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Looking for airfare advice, from you travel savvy pals!

I'm going cross-eyed trying to find flights for a reasonable price and reasonable travel time.

In 2019, a wonderful person here told me about Norwegian air for $423 from LAX to Paris, which is no longer available.

Lufthansa took us directly from San Diego to Munich and back in 2022 which was fantastic!

Now, I'd like to fly from San Diego (LAX if necessary) to Rome, on August 23rd,
and Paris to San Diego on Sept. 9. Prices are very high, and some routes have multiple stops.
I prefer direct flights, although one stop is OK. I'm not picky with the airline.

I would love your input/advice!

Thank you!

Posted by
210 posts

I assume you mean "non-stop" when you said you prefer 'direct" routes. There are no non-stops to Rome from the west coast. We have the same issue in Seattle. When we flew to Rome in October, we connected through AMS. I'm not sure you can get a non-stop from CDG to SAN, either. Check Google Flights to see what the options will be.

Posted by
357 posts

You might check Aer Lingus because I think they have nonstps from LA to Dublin. Then in Dublin they connect to Rome, or from Paris on your return. I have flown them several times and was quite pleased.

Posted by
763 posts

There are no non-stops to Rome from the west coast.

ITA Airways might disagree with the above statement - they fly nonstop to FCO from both Los Angeles and San Francisco - I believe five days per week. Of course, nonstop flights being popular, they are often more expensive.

Unfortunately you want to travel during peak season and Italy is probably the number one destination during this period of revenge travel, with France not far behind.

Prices are, of course, much more reasonable outside of peak season - April, for example. And that is probably not the option you'd like to hear.

Posted by
16492 posts

ITA flies non-stop from LAX to Rome. My sister has used them several times.

A roundtrip flight to Rome and back on those dates is $1282. I did not check multi-city with a return from Paris, but they partner with Delta so it should be possible. If not, you could book RT Rome with a nested RT Rome to Paris and back on a low-cost carrier. Just do not fly back to Rome the same day as your homeward return flight.

Posted by
6788 posts

Some general tips:

  • There are no tricks, no secrets, no insiders - just computers and databases. You can search them lots of ways.
  • Remember, you are shopping for tickets to/from some of the most popular destinations in the world, at peak high season. Demand is high, prices have gone up. It is what it is.
  • Whatever you end up finding, do yourself a favor and book directly with the airline you'll be flying, not with some 3rd party (they won't save you any money). 3rd party search engines can be great and are often very helpful when searching, but book your ticket directly with the airline (you'll be very glad if/when anything goes sideways).
  • Avoid some "Frankenticket" cobbled together by a website; buy a single ticket to avoid surprises and potential hassles.
  • If all you care about is price, it'll be pretty easy. But maybe you actually do care about others things.
  • Look very carefully at all the details of the ticket before you buy; many cheap tickets do not include things you might care about (a checked bag, a carry-on bag, seat selection, ability to change/cancel, etc.).
  • You will pay more for a nonstop flight (if you can find one - they're very scarce for west coasters).
  • If you are willing to be flexible about various things (date, time, connections) you may be able to save some money.
  • Many airlines have priced "pain mitigation" into their tickets - they know people want fewer stops, reasonable layovers, etc., so they'll often charge more for tickets with the things you want, and charge less for tickets that inflict greater pain and inconvenience - hoping you will buy your way out of misery.
  • Flying mid-week often (though not always) is a bit cheaper. Flying around weekends often costs more (because that's what most people want).

I did a couple quick 'n dirty searches on your dates, and I'm finding what look to me like decent cheap tickets (by today's standards), roughly $600-$700 each way. You might get lucky and find something cheaper than that, but maybe not. Take a look at Westjet for the outbound (via Calgary) and Jetblue (via Boston) for the return.

Good luck.

Posted by
1824 posts

For those who can fly out of San Francisco. United is supposed to start flying nonstop from SFO to Rome this May. Service using 777. Not clear if it was seasonal service or intended to be year round.

Posted by
210 posts

I stand corrected! Hopefully, the prices will come down for those flights.

Posted by
6788 posts

For those who can fly out of San Francisco. United is supposed to
start flying nonstop from SFO to Rome this May. Service using 777.

