Is it cheaper to fly on to Paris on weekends or weekdays? Returning Berlin

I am working on reserving an apartment for a week in late August 2013, and find that I need to determine when I will be getting there. So now I have to start looking at flights! We will be going from Los Angeles to Paris. Question- Least expensive airlines? Question- Least expensive times? Anytime day or night is fine with us; are flights generally less expensive on weekends or weekdays? We will be returning from Berlin so I know that one way will be more expensive, but that is the plan so far. Same question if you have any insight about returning on weekends or weekdays from Berlin about 3 weeks later.
Our first trip to Europe and my granddaughter is 18 so I want it to be pleasant. This is so overwhelming and I appreciate this forum so! Thanks, Kris

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4859 posts

You want multi-city (open jaw) flights, not two one-way flights. I may use a search engine to compare flights, but I always buy from the airline. If you have a problem you only have to deal with them. Most flights from the U.S. arrive in Europe early in the morning. From L.A. It should be easy to fly non-stop. Usually flying Saturdays or mid-week is cheaper, but you will have to compare days to be sure. Edit - Looking at some different airlines it appears non-stop is not the norm.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2888 posts

Try using a a search engine like kayak.com to search for your flights. As Andrea stated, you want to look for a multi-city flight (not two one-way flights) so you might search for something like LAX to PAR for your outbound leg and BER to LAX for your return. I usually use kayak.com to find flights, but then book directly with the airline. Often travelling Tues, Wed, or Thurs is slightly less expensive than travelling on the weekends.

Posted by Kris
Los Angeles, ca.
32 posts

Yeah, I meant "open-jaw", my new term for today. Great suggestions, keep 'em coming anyone else? Thanks!
How many months in advance is not crazy to book apartments and flights? I hear so much about sales, but should I just to it like 8 months in advance so I have what I need?

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1555 posts

When looking at flights be sure to see how many stops along the way as that can really add up, for example you might find a cheaper flight on say Finnair but it stops from LA to maybe JFK then in Finland then Paris. Not all of them do of course but just something to consider. Also as other posters said, book with the airline because if your flight lands late in say JFK and you miss connection, the airline will help you, not Priceline.

Posted by Kris
Los Angeles, ca.
32 posts

Thanks for that clarifying, Gail. I did not understand that airline part. Kris
Does anyone have favorite airlines to Paris returning from Berlin? How much in advance is reasonable to book a flight? Wait for sales or just take the plunge? Kris

Posted by Debi
Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
257 posts

Hi Kris, We flew Air France, non stop round trip to CDG from LAX. Have flown BA, Air Canada, US Air, AA and Delta from LAX. Favorite and most room Air France. I always go non stop. Not sure about open jaw from Berlin.
Monday and Tuesday seem to be least expensive. Happy Travels! Debi

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

Airfares are the highest of all time right now. Table your plans to purchase flights at this time, and just keep your eyes on fares from time to time.
Look seriously to purchasing your flights 60 days prior to your departure. I sometimes use Kayak.com or especially like http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ for airfares. Flights are the least expensive Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Flying into one airport and out of another is often no more expensive, and actually saves money by not having to backtrack. I've found U.S. Air to be consistently the cheapest U.S. airline for the last year out of Charlotte or Philadelphia. Flights often increase or decrease the first of certain months. Airfares used to go up on April 1st, but this year it's about March 20th. The really jump June 1st until Aug. 31st. They often go down Sept. 1st a little. You'll just have to check for the least expensive days. We paid $720 3/31/12 to London and out of Rome. There are many budget air carriers in Europe, and it's often cheaper to fly from city to city than taking a train. You've just got to travel with a 21" carry on bag and nothing else on EasyJet and some other carriers. Their rules are tightly governed. Coming from the West Coast will require your leaving early morning. Most flights leave the Eastern U.S. around suppertime, and arrive in Europe around 8:00 their time.

Posted by David
Toledo
53 posts

I agree with the comments above re: Air France. We have Delta Skymiles which accumulate on Air France and always take that option. as mentioned above AF has a nonstop to Paris that takes only 10 hours. then returning from Berlin there is a stopover in Amsterdam. When you go to book it you can check the option of getting the lowest price within 3 days and it will find you the best day to fly. I priced an open jaw flight from LAX - CDG then BER - LAX in April of next year and it came out at $1200. So to find the cheapest day to fly just plug in a couple of options and see what it gives you. I usually find that Thursdays are the best days to leave the US and return on a Monday or Tuesday. Plus Air France will pamper you with free wine and good food... so you will have a great time~!

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
908 posts

Playing do-it-yourself travel agent is not so overwhelming once you gain a little familiarity with the search tools on the Internet. For instance, some sites including Air France will supply a grid of possible travel dates so you can compare prices. Also, open-jaws are not necessarily much more expensive, especially when you subtract the cost of ground travel and accommodation to double back to the aiport where you first landed. The rules of thumb for best days ot the week to travel sometimes apply and more often don't, especially on international flights. Ditto for how far in advance to make your reservations. I've lost faith in the two-month tactic but retain some hope that the dead of winter may offer some discounts for later in the year. But saving $100 by worrying for three or four months should not be a deal-breaker. Usually I do my research on several sites and then buy diectly from the airline. If the price is equivalent, that's simpler and may make advance seat-ion easier.
It takes time and patience to methodically work your way through these options. I try to think of the planning as part of the vacation and enjoy it from that perspective.

Posted by Kris
Los Angeles, ca.
32 posts

Thanks all! I am keeping notes! Some say to wait to make my reservation to fly, but don't I need to reserve my apartment ahead of time? Or do you all who have rented an apt. find that that can be done only a few months ahead of time also? I will definitely be renting an apt. in Paris the last week or so of Aug. 2013.
Thanks, Kris

Posted by Bob
southington
64 posts

I am working on getting an appartment in Paris for mid-July and find that many are booking up already. I am looking for 2 adults and 3 teenaged grandchildren,not sure if that makes a difference. I would not wait too much longer if you want a wide choice.

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

For flights to Paris, I think that the fares are on the higher end at this very moment (I'm seeing $1,200 - $1500 for a week in August), and slightly better returning from Berlin ($1,150). If you are flexible, you can get a r/t from Berlin for less ($875 - $1000), and then buy a r/t ticket from Berlin to Paris ($100). My bet is that you might be able to find slightly less expensive fares to Paris a little later, but YMMV. As for your questions:
Least Expensive Airlines: Remember that least expensive always comes with tradeoffs in terms of time. For LAX, Lufthansa should be able to give you some pretty good deals getting to Europe. You can also keep an eye on AirBerlin, which is now serving LAX. They might be a good option for doing a multi-city fare, since they serve all the destinations involved. They are a low cost carrier in Europe. Other alternatives you may not have considered are Finnair and Aeroflot, although these come with layovers. Least Expensive Times: Midweek is usually less expensive. Airline tickets are tied to demand and people like to leave Thursday and come back on Sunday night or Monday. Leaving on a Tuesday or Wednesday means less competition for the airline seats = lower fares. Hope this helps some.

Posted by Kris
Los Angeles, ca.
32 posts

Thanks all, I'll put in a new post about how soon to book apt. and whether one can book an apt. and then the flight later or if they should both be coordinated.