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What is cheapest European city to fly into? Or what to watch for with fares?

Open travel dates for one month trip in April to May from Chicago to Copenhagen, Stockholm, & Venice.

What is cheapest European city to fly into? Or what to watch for with fares?

I’ve used EasyJet to connect to cities.

EasyJet works if you understand baggage rules and last minute gate assignments. Tip: Flight Tracker is often 1st with correct gate.


Posted by
6138 posts

At any given moment it could be any one of your choices. I have no verifiable data for this statement, just my observation of the weirdness of airline ticket pricing

At that time of year I would start in Venice and then go north

Posted by
5404 posts

I don’t think there’s any single cheapest city to fly into. A lot depends on your home origin point and if there is a major hub for one of the U.S. airlines there. They will then serve their hubs in Europe.

Unfortunately I think you just have to search search search every time.

Posted by
3206 posts

Does Norwegian Air serve your home airport, or one that’s reachable? They have a similar pricing, operating, and baggage approach to EasyJet.

If so, fly Norwegian to London Gatwick, (or parts of the year, to Paris), then fly EasyJet from there. You may find other options and other airports/airlines, but you might look at Norwegian.

Posted by
3980 posts

I fly with EasyJet numerous times a year - I used them yesterday! I have an e-ticket, so haven’t printed out a boarding pass in years and they text me regarding the gate and flight status. I have only ever had 1 gate change - at Fuerteventura airport as there was an issue with the plane that should have vacated the gate to allow my plane on, which necessitated a walk of about 100 ft, so not a regular issue.

I can’t help with your transatlantic flight, but as your timeframe includes Easter, I would imagine that flights then would be more expensive, so I would look at later in the month. Certainly EasyJet flights over Easter will be up to x 10 the rate of the week later once the schools have returned.

Posted by
595 posts

You obviously have to check all the destinations. It all depends on time of year, day, airline, load capacity, fare wars, etc. Timing is everything. However, having said all that, I have found Madrid and Barcelona SOMETIMES has a lower fare than other major cities if you just want a gateway to Europe. Except for your plans, they are quite a distance from your choice cities you listed.

Posted by
1216 posts

If you're willing to play around with the dates a bit, Google Flights has a good tool where you select your departure city and leave the destination blank and it will show you a world map containing the cheapest fares for hundreds of city pairs on that date.

When you click on a city for more details, it will also tell you if that flight/route is significantly cheaper than historical norms.

Posted by
11704 posts

It's always supply and demand. How many seats are available on flights into those cities on those particular dates vs. how many people looking to buy those seats? Airlines have formulas for constantly adjusting their prices.

I watch as many options (days, dates, times, cities) as possible for a couple months - that gives me an idea of what a good price is. After that I'll jump on a great price if I see one. Otherwise, I'll book a good price maybe two months out.

I'd avoid Google alerts on flights. I notice they suspiciously alternatively raise and lower the price each alert. It seems more like a trick to get you to book quickly rather than good information on prices. Give it some time, don't be in a hurry unless you see something you know is a great deal.

I don't finalize any reservations or itinerary plans until I settle on the ticket because I won't know for sure which city or exactly what date I'm arriving.

I'm not a big reservations person anyway. I usually book lodging for only the fixed parts of my vacation. Fixed would be when I have a flight or other confirmed reservation that requires me to be in a specific place at a specific time.

Other than that, I travel outside of July/August and never end up homeless - even booking for the night the same afternoon. If you "need" to stay at a certain lodging, book ahead. For me anything clean, quiet and not expensive is fine. I've stayed in more awful places, and paid more, booking ahead than last minute.

Posted by
706 posts

I think it is really "market" driven. I find Venice always seems quite high compared to Rome at least.

We usually find flights are cheaper from Vancouver (YVR) than Seattle (SEA) but not always. But we did score some amazing lay-flat seats 2017 YVR to CDG like $1800 a piece which is pretty close to premium economy prices.

I did find pretty good prices for my nephew on Norwegian from ORD to Barcelona for May 30th this year.

Posted by
11153 posts

From New York City, Zurich and Madrid are sometimes surprisingly cheap. But I agree with the others - the "cheapest city" is a moving target, and changes constantly.

Be sure to check your target cities as well. Sometimes I've seen low fares to Copenhagen and Stockholm; other times, they are high. Venice is usually higher than Milan, except of course when they are almost the same.

Airlines matter as well. Are you willing to fly "the long way" through Istanbul? If so, Turkish Air often has good prices (they're a nice airline too). Aeroflot also often has good prices. They were surprisingly nice flying New York to Moscow, but I don't know what changing in Moscow is like. I haven't flown Norwegian, but everyone seem to like them - if you are comfortable with their status (there are perpetual questions about their long term viability).

Posted by
6148 posts

What is cheapest European city to fly into?

  1. One with a large passenger base (or major transit airport like Istanbul - used for many through trips from Asia & Middle East to Europe and western destinations)
  2. Competitive airport market with many airlines vying for business on the route you're interested in
  3. Presence of budget carriers
  4. Airports with (relatively) lower taxes and landing fees and quick access to the city centers
Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for taking the time to comment. You gave me useful information about what to consider and to watch. Also, I realize more how airline fares work and don’t work as of now. I wasn’t missing one magical answer.

Posted by
3304 posts

From Scandinavia to Venice try either Norwegian, FlyBe, or British Airways. Within Europe I find that those are the most decent airlines that have good fares.

Posted by
112 posts

I have found that a return trip is generally cheaper than a multi city ticket. What I did last trip was fly in and out of Brussels (major hub) from Australia which meant a flight back from Vienna to Brussels before the trip home but the cost of the internal European flight still made it cheaper overall. The webjet travel site will show you all flight options between two points and you can filter multiple ways eg. duration, price, number of stops etc. it’s worked for us on several trips to balance price against time. Amazing how much you might be willing to pay when the cheapest involves 43 hours with 3 stops.