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Flight prices to Europe: recent experiences/research?

I'm really curious to hear what others have been paying/finding for prices to Europe. I know the variables change everything (departure/destination, time of year, day of the week, ticket source, etc.), so feel free to post relevant details if you don't mind sharing. My research in the past two months: open jaw flight, Michigan to Paris then Rome back to Michigan in September/October (honeymoon!): ~$1300-1400. Early in the week I sometimes find tickets around $1250. I am not even sure if it's the best time to buy, if prices are just going to get higher, or what. Last year I bought in March for a trip in August and paid $1141 per ticket.

Posted by
7 posts

I'm flying on Delta from Detroit to Frankfurt (non-stop both ways) and we paid around $1500 per person. I bought the tickets in early February for an early June trip.

Posted by
3101 posts

Hi Adam, I agree that it's interesting to find out what others are paying. We bought mid-January for tickets leaving the end of May. We're flying open-jaw - Atlanta to Copenhagen and Helsinki to Atlanta. We paid $915 each on KLM and felt that anything under $1000 was pretty good for early summer travel. Our return is June 21. The last couple of years we've found good spring/summer deals to Europe in January. I get a daily e-mail fare alert from Kayak so I watch the trends even when we don't have a specific trip planned. Good luck finding a great fare and congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you! I wish Kayak would allow Multi-city fare alerts...

Posted by
3101 posts

For Kayak fare alert, I'd watch (daily) both Paris and Rome. Our tickets were multi-city and I watched both Copenhagen and Helsinki for a couple of months. Sometimes, Milan is less expensive than Rome in case you have some northern Italian cities on your itinerary. I'd even watch Florence - just in case.

Posted by
34 posts

We are flying NY to Frankfurt in two weeks on Singapore Airlines (A380) - we paid $95 each round trip before airline surcharges, taxes etc so all up the total for two round trips came to $1079.00. Travel dates were Jan 16th to March 31st. We booked for the last two weeks of March. We get all the online alerts for specials, promotions etc; (of airlines we would fly with). An alert came in, we booked as soon as we saw it. Within a few hours my husbands work colleagues could not get the fare or anywhere near it. As well we were able to selec our seats and got seats upstairs on the A380. We then had to figure out what we were going to do once we got to Frankfurt and thanks to all you guys have put together a great trip. We travel downunder a LOTand the QANTAS and Air New Zealand alerts, means we always get good fares. Eden

Posted by
1832 posts

We just bought our tickets for our September-Oct journey to Ukraine. Lewiston, Idaho to Kyiv and back: $2461.20 for two of us. That's with three stops going and three coming. Its interesting to note that this is about four hundred dollars less than our tickets to Istanbul and back from Amsterdam las year.

Posted by
71 posts

We are flying out of Detroit to Rome non-stop and returning from Frankfurt non-stop in the heat of summer and I bought my tickets a couple weeks ago for $1500 - they were higher, but I watched everyday and bought on a dip. I would lock into $1250 if you can find it - I am no expert, but it sounds decent to me :)

Posted by
2297 posts

This year is definitely more expensive. Even on my "free" flights on points I see a difference: last year my portion on taxes/fees was $350, this year I'm paying $600!!! That is from YYC to FRA

Posted by
82 posts

I just booked two tickets to Frankfurt from Washington, DC for $1211 each (including taxes) through Vayama. I've been following airfares for 6 months using Kayak alerts. With fuel prices rising and not seeing any appreciable drop in fares I booked. The cheapest I saw was $1050 way back in September. I chose 1 stop through Reykjavik on Icelandair.

Posted by
1976 posts

I'm looking at tickets for Sept. - one for my sister, RT from Chicago to Paris, and one for me, multi - city from Chicago to Paris and London to Chicago. "Cheap" tickets are high, anywhere from $1,150 to $1,400. We're still looking and hoping they will come down at least a little.

