We have booked the RS Eastern Europe tour May 2020 and wondering what the best way to fly back to Seattle is. All the flights I have looked at seem to have multiple stops and a long journey home.
We ended an independent trip in Prague several years ago. We took a short hop to Paris on Germanwings, took a layover there overnight at the CitizenM hotel within walking distance from the terminal (later that day we took the train into Paris for a quick look around for 6 hours), and took the Delta non-stop to Seattle the next day. Another possibility is a flight or train to Frankfurt and take the Lufthansa non-stop to Seattle. That worked well for us on a different trip. So find an inexpensive flight or train from Ljubljana to a city that flies non-stop. An overnight layover before flying the non-stop home will make the trip seem not so long.
Ljubljana is a rather small city, and many people have struggled with the flying in/out part of a trip to Slovenia.
Check on what's available from Zagreb.
It's larger and seems to have a much busier airport. I flew home from Zagreb in 2015 with just one change of planes.
There are rather frequent buses and trains between Ljubljana and Zagreb. I think the travel time is about 2-1/2 hours. Does the tour go to Zagreb? If not, time there at the end of your trip would be worthwhile.
The Ljubljana problem comes up often, and I know some folks here have used the shuttle company GoOpti and been pleased with the service. There are shuttle runs between Venice and Ljubljana. I don't know what other cities are generally available.
Check flights back from Venice before spending time researching Ljubljana-Venice shuttles. For some destinations, flying home from Venice means a shockingly early departure time that requires an insanely early wake-up call and very expen$ive private boat transportation to the airport.
Tour starts in Prague. How are you getting there? Tour ends in Bled. You can get a bus to Venice airport in a couple of hours.
Condor seems like an option. Flights to/from Frankfurt, then connection on Lufthansa to Prague, and Adria from Ljubljana.
You can do it with one stop in Frankfurt through the Lufthansa/Condor/Adria partnership with an early departure (e.g. 6:00 a.m.). You can also do it with one stop in either Paris or Amsterdam through Delta/KLM, but the departure times on my test date (e.g. 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.) is late enough to force an overnight layover at the transfer city. You'll be booking a "multi-city" itinerary, so it might be rather easy to build in a longer layover.
When we went to Slovenia last year we did not fly into Ljubljana or out from there. We flew into Munich and took the train to Ljubljana, and then departed from there to Vienna by train for a flight (we had a week to spend in Vienna between arrival and departure.)
Venice is the closest major airport, but as noted some of the flights from there depart quite early. But I see a noon departure to Philadelphia on American Airlines, connecting to a flight on AA to Seattle. That wouldn’t be bad at all.
The only bad part about Lola's idea is that it's American Airlines...LOL
When I have come home from Ljubljana, it has either been through Frankfurt or Heathrow. Or Munich. There are several options for connecting from Ljubljana back to the US. Yes, it is multiple stops.
We did this exact flight in 2013(?), but not at the end of a Rick Steves' tour.
I have come to appreciate the virtues of a non-stop flight from continental Europe to Seattle. Air France offers non-stops from CDG to Seattle that are not insanely expensive. So, if you have the time, I would consider flying from Ljubljana to Paris, staying a night or two, and then taking the non-stop back to Seattle.
If I had to pick a city to move to in Europe, it would be Ljubljana.
The easiest way to go would be either Air France with connecting flights in Paris de Gaulle or British Airways with a seasonal flight from Ljubljana connecting in London Heathrow.
I'm a Delta frequent flyer, so I can explain the Delta options. I'll leave it to others to explain other airlines' flights. I'm flying back to the US from Ljubljana on Sept 18. Currently, there is a Transavia departure at 9 am on certain days of the week (like Sept 18) that allows a connection through Amsterdam. Transavia is KLM's attempt at a low-cost, point-to-point carrier. It looks like that flight is not scheduled to run next May. Instead, there is an Adria Airways flight to Amsterdam marketed by KLM (has KLM flight number) that departs at 6:40 am on certain days and allows connections through Amsterdam. Delta has an interline agreement with Adria Airways, so bags can be checked all the way through if needed). There are 2 daily Air France flights (on its Hop! regional carrier), but the departure times are too late for connecting to the same-day direct Paris to Seattle flight (so you need 3 flights to get back to Seattle the same day).
I was on a BOEE tour this summer, and used GoOpti to go to Triseste. From there I flew to Boston on Lufthansa via Frankfurt. Trieste was a delightful place to spend a few days. The airport is small and very easy,, and for Boston the connections/schedule worked well.
When I did this tour (my favorite of the 11 I've done) I had extra time at the end. So I took a train from Bled to Venice (well two trains actually), spent some time there then took a train to Milan. I had used up all my air mile points for two tickets and I could get into Prague but only out of Milan. So that basically determined the extra time. I flew into Ljubljana for the Adriatic tour via Frankfurt. I always look for various open jaw options.
That's the name of the game if you're intending to fly from Ljubljana. Last year we flew from Ljubljana to London Luton via WizzAir, then had to take a coach from Luton to London Gatwick for our Norwegian flight to Seattle. Not a particularly fun experience to do in one go. We arrived at Luton around midnight local time and had to wait for our coach until about 4 AM, the bus takes two hours to arrive at Gatwick which is a chance to nap I guess.
British Airways is now flying into/out of Ljubljana, but only 1-2 times weekly. When I did the BoEE this summer, I stayed in Ljubljana until late Monday evening and took the flight to Heathrow. Then, I stayed the night at a Heathrow airport hotel. Then, I left London on Tuesday to fly back home. This may be your best bet (although, as I'm typing this, I'm wondering if British Air is just flying in the summertime?).
Something to look into at least.
:) Good Luck!
Adria Airways ceased service as of September 30 but Lufthansa is adding flights. You might want to look into flying Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then to Seattle. If your tour ends in early June, flying though Munich may also be an option. You might even be able to book an open jaws Lufthansa ticket into Prague and out of Ljubljana.
Wow, just saw Adria Airways ceased service a month ago. If you end up flying out of LJ to a large city such as Paris for your flight home, strongly suggest to leave a four hour layover at CDG. It is a huge airport and even Air France, for example, uses more than one terminal. Should you need to change terminals at CDG, you will need to go through Passport Control. Also the European Airspace is very crowded. If your plane does not depart as scheduled, it will likely be placed back in the queque for at least an hour. This happens frequently.