they have been offering to convert the currency of your online purchase, but avoided telling customers that it was an exhorbitant rate, often 10 cents more per euro than the interbank rate.
I guess enough people were figuring out that ripoff and unchecking the box because now they have hidden it in a very underhanded and dishonest manner and you can easily not know you are being charged the ripoff conversion until it is too late.
The purchase page shows the purchase price in large numbers in euros, but halfway back in small numbers and in parenthesis is a US dollar figure with an icon beside it saying ''information''. Unless you click on that icon, you will never be offered the screen to decline their ripoff conversion by unchecking a box. Any normal person would think they are being charged in euros until they get their receipt and suddenly find it is in dollars instead and at a terrible exchange rate.
Chisinau, n/a Moldova 05/31/2010
Skyscanner inaccurate pricing
Anyone using the Skyscanner website(www.skyscanner.net) should know that there is a glitch in their pricing software: Flights on Germanwings out of Prague are being shown as very inexpensive but are not. E.g. a 1-way flight from Prague to Cologne is listed as $6.97 but turns out to cost over $200. (The website apparently cannot read more than 999 in currency units; germanwings flights out of Prague are priced in Czech korun; so the quoted price is 99 Kc when the price is actually 4,099 Kc.) Skyscanner is aware of the problem, but everyone using them for flights priced in Czech korun (& possibly any other currency with many units to the dollar) should be on their toes.
Baltimore, MD USA 05/01/2010
beware some route indexing and flight search sites
I am struck how even well known travel sites like Expedia may not list or sell flights (within Europe) by less well known European airlines - I guess the ones from which they do not get commission. This is worth bearing in mind when researching flight options.
This article usefully highlights the shortcomings of some websites listing flights:
Des Moines, Iowa USA 02/23/2010
I read this today. To see luggage fee summaries by airline, go to: http://luggagelimits.com Select AIRLINE, then DEPARTURE & ARRIVAL airports. I checked Vueling Airlines between Seville & Barcelona. The summary described what I found on the Vueling web site.
I travel light (even for a 3-week trip) -- ONE Rick Steves' rolling suitcase (less than 25 lbs) & ONE over-the shoulder bag (less than 11 lbs).
Per Vueling's rules, it appeared my rolling bag 'might' be too large and/or my over-the-shoulder bag would be considered a 'second' piece of luggage, so I said I'd check my suitcase and paid the 10 Euro luggage charge at booking. (It's 20 Euros if paid at the airport.)
I didn't want a hassle at the airport. The flight is the next to last night of my trip, so I'm not quite as worried. (I NEVER willing check a bag!) LOL. For more info regarding vueling.com, please see my previous post. Hope this helps!
Durham, NC USA 02/07/2010
Rick Steves mentions Vueling Airlines in his guidebooks -- it's a discount airline in Iberia. (www.vueling.com). I booked a one-way flight from Seville to Barcelona.
If you try to purchase a ticket online, please be aware that your credit card # might be rejected. I tried my Master Card first -- rejected. I tried again, and soon my phone was ringing. (It was a recorded call from Master Card stating that irregular activity was attempted using my card #.) I can understand why, Vueling is an European airline and web site.
So, I tried my American Express card, and it was rejected, too, but this time when my phone rang, a real person came on the line. He wanted to confirm that I was indeed trying to charge an amount to Vueling. He entered the required authorization, and my charge went through.
Also, be sure to read the 'contract of carriage,' and pay close attention to the luggage restrictions (extra charges). They also charge you if you want to pick a seat and use your credit card (!) -- but their price is still lower than alternatives.
Durham, NC USA 02/06/2010
Gatwick Airport transfers--be alert
Travellers going through Gatwick should be aware that the shuttle between the North and South terminals is currently out of commission and has been replaced by shuttle bus service. South terminal can't be avoided if you want to make travel connections by train to London or elsewhere. Budget a little extra time to make the transfer, particularly as the signage on arrival at South is nearly non-existent when connecting with trains.
London, UK 02/04/2010