Yes, for $1638 each way. That's definitely buying your way out of some misery. Convenient, maybe not for those highly price-sensitive.

Not clear if it was seasonal service or intended to be year round.

Looks like it's seasonal (ends October 26). I'm sure this flight will prove popular. It's always good to see new nonstops from west coast airports to Europe - we need more of them. Italy is badly under-served from west coast cities.

Posted by
18288 posts

You do yourself a disservice if you dont sit down at a computer and open Google Flights (or presumably one of the other search engines) and look for yourself. Then you can make personal choices of leavig a day early to save $300 or staying a day later to save $200. You can choose if you want to save $100 for a 58 min layover or if you will feel better paying $100 for a 2 hour layover. You say you want non-stop, well, you need to decide if the extra $500 is worth it. Basic Economy / Economy / Economy Plus / Business the differnece can be thousands of dollars. You get to choose.

Basically no one can do a better job at this than you can. No one else can make those personal judgments. No one on the forum knows about flights that are not on the search engine. There are no secrets or learned wisdom beyond, look, search, evaluate and track the prices.

Posted by
1443 posts

I remember when we could fly non-stop from San Diego Int’l to London on British Airways, nonstop to Amsterdam on KLM and to Frankfurt nonstop on Lufthansa. Those were the good ol’ days!

Go to www.Google.com and search for “flights.”

Search for a “multi-city” ticket and for your first ticket enter “SAN” (San Diego Int’l Airport) for your departure airport and Rome (any) for the arrival airport.
Then enter Paris (any) for your departure airport and SAN for the arrival airport you’ll be able to see what flight combinations and prices are available.
My go-to site is www.Skyscanner.com when I’m searching for airline tix. You’ll see various prices available through consolidators such as Trip.com and Expedia and others. Of course, the airlines themselves will sell you the tickets and—contrary to what a post above stated— sometimes the airline’s price is the best or a few dollars more than the least expensive consolidator’s price, but sometimes the airline’s price —as it is in this case—is $1100 more than the price you can get through a consolidator. Since I buy travel insurance for the medical and medical evacuation coverage, basic travel insurance will usually cover the cost of flight delays and cancellations in the event they happen.
I buy from a few consolidators I trust along with travel insurance. The luck 🍀 of the Irish has meant I have never had to file a claim.
On Skyscanner.com for flights on August 23 from San Diego to Rome, returning on September 9 from Paris to San Diego there are several airlines offering roundtrip tix in the $1490– $1590 range for flights taking a total of 14- 17 hours to cross the pond.

The fastest flight currently with the combination of best price ($1490) and comfortable departure/arrival times is with United Airlines. The flights take 14:45 in each direction with a connection at San Francisco International Airport ( SFO) that is 65 minutes going to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and 100 minutes at SFO returning from Paris CDG to San Diego.
United will sell you the ticket for $1490– but only through Skyscanner’s website. This includes the same direct flight from SFO to Rome the poster two posts above said costs $1638 each way, making this a remarkable deal. A checked 50-pound bag costs $75 each way. Upgrading to a comfortable exit row seat runs about $150. United, for its part, charges about $2,600 for these flights on its website. So much for the theory that the lowest price is to be found on the airline’s website!
Have a great trip!


Posted by
628 posts

I’m not impressed with ITA. Several days after booking my first flight with them they eliminated traveled on a day that I initially booked. Then a few weeks later that itinerary was changed leaving me with a 12:30 AM arrival as opposed to an afternoon landing. While I had them move me to a morning departure this necessitates an overnight stay at FCO. They went from three flights a day to only two heading to my destination. With seven months left until departure I’m hoping that I will be able to reach my destination with further finagling.

Posted by
169 posts

Thank you all so much for your suggestions, I truly appreciate the time you took to respond to me! We are traveling with another couple so have some decisions to make.

Posted by
4919 posts

https://search.ricksteves.com/?button=&date_range=2y&filter=Travel+Forum&query=Cheap+flights&utf8=%E2%9C%93

There has been major sticker shock post COVID on airline prices. I am also in San Diego, and have been tracking prices over the past 18 months for business class. Prices have been very high for San Diego, so we started looking at LAX. Hate that drive, but money talks. Our business class fares from LAX were half the price of San Diego.
We got a great business class rate last July for this April, 2024, LAX to Amsterdam, under $2000 RT each, British Airways. I was searching every day, looking at various dates, and airports.