Posted by
6866 posts

We have open jawed flights into London 3/27 and returning from Rome 4/11 for $705. I booked them 60 days ago knowing departures usually get more expensive on April 1. Since we retired young, our big trips are usually taken April/May and September/October. April departures went up to $850-900 approx., and May departures to $1,100 approx. June departures are twice what we're paying. Many travel gurus will tell you to book flights 60 days before departure. I would be checking flights daily 90 days before departure looking for trends. If prices start to increase, book'em. I've been to Europe so many times, that I only go when prices are "fair." I have no desire to go in July or August when Italy's so hot and when some countries close for vacation. With uncertain conditions with Iran, rising jet fuel prices and airlines consolidating, who knows what the future fares will hold to Europe? There are many great places to go in the U.S. and North America that are affordable--some of which I've never been to.

Posted by
710 posts

My sister and I are really fortunate. About 2 weeks ago we caught a random sale on Aer Lingus (via Kayak) for a NYC-Barcelona roundtrip ticket and paid only $803 each TOTAL, including taxes and fees. Our dates are May 28-June 28. We live in Pittsburgh, and to get to NYC we are hopping the MegaBus (for a whopping $1.50) and we have friends in NYC so no hotel expenses. Now Aer Lingus did charge an extra $40 total for what it called an international point of sale fee (since it's based in Dublin, although the purchase was in American dollars) but even so, in total that's only an additional $20 per person, so say $828 R/T. My friends couldn't get their tickets at the time an now the are up almost $400. It's so hard to even begin to comprehend if there are any patterns to how this works.

Posted by
13 posts

Booked Delta from Grand Forks to Paris and London back to Grand Forks for $1000ish. Ticket was purchased last July for a trip this March.

Posted by
1426 posts

We booked in November for a May trip to England. We paid $800 (direct flight into Heathrow and back to SF) - this includes all the taxes so I felt quite good about this. The day after I booked, it had gone up again.

Posted by
45 posts

We are traveling Mar 19 thru Apr 2nd flying open jaw from Minneapolis to London and home from Munich. Paid 800.00 pp This is on US AIR, they were, by far the cheapest when we were booking

Posted by
199 posts

Adam, I don't know where you are in Michigan? If you live near Flint or in Detroit's northern suburbs you may want to look at fares flying out of Bishop International Airport. I've seen fares that are $100-200 lower if you fly out of Flint and then transfer to your international flight at Detroit Metro. This is using Delta. Good luck.

Posted by
41 posts

I'm in mid-Michigan and have been looking at MBS, FNT, and DTW. And yeah DTW is more expensive fo sho.

Posted by
60 posts

Purchased on Nov 1st on AA website, LAX to MAD $762 incl tax on American Airlines leaving March 16th & returning March 25th. Our kid flying same flight but May 15th to May 31st paid $852 incl tax booked on Jan 18th on US Airways but purchased thru Orbitz. I use Kayak, Orbitz, & Airfarewatchdog sites & alerts to help me. This is our 3rd trip to Europe during spring break and seems if you can find a fare under $800 it's a good deal when flying out in March.

Posted by
8387 posts

Just received an email from Aer Lingus less than an hour ago. They've put some summer tickets on sale starting at $849 including taxes and fees. We flew them last year; no problems. Got to pay extra to choose your seat ahead of time but first bag was free trans-Atlantic.

Posted by
565 posts

Chicago O'Hare to Budapest (stop in Frankfurt) and Berlin Tegel to O'Hare (stop in Dusseldorf) April 22 & May 6: $980 on Lufthansa through Expedia. I got fairly lucky.

Posted by
324 posts

My tickets are RT from Indianapolis to London through Chicago in late April. I purchased them inNovember for $720 or so.

