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After months of planning, I think I've got my first leg of the itinerary locked down. I have got so much amazing advice through this forum so will ask a few questions before getting the tickets. I've read lots of previous posts on "when to buy", but that's not my only question.

Not having any clue what I was doing, I started using Travelocity's "My Scratchpad" option to see what airport around my home (Tallahassee) would be least expensive trying to get my family of 4 adults to Gothenburg or Stockholm. I found one-way tickets:

  1. Trip Total: $1,885.60 Norwegian Air Shuttle ($471.40 each) 9 hours 20 minutes nonstop (1/19/2017 price) leaving Ft. Lauderdale to Stockholm.
  2. Trip Total: $2,061.20 Norwegian Air Shuttle ($515.30 each) 9 hours 20 minutes nonstop (1/27/2017 price) leaving Ft. Lauderdale to Stockholm.
  3. Trip Total: $1,958.00 Norwegian Air Shuttle ($489.50 each) 32h 35m, 1 stop (in London) (1/31/2017 price) leaving Orlando to Gothenburg.
  4. Trip Total: $1,559.20Norwegian Air Shuttle ($389.80 each) 32h 35m, 1 stop (in London) (2/7/2017 price) leaving Orlando to Gothenburg. ($100 drop in one week!!!)
  5. Trip Total: $1,619.20 Norwegian Air Shuttle ($404.80 each) 32h 35m, 1 stop (in London) (2/11/2017 price) leaving Orlando to Gothenburg. (starting to climb again)

Atlanta's prices were the highest so I didn't list them. I'm "thrifty (cheap)" and this is my first ever trip with my family to Europe. I just want to be a good steward of my money.

  1. Should I jump on that price? (We like option 5 since the price is cheaper and our friends are nearby and can pick us up from the airport. Staying in Stockholm will end up with a hotel and train travel). We later will spend a couple days in Stockholm before flying to Munich on 7/10.
  2. Is Travelocity reliable to book through?
  3. Any other thing with which I should be concerned?
Posted by
6615 posts

Obviously if you can get #1, that's the best all around. The flights that are 32 hours will likely require an additional overnight stay so that's technically an extra cost that's not part of your trip (it could be a plus if you want to take advantage of the stopover, but that's up to you..if the overnight is in Iceland, I would do it. Caveat: Iceland is fantastic but not budget friendly).

Book directly through Norwegian Air and read all the fine print. That may be the base fare and you need to include how much it will cost to check a bag or buy food or even pick a seat, so you know the "true" total cost per person. There's no reason to book through Travelocity since you can get the same deal directly on the website. Except Travelocity won't disclose all the extra fees openly (Norwegian is a budget carrier so thee are extras for everything). Good luck!

Posted by
64 posts

Our preference is #5 since our friends we are visiting are about an hour from Gothenburg plus it is the cheapest fare anyhow. We actually like having a quick stay in London.

I went directly to Norwegian Airlines to see if it was better to book through them.

  1. Trip Total: $1,644.00 Norwegian Air Shuttle ($411.00 each) 17h 35m, 1 stop (in London) (2/11/2017 price) leaving Orlando to Gothenburg.

I'm confused. Why is the layover in London different looking directly with Norwegian Airlines? They do say that "If you would like checked baggage, Nice&Tasty menu and seat reservation, it pays to choose the ticket type LowFare+ for $100.00 extra."

So, through Travelocity, am I also limited to no checked baggage, no meal and no seat reservations or is that only if I go through Norwegian directly?

Posted by
2353 posts

Are one ways cheaper than round trip? Are you taking a different mode home?

Other than wondering that I agree to purchase directly from the airline.

You should be able to pick the extras through Travelocity but thy don't disclose the extra fees until you are in the middle of the purchase IIRC.

Posted by
9363 posts

Which price were you thinking of jumping on? I would not be interested in option 3, 4, or 5 unless you had other reasons for being interested in those, like a stopover in Iceland. But a stopover like that will eat up all of your supposed savings and then some if you have to book rooms, buy meals, etc., and a 32 hour travel period eats up almost two days of your vacation time. I would be good with option 1 if it was me.

Posted by
64 posts

We will be traveling home from Stockholm so can't do a round-trip. Gothenburg airport doesn't travel to Orlando on Saturday, July 22nd.