I also set up Google Flight price alerts and researched the price trends using this tool. For instance, you can see the price every day for a month on their calendar, and sometimes you can save by just changing the day by 24 hours.
We have a British Airways visa, so that saved about 10%. We also stacked this with the AARP discount, which was about another 10%. We bought these tickets directly from BA.

If you can't set up price alerts on a multicity (open jaw) flights on Google Flights, just set up RT alerts to Paris and Rome separately.

The day I found our great business class rates, I looked at the other price categories , and was amazed that they didn't drop accordingly. So business class was the same price as economy, and premium economy was more than our business class rate, so check all price categories when you search.

I actually found the rate 24 hours before Google Flight sent out the alerts. The price didn't last for more than a few days.

So good luck, and you may have to be flexible on dates. Decide now what's worth paying for. Once the prices get close to an acceptable number , act immediately ! Safe travels!

Posted by
1584 posts

For your dates, with checked luggage, economy comes in at $1323 with Aer Lingus. Change in Dublin, of course, which has always been a breeze for us.

Unless bookings are extremely low, I doubt prices will go down much, if at all. I wouldn't rely on Google's predictions either.

Posted by
1497 posts

You have been given great advice. I don't have much to add, except I have not seen fare discounts for years for travel US-Europe travel for your dates. If you could, change the dates and see if you get lower fares and perhaps lower hotel prices.

Posted by
8183 posts

The lowest airfare out of San Diego is $1,227 buying tickets thru United Airlines--nonstop into Munich and returning from Paris making a connection in Toronto.

The price could be better--and it could be much worse.

Posted by
18288 posts

A month ago I started tracking a RT to Europe. The flight departs in September.

Google provides a graph of the price on each day. I wish I could post it here. It's a yoyo. Started at about $1400 and has been as low as $1000 and as high as $2000.

So if anyone says "the best price is" it only means based on the moment that person looked. Cause tomorrow the best price could be 25% less.

I say, about 5 to 7 months out, track a flight or flights for a month. Get a feeling for the lowest possible price and grab it on a day when the price is down.

The 5 to 7 months fits the window in all the surveys of when prices are best and reduces the odds if schedule changes.

Posted by
9728 posts

Paris to San Diego on Sept. 9.

Please note that September 9 is the morning after the closing ceremony for the Paralympic Games to be held in Paris.

Obviously the Paralympics are probably less attended than the Olympics, but there will still probably be a lot of people departing Paris that day.

You might look at other dates to see if anything helps (although September is already Paris's busiest month even before the Olympics get involved), or, what will probably be more helpful, fly back out of Rome or Milan instead of Paris.

Posted by
7504 posts

Yeah, Norwegian Air flights to Europe were great while they lasted. After its reorganization, Norwegian is still flying, but they’re a “budget” airline just flying within Europe now. We took several flights around Scandinavia on them last fall, but had previously flown from Denver to/from Europe a few times when that was available.

David’s right that the price he mentions might be pretty reasonable, all things considered. Out of curiosity, I wondered whether another Scandinavian airline, Icelandair, might offer a possibility. We’d flown either them or Norwegian for a while, from Denver, when they were about the most affordable options. Well, I see that nowhere in California, including San Diego, has service with Icelandair, but besides Denver, there’s Portland, Seattle, and New York, among others. So you’d have to get yourself to/from one of those other airports, but maybe the Icelander fares would make that worthwhile?

Well, Icelandair flys to and from Rome (connecting in Reykjavik), but not Paris. So you’d have to get yourself from Paris to another airport at the end, but again, maybe the Icelandair prices could make that work?

Fares involving Denver, Portland, Seattle, and New York were all in the $1,400 range, and that’s flying round-trip to and from Rome. That doesn’t include the cost of getting from/to San Diego, doesn’t get you from Paris to an Icelandair connection getting home, and none are direct flights.

As David says, with $1,227 on United, you could do worse.

Posted by
1381 posts

When I did an Italy & France trip I kept it simple for me. Air France, SFO - CDG - Rome, then Venice - CDG - SFO. That way it was all with a single airline and my luggage was tagged for my final destinations.

Hope all works out for you.