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Cheapest tickets to Europe from California
Old 05-31-2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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Cheapest tickets to Europe from California

It looks like from California to Europe ticket prices are somewhere in the 1,400 to 1,800 dollar range roundtrip. Has anyone found anything much lower than that over the last year?
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:17 AM   #2
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I've not done this myself, but I have read that if you book a flight to a major airline in the east, then book a second flight to Europe you can save. A family friend did this and saved a few hundred on her flight.
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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I've not done this myself, but I have read that if you book a flight to a major airline in the east, then book a second flight to Europe you can save. A family friend did this and saved a few hundred on her flight.

You may save money, but you have to time it right. I have found that I often have to stay overnight to get catch the second flight, which eliminates most of the savings. (On the plus side it also eliminates some of the jet lag.) Also, you are guaranteed to never get a non stop flight to your destination. And usually, you are guaranteed a very long travel day. Allow plenty of buffer time between your arrival on the east coast and your departure. If airline A is late and you miss you flight on airline B, neither gives a hoot. You get to pay the various change fees along with an undoubtedly higher fare for your new flight.

Summer airfares to Europe are high thanks to a lack of competition, IMHO. Have you checked Norwegian Air or Icelandic Air? If they fly to your destination they may be cheaper. I believe that neither is a part of the code-sharing cartels that control most air travel to Europe from the USA.
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:12 AM   #4
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Clark Howard has some good advice for this.
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:41 AM   #5
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It looks like from California to Europe ticket prices are somewhere in the 1,400 to 1,800 dollar range roundtrip. Has anyone found anything much lower than that over the last year?
I was able to find flights from SFO to Switzerland for ~$1,100 RT on major airlines (United, Swiss, Lufthansa, etc...). I like to travel mid week and off season when possible.
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:57 PM   #6
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I took a flight to iceland via iceland air and was pretty happy with experience ( from L.A) I had a connecting flight thru Seattle . There were some good prices it you are willing to arrange departure days around there "cheap days" Reykjavik is there eastern hub and they go thru to a fair number of western European cities
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:31 PM   #7
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Wanna go to Norway ?

How about:

SFO -> FRAnkfurt -> OSLo (Lufthansa 7/21)
OSL -> VIEnna -> ORD -> SFO (Austrian Air 8/6)

$1238 all in.

And, of course, MUCH cheaper if you can travel after Labor Day (like half price - I see a round trip on Lufthansa leaving 9/5 and returning 9/17 for $628.)
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
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We bought a RT ticket for my wife in mid-September for $1200. I saw cheaper tickets (~$1100), but connection times/flights weren't as good, so we paid extra for the convenience. Not sure when you're looking to go, but summer is always more and it could be late to find a good deal without being creative.

To get a general idea of prices, especially when I have flexibility in when or where we're traveling, I use flights.google.com. You can specify your departure airport and then look to see where in Europe is the cheapest to fly to. For example, I see that to SFO to Milan (mid-July) is $1,442 but to rome it's $1,773. Still high, but according to the map, most places in Europe are around ~1700 range so the Milan flight is a lot cheaper. If you were planning to go to Italy, then it might be just as easy to fly into Milan, instead of Rome, etc.

Just an example, but it's a fun tool to play around with. Usually we don't have any specific place we want to travel to during summer, so a lot of times I'll see where it's cheapest to fly to and there we go.
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:43 PM   #9
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One interesting item I've noted is that it's much cheaper to fly to the US from Europe instead of the other way around. I found a ticket for $987 BA connecting through London for June/July and the options are plentiful. Looks like there's more demand for Americans going to Europe than the other way around. Maybe Clark Howard's right, more people should boycott Europe so we can get better prices.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:15 PM   #10
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My family saved around $250pp to fly CA to NYC (JFK), then a second flight to Europe from there. But needed to book a longer layover as contingency to get and recheck luggage, and in case of delayed flights. Just got back a week ago.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:28 PM   #11
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Check out prices to Europe on Monday and Thursday versus Tuesday and Wednesday. I was seeing $150 price difference pp spending on which day I checked. I'm glad I finally booked my ticket on Wednesday night and glad I didn't wait until Thursday morning

BTW I always buy directly from the airline - easier to select and change seats, etc.