We are hoping to get a cheap hotel at the airport in London so the expense of the layover wouldn't be too bad and my photographer daughter could get some once-in-a-lifetime pictures the afternoon in London.

Posted by
6615 posts

Try to compare the same exact flight numbers (between the airline site and Travelocity) to avoid confusion. Since Norwegian is a budget airline, it's fine to buy one-way trips - it's not more expensive.

I would not assume anything on Travelocity. Airline websites have to disclose every additional fee. If Travelocity does not disclose what's included and excluded even after you click "purchase", you may find yourself surprised at the end. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples. There's nothing wrong with third-party sites but you need to know exactly what you're getting. I bet if you go far enough through the Travelocity process you'll be able to tell what's a base fare and what's extra. If in doubt, I would pick the airline site to buy from because at least you'll know exactly how much the total cost is - with no surprises.

Posted by
9363 posts

Wait, so these are one-way tickets? You should price out "multi-city" tickets instead (Ft Lauderdale --> Gothenburg, Stockholm --> home). A multi-city ticket is usually mid-priced between two one-ways and round-trip tickets.

Posted by
6615 posts

A multi-city ticket is usually mid-priced between two one-ways and round-trip tickets.

That's not necessarily true for all airlines. Budget airlines have different pricing models than the legacy carriers. But I agree, try pricing it out using different methods and compare the two.

Also, check if Norwegian has a 24 hour guarantee (most airlines do due to US DOT regulations) in case you need to cancel or find a better price within that window. The 24 hours are good for locking in a fare before it disappears. Once the 24 hours pass, you'll be out of luck in making any change for free.

Posted by
2353 posts

yes - but definitely price open jaw or multi city before pulling the trigger

Posted by
12016 posts
  1. "Any other thing with which I should be concerned?"

Yes. Since your primary concern seems to be price, remember to in luxe the cost of an overnight in London if that is your choice. London hotels are expensive and an overnight there could easily add up to $500, counting transport into the city and back, hotel for four, dinner, and possibly activities.

Posted by
64 posts

Thanks for all the responses. I'm reflecting on them all. Another couple of options for us:

Bypass visiting London altogether:

  • 7/1 - 6:40p - 8:10a +1 Flight spans 1 day Condor 8h 30m MCO - LGW Nonstop $258.10
  • 7/2 - 9:25a - 12:15p Norwegian Air Shuttle 1h 50m LGW - GOT Nonstop $82.20

Would 1 hour 15 minutes be enough time to make the flight?

Really enjoy London:

  • 7/1 - 6:40p - 8:10a +1 Flight spans 1 day Condor 8h 30m MCO - LGW Nonstop $258.10
  • 7/3 - 9:55a - 12:45p Norwegian Air Shuttle 1h 50m LGW - GOT Nonstop $63.20

This option will result in 1-night hotel stay but we can do more in London on 7/2 by arriving at 8:10am instead of flying Norwegian and arriving in London at 11:20am. Flying Condor for the first leg of the flight and Norwegian on 7/3 actually saves us $332 total.

Posted by
18380 posts

If you're looking at separate tickets for the two legs, the first option in your latest post is frightening. Far too great a risk that you'd miss your connection and have to buy a replacement ticket for the flight to Sweden. There's even a slight risk of that when you have a 24-hour layover, but obviously that risk is quite small. The problem with transatlantic travel is that all the (not numerous) outbound flights tend to leave within a short time period, so if you miss one (or it is cancelled), you may have to wait till the next day. It's not like domestic destinations that typically have many flights per day, spread throughout the day.

Posted by
6615 posts

With respect to the Condor reviews, have you checked Delta or United or American Airlines just for kicks? United gets 4/10 and Delta gets the same as Condor - 5/10. American Airlines gets a whopping 3/10. Does that make you feel better? The point is, just about every 3-star airline will have negative reviews, and there's no need to get anxious over Condor just because you're unfamiliar with it. I haven't flown Condor, but the reviews alone would definitely not stop me from doing so.

Posted by
607 posts

James, my 2 cents:

  1. Don't be cheap. I always want to save money, but that should not be the driving force.

  2. Time is more valuable than money. Your vacation time is precious and delays or travel time eat into your enjoyment time and adds stress and fatigue.

