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Flying from Portland Oregon to Germany

It's still several months out, but I believe in advance planning. We are planning a trip (river cruise departs from Luxembourg) and thought we'd fly to Berlin (never have been there), tour a little and take a train to Luxembourg. However, I was wondering if it's cheaper to fly into Frankfurt than Berlin? Anyone with experience in cost comparing Frankfurt vs Berlin for flights from USA?

Posted by
20569 posts

There is no answer to your question. Airline fare change so frequently that it could be cheaper one month and more expensive the following month. Just use any of the flight search engines and plug in your schedule options and see what the price is. Do it now so you get a feel for the prices. Then watch it for awhile. Who knows -- you might catch a special.

Posted by
2403 posts

It's a very simple thing to check out prices for yourself. Just go to any of the flight search websites, like Google Flights or Kayak.

Posted by
4684 posts

I have no idea. and I've flown from PDX to Europe numerous times. Fares and schedules change every year. The first thing I'd do is go to Google Flights and start checking fares and schedules. Condor does fly direct PDX to Frankfurt, and I love direct flights - I would pay a little more for one though not a lot more. Delta also flies direct to Amsterdam. Same thing - I'd see what prices are. You could easily train down to Luxembourg from there. (Also a direct train from Paris to Luxembourg City.)

But if you really want to visit Berlin first, just do that. Find the flights you want and add a fare notification on Google Flights to notify you of a fare drop.

Posted by
6019 posts

I fly out of PDX also so I keep checking flight prices all the time. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule, but right now looking at dates in May 2020 I found flights from PDX to FRA with 1 stop for $551; flights for the same dates PDX to TXL (Berlin) also with 1 stop were $1100+ (twice as much). That's not always the case and it changes all the time. Moral of the story is that you need to keep checking the flight search websites for the dates you're interested in and compare. Most of my flights to Europe from PDX have been in high season and have always run between $1000-1200 with 1 stop. They're often much cheaper with 2 stops but I don't like taking up to 20 hours to get there. Unfortunately I've never found an affordable non-stop for my flight dates to either of those places. If you really need non-stop flights you'll have to look at flying into Amsterdam and then either a 6+ hr train ride or a short flight to Luxembourg.

Posted by
5552 posts

Considering the total cost of your trip, I would not give up the chance to visit Berlin over Frankfurt. If it a huge difference, fly into Frankfurt and then change planes to a flight to Berlin. We flew non stop to Berlin from EWR, flew to EWR the previous day from LAX.

Posted by
485 posts

I would monitor the airlines you normally fly plus use Google flights to see if there are other opportunities. Right now we are planning a trip to Africa and are monitoring the United Website and Google flights to what is the best and cheapest flights for our trip.

Posted by
4684 posts

If you can, I'd still try to include one of the direct flights to Europe even if you still have a connection in Europe e.g. in Amsterdam or Frankfurt on to Berlin or where ever. Taking a direct flight to Europe from the US means no worry about a weather delay at a US connecting airport or something. If you are delayed getting to Europe, you'll still get there in the morning and have all day to get on to your destination city. Often the prices will be competitive between a connection in say Chicago or New york vs. a connection in Amsterdam. I'd definitely take the connection in Amsterdam if prices are about the same.

Posted by
8 posts

The train travel really changes thinking on destinations. I look to get a direct flight to any of the gateways. Could be London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt or many others. Then look for a fast train to Luxembourg. Berlin, Frankfurt & Amsterdam are all about the same time on the train. I did not look beyond those 3 gateways. It takes a bit of guessing but after a bit you can figure it out

Posted by
433 posts

I don’t understand why more looks don’t use a travel agency. As far as I know, none of the services I have asked my agent to perform have cost me anything at all. And she’s been in the travel biz four decades; she knows how to get the best deals and has connections with other agents all over the world. .

Posted by
2403 posts

I don’t understand why more looks don’t use a travel agency

If your TA doesn't charge to make flight reservations, then you're lucky, and is likely the result of a long standing relationship. . Airlines don't give commissions for flights anymore, so unless a TA charges a fee for doing so they make nothing. Nowadays, with the Internet and numerous flight search engines available, going to a TA just for a flight reservation is outdated.

Our TA has occasionally booked our flights as a courtesy when booking complex vacations. But for simple trips, it's just as easy to DIY online or by phone.

Posted by
333 posts

Randomly thoughts.

Flight costs are illogical and unpredictable, example it is very often cheeper to fly from Chicago to Detroit and then to Europe then it is to fly from Detroit to Europe on the exact same aircraft at the exact same time... example two many times it is cheeped to fly to Europe from the west coast then from Detroit even though Detroit is a couple thousand miles closer..,
So no one can truly answer that question.