Posted by
4 posts

I just booked a RT ticket from Washington DC Dulles Airport to Paris CDG on Vayama.com, leaving the evening of June 19 and coming back July 11, for a whopping $1182 (all taxes and surcharges included). I've been watching plane tickets like a hawk these last couple of months and this was the best deal. The airline is Icelandair and the catch is that you have an 18h layover on the way there and 7h on the way back. I could have opted to stay up to 7 nights at no extra charge, but don't have the money to splurge on Iceland's hotels and resorts. Even if you didn't want a layover, the prices were still around the same price. I have never been to Iceland and its been on my list of places to go for while, so I will book a group day tour of the Golden Circle on my way to Europe and go to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa my way back. I'm traveling alone during all legs of the flight so it will be curious to see how this pans out. It will also save me an extra nights hotel stay in Europe. Has anyone ever taken advantage of Icelandair's package? This is a sneak peek as I want to do a proper Iceland excursion in the future... En route to Europe is always best.

Posted by
2788 posts

Purchased on Lufthansa's site: Seattle to Frankfurt (4 day layover) - Frankfurt to Venice (staying in Italy for 20 days) - Milan to Frankfurt - Frankfurt to Seattle the next day - $1700 each for travel Aug & Sept. Purchased on Feb. 15.
Seattle lost SAS and now AF for non-stop to Europe.

Posted by
8387 posts

@Lauretta, Your Icelandic plan sounds good. We stayed there three days a few years ago, flying RT NY. Blue Lagoon is near the airport. You should have enough time for the Golden Circle Tour and can sleep on the bus between stops.

Posted by
21 posts

I booked tickets at the end of January to Frankfurt from Indy for $885 each. We are traveling at end of April through the first week of May. When they started talking about gas prices going up this spring I decided to book right away.

Posted by
49 posts

I just booked my Sept 2012 Europe trip on Delta: $1498. (Oregon to Paris with 2 layovers; return home from Rome to Oregon with 2 layovers.) There were slightly cheaper flights, but I was more concerned with schedule and length of layovers. The Delta site (and Expedia, Travelocity etc) showed most flights over and back with REALLY short connections (eg: 1 - 1.5 hour) pretty consistently. I ended up choosing my own flights, maybe that cost a tad more?

Posted by
59 posts

Bought tickets two weeks ago for mid-June to mid-July. Vancouver, BC nonstop to Frankfurt, then return Nürnberg to Vancouver (via Frankfurt). Total price $1146 per person. Could have saved more flying home from Frankfurt, but so much easier for us from N. Two days later price had gone up $100 pp.

Posted by
17 posts

In early March we booked BOS FRA MILAN BOS with Aer Lingus for middle of the summer for $1161 r/t each. If I had bought in Feb., it would have been about $50 cheaper each. In the last 3 weeks, price has gone up. Aer Lingus had the cheapest fares I could find.

Posted by
2 posts

Purchased 02/06/12, for travel dates 04/05/12 -04/15/12. USAirways from Philly to Munich. $761 RT, Nonstop. I found that it was cheaper to fly into Munich than into Frankfurt or Nuremberg, AND it is a nonstop flight. Also easier for the person that will be picking me up for the airport. I also paid $44 for additional insurance on top of that.

Posted by
47 posts

Just purchase BritishAirways Atlanta to Munich in October and then flying home to Atlanta from Rome after cruise for $1970 for 2 people 1 stop each way. Don't know if that was a good price but most fares have been over$ 1250 a person. So I went ahead and booked with fuel prices going up didn't know if price would get any lower.

Posted by
1656 posts

Also try setting up fare alerts for major hub airports (that aren't yours) with direct flights to the cities you're interested in (eg JFK-Paris). Sometimes the deals are best from east coast cities - as in the current Delta fare sale, only applicable through June 15, JFK-Paris is $920 round trip + fees. I've found the "sales" are too close to my comfort zone (within 30-45 days of travel) and I usually book before I can take advantage of them. As for me, I purchased a Delta mileage-based ticket in September for about $500 (Portland-JFK-Prague, Munich-Atlanta-Portland) for travel mid-May to early June. I've tracked the fare since then and it has oscillated between $915 (for one day in January) and $1600 (current cheapest fare is $1100).