  3. It would have been easier if you started off by telling us where you live and your departure and return dates. It took a while for me to read this whole thread to piece out your itinerary. Giving us the dates of when you checked the prices is a waste of time. Yes, prices go up and down. Eventually, most or all of the seats will sell out. See point # 1.

  4. Assuming these dates are correct, here is what i priced out using kayak:

July 1 MCO-DUS-TXL-GOT 15hrs 25min
July 22 ARN-DUS-MCO 14 hrs 10 min
Air Berlin, total USD$870 pp

If it were me:

a. I would not want to drive over 6 hrs from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale. Orlando is way closer.

b. I would prefer to deal with one airline on all the connecting flights and avoid any hacker fares involving multiple air lines.

c. I would want to keep travel time to minimum while balancing price. I am on the west coast, so from my perspective, 12-15 hrs is reasonable. Note also that there is the 3 hours driving saved from flying out of Orlando instead of FLL.

d. A one day visit to a major city involving flights in and out are not worth the time and effort. If you want great photos of London, google it.

Posted by
6554 posts

We've flown 5 legs on Norwegian Air, and really like their new Boeing 787's. I'd just book the flights directly with them and go about your way. We've flown thru Oslo and Stockholm, and just really prefer Stockholm as a city.
Although you may be going through London Gatwick, don't think they have "cheap" hotels in London airports. They do have Bloc Hotel which is a minimalist operation with rooms just about as long as the bed. And they have a Hampton Inn in the terminal. You can book them online.
Gatwick's still a distance south of London City Central, and the train ride downtown and back is relatively expensive. We chose last trip to just chill out in the Bloc--with decent restaurants downstairs. But there again, we've been to London many times.
Have a a great trip. Your kids will never forget your odyssey.

Posted by
12016 posts

Funpig and acraven have given you excellent advice on your most recent ideas. I will just add that You should NOT do this on separate tickets with the two different airlines, unless younwant to spend the night n London. And if you want to do that, stay in London, not at the airport, to get the whole experience. Look at the Gatwick transport options (Gatwick Express is one, but there may be another as well) and bookma B and B or hotel near the station---I think it is Victoria station, but did not confirm that. If so, Victoria Stationnareanis a fine location for seeing much of Westminster on foot---including Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Big Ben and The Parliament buildings, and more. Certainly enough to keep you busy for one day---if you have the energy after an overnight flight.

Price out lodging options before you commit to this plan.

Posted by
1600 posts

Hi James, my recommendation is to check prices/availability on Travelocity or other consolidator site then book directly with the airline. Use one airline and fly open-jaw. I think it's just too risky to do 2 one-way tickets, especially when you're traveling with your family. I wouldn't want to be stuck for hours because a connection didn't work out. If you're traveling on one ticket with one airline, they will make arrangements for you to get on another flight.

Posted by
977 posts

Very sound advice from 'fun pig' DON'T BE CHEAP!!

Posted by
64 posts

If you're looking at separate tickets for the two legs, the first option in your latest post is frightening. Far too great a risk that you'd miss your connection and have to buy a replacement ticket for the flight to Sweden. There's even a slight risk of that when you have a 24-hour layover, but obviously that risk is quite small. The problem with transatlantic travel is that all the (not numerous) outbound flights tend to leave within a short time period, so if you miss one (or it is cancelled), you may have to wait till the next day. It's not like domestic destinations that typically have many flights per day, spread throughout the day.

I agree that Option 1 is out of the picture. Thanks!

Posted by
64 posts

With respect to the Condor reviews, have you checked Delta or United or American Airlines just for kicks? United gets 4/10 and Delta gets the same as Condor - 5/10. American Airlines gets a whopping 3/10. Does that make you feel better? The point is, just about every 3-star airline will have negative reviews, and there's no need to get anxious over Condor just because you're unfamiliar with it. I haven't flown Condor, but the reviews alone would definitely not stop me from doing so.

I have not. I was not looking so much at the rating (#/10, but many of the comments were not very positive at all). Early reading shows that even with the "Economy" rate, the in-flight meal is included and one bag could be checked per person if needed (we don't plan to).

