Flying to Europe
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.
Timing / Price
We shop 6+ months before our trips and usually book when the price is under $1000 RT, and have not seen them go down. Our favorite is Icelandair which flies out of Minneapolis spring thru fall. Last year they stopped serving free meals, oh well, still love em.
Lakeville, MN USA 05/18/2013
With all the recent airport delays I found a good website that will display current delayed airports in both the US and Europe, it's called www.myairportstatus.com. It helps be able to see both when you are flying back and forth between US and Europe.
Dallas, TX USA 05/05/2013
Done with Delta Airline
I have flown three times with Delta to Europe (France 2001,Spain 2010 and France 2013) and in both trips, I was separated from my family on the flight home. Bought my tickets two months before travel. Had checked in the flights all the way back to LA only to be removed from my seat at boarding and placed in another section of the plane, while a stranger sat next to my niece and sisters. Planned and saved two years for each trip. I have complained, written letters, etc and Delta has had little response other than "operation necessities." 10 yrs as a frequent flyer.
Los Angeles, CA USA 04/28/2013
Flying from PDX to Europe
I started traveling to Europe early last year and my first flight had two layovers. It took 16 hours to get to Dublin. Later found out there are direct flights to AMS from PDX.
So now, its direct to AMS and use AMS as my hub. Sometimes I stay overnight there and then fly out the next day. Sometimes not. Depends on how I feel in my planning.
I used Skyscanner mostly, but with Kayaks "mulit-city" option, it's nice to use.
What I found out is that sometimes you have to try different days/times and places to go into to find the best price.
Portland, Oregon USA 04/11/2013
Flights from Pacific Northwest to Europe
I've been using Kayak recently to find a good price for the long distance from Oregon/Washington to a starting and ending destination in Europe. Once there, we can hop around with rail or Ryan Air, or other means; but getting there is the big one. Kayak has been very helpful, as you can use the site for flexible days (within 3 either way), and they even send you updates periodically on the cheapest and best deals. I'm currently using Ireland as a starting and stopping point, and the prices are down to around $835 for the best round trip. Obviously, it depends on what time of year you want, but I'm retired and can take anytime; but prefer early fall or late spring, before the big rush and high prices start in earnest.
Vancouver, Washin USA 04/02/2013
Iberia to Madrid
Iberia - great flight Chicago to Madrid. Business class (same as First) had seats that became flat so it was just like a bed. Service was very good.
san antonio, TX USA 02/14/2013
Finnair is good
My hometown is in Luzhou, a city at the southeastern part China's southwestern Sichuan Province. From May in 2012 when Finnair opened the new routes between Chongqing and Helsinki, I have developed a habit that 200-kilometer-away Chongqing is departure city to Europe for those in the Southwestern part of China, including citizens in Sichuan province, Guizhou province and Yunnan Province and even China's central Hubei and Hunan province. The Finnair price is acceptably cheap for you if you book your flight from Europe to Chongqing, and when you want to have vacation in Europe, Finnair is always your best choice. This is because the flight from Chongqing to Helsinki is landing frequently earlier than scheduled, sometimes it would be half an hour earlier than estimated landing time. As a majoy hub bridging Asia and Europe, Finnair, as well as Helsinki airport, grew and prospered, facing to more tourists and discovering larger Asia markets.
Luzhou, China 02/12/2013
Buy Plane Tickets Directly from the Airline
Another vote here for buying plane tickets directly from the airline. If you buy from Cheap Tickets, Expedia, Travelocity etc, you are usually buying a lower fare class and with that comes less rights and protection should something happen. For example, you can more easily get bumped from the seat(s) you selected, you may not be able to check in on-line, and you may have to check-in for every flight segment to get boarding passes and seats. Furthermore, I have found little or no difference in fares.
Lafayette, LA USA 02/02/2013
Never Fly United!
