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Air travel to Barcelona

Greetings! We will be traveling to Barcelona at the end of March 2020. We will spend six nights with a corporate travel trip then look forward to traveling to Madrid and/or Seville and taking day trips from there for four-five more nights. Because Phoenix, our home town, isn’t a major hub for many international flights, we usually connect on the East coast. So I’m looking for insights on a couple things related to flights for those of you who have perhaps flown from Phoenix or other similar markets.

Have you flown to London and then to Barcelona instead of making a stop on the East Coast and is that better or easier Jetlag wise? I’m also thinking we will fly home from Seville unless someone has another tip for the best place near there to return from, i. e., going back to Madrid and flying from there. We flew home from Rome earlier this year and flew through Dulles with a 4.5 hour layover and then another five hour flight to Phoenix. It was not a pretty return itinerary. Rough! So I would greatly appreciate any advice about how to look at easiest travel itineraries both from and returning to Phoenix.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Posted by
6854 posts

It would be preferable to fly to London on either American or British Airways non-stop and then catch a connecting flight down to Spain. On your return, you'd probably do best to reverse the flight--coming back through LHR.
We try to avoid the big U.S. airports whenever possible.

Posted by
12950 posts

We flew Seattle --London (2-hour layover)--Barcelona with British Airways last May. This the second time we have flown that way, and actually we always fly British Airways to Europe, so always change planes in London when we fly to the Continent.

British Airways serves Phoenix so you could do the same.

For the return, you may need to fly home from Madrid rather than Seville to avoid two flight changes and/or a long layover somewhere.

Posted by
12950 posts

So I checked BA, and as I suspected the flight from Seville to Phoenix involves a journey using Iberia, American, and/or BA, with either two changes en route or an overnight in London; either way the total time is 28-30 hours.

Flying from Madrid, you can depart in the morning ( around 9 am) and get to Heathrow with ample time before the 14:15 direct flight to Phoenix, but not a really long layover. Total journey time 17 hours, with a single plane change.

This means spending the night in Madrid before your flight. Just put Madrid at the end of your itinerary (after Seville) and it's all good.

Posted by
5221 posts

Flying from Seattle, it's usually faster and easier for me to start with the long transatlantic flight, make sure I have enough layover time at the European hub (3 hours is good), then connect on the same ticket to my destination. That means if there's a problem with the second flight, or I miss that connection, there are multiple backup choices for the shorter second flight (or maybe even a train ride). I'd rather be "stranded" in London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt than in Cincinnati, Newark, Dulles, or another US city. This assumes that timing and fares are similar enough not to matter.

Flying home, I prefer a shorter flight to my European hub, with less chance for delay before an adequate layover time, then the long transatlantic flight to Seattle where I know the international arrivals drill. I've had some bad delays with CBP in Houston (returning from Latin America), and I'd rather play border-crossing-delay roulette at my final destination than along the way. Again, assuming comparable timing and fares among whatever choices there are.

You may analyze the choices differently, and of course Seattle has a shorter direct route to Europe than Phoenix. For me, an eastern US layover generally means more total air miles than the "polar" route Seattle allows direct to Europe.

EDIT -- Just read Lola's post above. Her analysis from Sevilla was the same as mine last fall -- much easier to get to Madrid and fly from there. For a very convenient overnight at MAD before an early flight, you might try Premium Traveler Air Rooms, inside Terminal 4. There are also hotels with shuttles in nearby Barajas.

Posted by
4 posts

Wow, Lola and Dick, thank you for this great info. You both just saved me hours of research and stress trying to figure out how, when, where! Much appreciated!


Posted by
3662 posts

A suggestion about research. It is much easier (for me) to use a big agency search function and let them collect all the possible combinations, rather than trying to do it piece by piece myself. My faves at the moment are and

I buy direct from the airline when that is possible.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for your comments. I was looking at CheapOAir today...but you then still buy at Vueling, for example?

Posted by
20843 posts

I have never used CheapoAir, but I have seen quite a few warnings about it. It's my impression that it is one of the third parties definitely to be avoided. I always buy from the airlines, but that's easy for me to say because I usually have access to fairly inexpensive fares and don't stand to save a lot by going through a discounter. If the savings were large enough, I'd consider a website like Expedia, but it would have to be enough money to outweigh the concern that I'd have difficulty recovering quickly if one of my flights was canceled or significantly rescheduled.

I do my fare research on Google Flights.