Posted by
18 posts

I paid $697/ticket for JFK-Brussels in mid August on Brussels Airlines...I have yet to see a better fare and I check everyday..enjoy your trip

Posted by
41 posts

Last week prices went down for flights in early October. If we'd be willing to do a 33 hour layover in LHR we could get tickets for just over $900. If we don't want to do that (we don't), we'll probably pay about $1100, which is way better than $1300-1400. It seems that buying too early is a bad idea!

Posted by
1976 posts

I ended up paying $1,300 for STL - CDG and LHR to STL, from Sept. 13 - 30. My sister is on a different ticket (we'll be in Paris for a week together, then she goes home and I go to London) and hers cost $1,260. We bought 3 weeks ago. I would have been happy with $1,180 on Aer Lingus (2 stops each way) but she hates flying and wanted as few stops as possible, so we each have 1 stop each way. C'est la vie. I'm not going to eat myself up alive about it. There were cheaper one-stop tickets but many of them were on LOT Air, which had a layover in Warsaw. The total travel time was like, 20 hours. No way were we going to do that.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi Adam, We love europe and this will be our 3rd trip in 8 years. Spring is the cheapest time to go. And the deals post in Feb. - March. We got a RT flight, but to luxembourg of all places. It's pretty central to where we want to go, and was $200 cheaper per person than landing a 150 miles away. Lufthansa, if it serves your city, has a great trip finder. Put in your departure city, and how much you want to pay, and it tells you what's available. Lufthansa also has free beer and wine and courteous staff. We fly direct to Frankfurt and then hop to LUX. Wished we could disembark in Frankfurt, but not allowed. Our RT from San Francisco to LUX is only $861.
Happy trails!

Posted by
1934 posts

Adam, I am probably one of the worst airline ticket purchasers!! I'm usually on a group tour of some sort, so I want to nail down ticket dates, and I'm also pretty choosey re: want two seats together on side of plane, etc., and I don't want ungodly long connections, etc. That said, I usually watch prices and then buy when they are around $1200 to $1300 roundtrip.....each year there are articles about fares rising due to cuts on the number of flights/price of oil, etc. But, that said, I seem to ALWAYS then pay the $250 per person reticketing fee, because prices then drop to something like $840 per person for the exact same flight.....happened again for our travel this year!!!! For one of our trips, I paid the stupid $250 rebooking fee TWICE (yep, $500 per person total) because prices dropped from something like $1700 per person to around $400 for the flight. Why do I keep doing this? Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.........I somehow always think prices are going to go up......they haven't for 5 years now (at least not for me). Granted, they ultimately go up as the plane fills, but not until it is at a certain point of being filled. What I SHOULD do and what I will advise you.............look at the seat maps for various flights. How full are they? If they are not at all full, I'd suggest waiting (but, again, what do I know?) The sweet spot for price drops seems to be about 60-90 days IF the planes are not filled. Gotta keep watching, and often those really, really low fares only last a day or few hours. It's a gamble. Check prices on different carriers 2-3 times a day a few months out if planes are not filling. I hope you get a really good deal and (unlike me) don't have to pay the $250 rebooking fee to get it......but even then, you can come out ahead doing that.

Posted by
1065 posts

We purchased tickets in early November for a Boston-Paris flight leaving on Thursday May 3rd and returning on Monday May 14th. The price was $711 - booked through the Delta website - a non-stop Air France flight. We usually don't book so far in advance, but I happened to be checking fares starting on 11/1. Prices since then for the same flight have ranged from $900 - $1,300.

Posted by
75 posts

Just Friday, I booked tickets for May, open jaw....Dallas through Amsterdam to Rome then Munich through Amsterdam to Dallas. On KLM, $1113 each. Red eye outbound on a Monday night, returning mid-day on a Saturday. Thought it was a GREAT deal!!

Posted by
20 posts

This may not apply to you in Michigan, but you border Canada so it's worth a shot - I live in Seattle, and found it cheaper to fly in and out of Vancouver BC. Non stop Vancouver to Frankfurt, high Season, $2036 round trip for two adults. Perhaps you could find a better deal flying out of Toronto.