I will never fly United Airlines again! We saved for two years to take a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean. We used frequent flyer miles but the airline forgot to process the transaction and cancelled the ticket without telling us. We didn't find out until we went to check in online the morning of our departure. After two hours on the phone, they agreed to rebook us, but by then the flights were full. When we called the Customer Service, we were bounced from person to person, department to department, and disconnected repeatedly. They refused to give us a letter so we could collect from our travel insurrance, so we're out all our money. I used my entire vacation time for the year on this trip and I never went anywhere! I will never fly this airline again!!!! I will be posting this review on every single online review site I can find.
West Boylston, MA USA 11/04/2012
Third Party Purchase of Airfare
As a frequent flyer and spouse of an airline employee who works in customer service, just know that buying air tickets from a third party (Expedia, Travelocity, ravel agent) is great until a problem occurs. Any problem will have to be worked out by the company that issued the ticket and standing at the airline ticket counter will, more often than not, get you nowhere. I always prefer to deal with the "horses-mouth."
Parker, CO USA 08/12/2012
Shopping for flights
I did a lengthy search for airline tickets to Rome back in February. I spent a lot of time using sites like Travelocity and Expedia. Over a few weeks I must have checked flights 100 times and the site that always came back with the best fares was TripAdvisor.com. They also have reviews on hotels, restaurants and sites worldwide.
Narragansett, RI USA 08/05/2012
Swiss International air
I just returned from E Europe on Swiss air. For less than $1000 rd trip from Callifornia. Maybe this will help others searching for lower fares.
Ca USA 05/28/2012
Sorry to say, while we got a direct flight and a good price, Briitish Air seats were terrible. Granted, we were in Economy, but the areas were unbelievably smaller than any other airlines we have flown. The seats in front of us reclined so far back we would not get out of our aisle seat without climbing over the armrest. We will never fly BA again!
Stockton, CA USA 04/25/2012
Travel to Spain
I have family in Madrid and wanted to go visit, but I knew the cost would be a bit much, but took the advice from an airline pilot I met once and looked at travelling on Tuesdays, and as early as I could book the flight.
In late October, I looked through Kayak, got directed to Vayama.com and found a flight from Tally to Madrid...in March. Roundtrip for only $709 (!), and I bought travel insurance through them for $39.
Spring is an amazing time to visit Spain as you beat the tourist crush of summer as well as the heat. It was quite cool and the trees still had no leaves on them, but no matter. It was wonderful.
The difference between Tuesday travel and other days was several hundred dollars.
I flew Iberia out there, and AA on the way back. No issues, except that the Miami terminal/ port of entry is a MAJOR pain, taking upwards of 2 hours to get through.
Tallahassee, FL USA 03/18/2012
Flying To Europe - Alitalia Airlines Is Horrible
We would like to add a belated second to the motion made by Marianne of Kirkland, WA on 07-21-11 that one should NEVER fly via Alitalia Airlines. On a 2010 flight from Chicago to Rome ( Booked via Gate 1 Travel ) on an Ilitalia plane we experienced the same things Marianne mentioned, plus the seats were worn out & horribly uncomfortable ; we would have been better off sitting on wooden crates. It was our worst flight ever. Fortunately for us, our return flight was on a Delta Airlines plane & it was a wonderful flight.
Leslie & Bill Nix
Palatine, IL USA 03/08/2012
Best European Travel Agent
I do allot of european travel. I allways look for the best travel deals. In the USA I use Tripadvisor. For Europe travel I've got to know a travel Agent in Holland that always gets me the best deals. Example cheap flights from Orlando Sanford to Amsterdam, or any othe locations in Europe. Also, finds vacation deal, hotels etc. Her Name is Lia Pordon Travel Agency Holland International Address: Passage 105, 3431 LN Nieuwegein, Netherlands Tel: 0031 306040801 FAX 0031 306032594 e mail: lia.pordon@email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
She has made train reservations for me, and discount air flights all around Europe. She can also set up tours, and vacations. I'm allways looking for the best deals at the lowest cost.
Auburndale, Florid USA 01/18/2012