Personally I prefer to land in Europe in my chosen destination and make connections in the US. As I prefer not to have to go through immigration during a layover as that can so radically very in time required. But YMMV.

Posted by
57 posts

Check Icelandair. We fly from SeaTac. Earlier this year i purchased our airfares to Frankfurt and back from Berlin. Dec 16 to Dec 28. I think i paid around 900. These are basic economy, which comes with checked luggage and reserved seat.
This is a one stop flight.

Posted by
6019 posts

The Icelandair flights I saw from PDX all were 2 stops, first stop being SEA, then KEF, then destination. So we have to endure that add'l stop in SEA. Flying from PDX can sometimes be a pain.

Posted by
5450 posts

PDX non-stop destinations are primarily North American. See: https://www.flypdx.com/NonstopDestinations
It appears that other than Delta to AMS, and seasonally to LHR, flying from Portland OR to Europe is a multiple leg journey. Competition is good for lower prices.

Posted by
4684 posts

The last few trips to Europe, I've used Alaska miles to fly on partner airlines (AA partnership is ending next year; Delta partnership ended a few years ago). I've taken advantage of Alaska's free stopover to stop on the east coast to visit family, then taken direct flights from PHL to Europe. That has worked out great. I'm really going to miss the Alaska-AA partnership. Will probably focus on AA miles from here on.

I've taken that direct Delta flight (even back when it was a Northwest flight before the merger) a few times to AMS, and it is truly awesome. (I have some Delta miles saved up too and will probably use them one day for one last direct flight to AMS.) I've also done changes at US airports on the way to Europe a few times and been lucky with connections, but I would be worried about delays and not getting to Europe same day. I've had plenty of delays on domestic connections including being stuck overnight. It wouldn't be nice to start a trip to Europe by being a day late getting there...

Posted by
66 posts

If you can fly out of Seattle, there's a non-stop on Lufthansa every afternoon. It will save you money rather than flying out of PDX.

Posted by
6 posts

These are wonderful suggestions and I will certainly take them to heart. We tried on our last trip to fly out of an airport with a cheaper flight to Europe. We had to pay over $200 for a hotel and then there's the added frustration of clearing security an extra time. If we didn't have to do an overnight, we'd consider flying out of SEATTLE.
We are also considering flying to Frankfurt, taking a train to Berlin, but then we'd have to train back to Luxembourg. I'm checking flight costs daily just to see. But it's apparent that flying from PDX to Frankfurt is ALWAYS cheaper than Berlin. Who'd thunk it?
Thanks for the suggestions on Iceland Air, I have Alaska miles that I could use.

Posted by
346 posts

Last summer we flew PDX to Frankfurt, returning from Munich for about $640. This was booked on Air Canada. We had a layover in Vancouver, then flew on Lufthansa to/from Germany. You might watch fares into/out of Munich as well.

Posted by
1504 posts

You don't mention where your cruise ends and where you want to fly home from. This will influence the total price of the trip and whether it is cost effective to fly to Frankfurt or Berlin. Doing a multi-city search on Google flights for your travel dates will help you identify cost differences (e.g., search PDX-FRA, return city-PDX)

PDX is my home airport and I have taken the Amsterdam direct flight many times and love it. I'm testing out Icelandair in two weeks.
Icelandair has seasonal direct service to KEF starting in about May and ending in October. From KEF they have many direct flights to Europe, including Berlin and Frankfurt (depends on the day of the week). You have to pay attention on Icelandair pricing, typical base fares do not include checked bags or meals (but you an add those on).

Side note - if you take the train from Berlin to Luxembourg it's going to take the better part of a day and several transfers (a 7 hour journey by a very quick search on bahn.com). There are cheap flights on Ryanair and EasyJet from Berlin to Luxembourg that may be more efficient (note both those carriers have extra charges for luggage, etc.). Use Rome2Rio to identify options.

Posted by
6 posts

RE Reply from "CL" Salem,
Thank you for this information; it's quite helpful. Our cruise starts in Luxembourg and ends in Basel. I've check flights out of Basel and they seem expensive. I appreciate the suggestions that you have made; esp re: train from Frankfurt to Berlin vs air travel. Rick Steeves does suggest that sometimes in Europe it's more economical to fly vs train. I'm watching airfares from PDX to both Frankfurt and Berlin. We really want to see Berlin this time around because I'm not sure we'll be going back. We've even thought about renting a car. I don't mind the connection in Iceland as long as it's a direct flight from there. They do seem the best option. Thanks again.