Houston to Amsterdam then Munich to Houston nonstop late August/Sept $1,108 pp.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:15 AM   #12
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You can easily save hundreds of dollars if you fly after the kids start school in September. Also, go to the skyscanner website. It will,list the flights from your departure to arrival and find the lowest prices. You can even view it in a chart so you can pick a flight on a cheaper day. It will save you time and money.




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Old 07-18-2014, 06:00 AM   #13
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Booked to France a couple months ago for upcoming trip in October - $1390 each. Hard to find cheap options over there right now.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:02 AM   #14
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DW just booked Cancun to Paris in September with one stop in Mexico City for $1,350. There were other options that were $200 less but required 2 stops each way and the stop was often in another country requiring the extra hassle of security clearance.

The skyscanner is a nice site. Had not seen that one before.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:54 AM   #15
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Check out prices to Europe on Monday and Thursday versus Tuesday and Wednesday. I was seeing $150 price difference pp spending on which day I checked. I'm glad I finally booked my ticket on Wednesday night and glad I didn't wait until Thursday morning

BTW I always buy directly from the airline - easier to select and change seats, etc.

Houston to Amsterdam then Munich to Houston nonstop late August/Sept $1,108 pp.
I've found Amsterdam and Munich both tend to have lower cost flights. Vienna seems to be the worst. Paris and London are hit or miss.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:49 PM   #16
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I've found Amsterdam and Munich both tend to have lower cost flights. Vienna seems to be the worst. Paris and London are hit or miss.
Flying out of Vienna was too much of a hassle. The other cities have direct flights to IAH. So we're returning to Munich for a couple of days excursions outside of Munich before returning home.

Love the trains in Europe, and on this one I think we'll be on some particularly scenic ones.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:51 PM   #17
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DW just booked Cancun to Paris in September with one stop in Mexico City for $1,350. There were other options that were $200 less but required 2 stops each way and the stop was often in another country requiring the extra hassle of security clearance.

The skyscanner is a nice site. Had not seen that one before.
Cancun to Paris! Dang! That's some living!
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #18
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Check out prices to Europe on Monday and Thursday versus Tuesday and Wednesday. I was seeing $150 price difference pp spending on which day I checked. I'm glad I finally booked my ticket on Wednesday night and glad I didn't wait until Thursday morning

BTW I always buy directly from the airline - easier to select and change seats, etc.

Houston to Amsterdam then Munich to Houston nonstop late August/Sept $1,108 pp.
Has this been booked as a multi-city/layover on Lufthansa's website? I think this kind of arrangement would be more expensive with AA/USairways.

BTW, you also mentioned trains in another post. How/where do you book them? Online via an American vendor or European site with a CC that doesn't charge ForEx related fees? Are these direct tix or EURO passes?
I'd love to test European trains sometime.
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:33 PM   #19
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Cancun to Paris! Dang! That's some living!
That's what retirement is all about, right?
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Old 07-18-2014, 04:48 PM   #20
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I've used credit card points, primarily signup bonus points, to fly friends and relatives RT from Portland Oregon to Palm Springs - one for as little as 22k points, the others for about 30k each (poor timing and accommodating their schedules). I read that Nashville to Milan is about 70k points RT. A suggested way to score the needed points is:

"Citi AAdvantage World Mastercard has a 50k point signup bonus for $3k <spent> in 3 months. If you have some money in index funds, you could also get the Fidelity bonus by moving some assets to their brokerage/funds. Starting at $25k gets you 15k AA points, and on up for higher deposits".

Might be worth getting a card or 4 for yourself and the wife, as long as you are of the pay balance in full each month type. Shoot, Barclays Arrival cards gave SO and I each a $440 statement credit against travel expenses this year - paid for slot canyon Hummer tours and some time at Goulding's Ranch in Monument Valley.
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