Posted by
64 posts

James, my 2 cents:
Don't be cheap. I always want to save money, but that should not be the driving force.
Time is more valuable than money. Your vacation time is precious and delays or travel time eat into your enjoyment time and adds stress and fatigue.
It would have been easier if you started off by telling us where you live and your departure and return dates. It took a while for me to read this whole thread to piece out your itinerary. Giving us the dates of when you checked the prices is a waste of time. Yes, prices go up and down. Eventually, most or all of the seats will sell out. See point # 1.
Assuming these dates are correct, here is what i priced out using kayak:
July 1 MCO-DUS-TXL-GOT 15hrs 25min
July 22 ARN-DUS-MCO 14 hrs 10 min
Air Berlin, total USD$870 pp
If it were me:
a. I would not want to drive over 6 hrs from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale. Orlando is way closer.
b. I would prefer to deal with one airline on all the connecting flights and avoid any hacker fares involving multiple air lines.
c. I would want to keep travel time to minimum while balancing price. I am on the west coast, so from my perspective, 12-15 hrs is reasonable. Note also that there is the 3 hours driving saved from flying out of Orlando instead of FLL.
d. A one day visit to a major city involving flights in and out are not worth the time and effort. If you want great photos of London, google it.

I appreciate your input and apologize for not supplying the information to make your helpful response easier.

a. We are leaving from Orlando instead of FLL.

b. We are considering the Condor flight which arrived at 8:40 in London. We'll spend the day in London, stay at the Airport hotel and catch a flight to Gothenburg the following day. I'll look into what are "hacker fares"? We may regret this option.

c. Orlando is it for us.

d. Having my family spend even 8-10 hours in London will be worth it. :-)

Posted by
1852 posts

There's nothing wrong with Condor. Economy seats are small but no smaller than Delta or American - Coach is just unfortunate on any airline. Condor does offer pretty good prices on their Premium Economy seats, which are pretty comfortable. Their video choices are far better than American...I flew to Europe on both American and Condor in the last 12 months and American had about 6 movies...and you couldn't watch on demand - you had to wait until the movie started over again - seriously! Condor has great video choices...8 Euros in Coach, free everywhere else. Food was fine with me but I'm not a big fan of any airline's food.

The best thing about Condor for me is their easy nonstops to Germany. Oh, and 24 hours before the flight, they often sell the business class seats for 2/440 Euros. It's a steal. We did it last month and it was the best, most comfortable flight of my life.

For you, though, I offer this: I will almost always pay for the nonstop flight if it's available. At some point it's not about money - it's about not extending an 8 hour single flight into a 24 hour odyssey. Layovers...even short ones...add hours and hours to your exhausting travel day and open up the possibilities of delays and missed flights etc. Moreover, a quick 8 hour trip into London on a layover will not be terribly fun...not sure how old your family members are. We did it once when we were very young. Had time to leave airport. Took bus around the city. Worried about getting back in time for flight to Athens. Saw very little, never had a chance to get oriented and I've never repeated the effort.

Posted by
64 posts

We've flown 5 legs on Norwegian Air, and really like their new Boeing 787's. I'd just book the flights directly with them and go about your way. We've flown thru Oslo and Stockholm, and just really prefer Stockholm as a city.
Although you may be going through London Gatwick, don't think they have "cheap" hotels in London airports. They do have Bloc Hotel which is a minimalist operation with rooms just about as long as the bed. And they have a Hampton Inn in the terminal. You can book them online.
Gatwick's still a distance south of London City Central, and the train ride downtown and back is relatively expensive. We chose last trip to just chill out in the Bloc--with decent restaurants downstairs. But there again, we've been to London many times.
Have a great trip. Your kids will never forget your odyssey.

While I am cheap, I'll have to splurge on a hotel and round-trip train transportation to/from downtown. I am spending so many hours planning, but trying to make the most of the trip will make it worth it.

Those on this forum truly are a blessing!

Posted by
68 posts

I pay more for nonstop flights on airlines like Air France,Lufthansa KLM etc. I'm weary about the Norweigan Air flights because if your flight is cancelled you have to wait for the next flight.

Secondly you pay for bags and It's a long layover which can require an overnight in a hotel,more jetlag etc.

This summer I booked the nonstop San Francisco to Paris Air France flights as others would have me connect and clear customs on the return in Atlanta,Detroit or JFK. For me time is money. $200 more is not going to break the bank if I can shave off 15 hours off the trip.

I like the 3:30 PM departure and 12:30 PM arrival to and from SFO. I can have a leisurly breakfast and get to SFO by 12:00 noon and arrive home by 2:30 PM before the traffic.