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Cheap flights!

I am going to Europe in late April. I see flights on Kayak from Houston to Amsterdam for under $400. For that price all you can carry on is a personal bag. My son suggested take the cheap flight with just my necessities. Buy another bag in Amsterdam and other clothes I may need.
Any thoughts?
Richard

Posted by
4282 posts

How long will you be away from home?

Is a "personal bag" a 21" or 22" carry-on, or more of a purse/briefcase/daypack thing?

That's a great fare, is it one-way or round-trip?

Posted by
3144 posts

Buy directly from the airline & not Kayak which is a third-party.

Have you ever flown basic economy? If not, typically, your seat will be assigned at the gate and it very much could be a middle seat in the back of the plane. If you are comfortable in those middle seats, then you are good to go.

If you buy luggage in Amsterdam, how do you plan on bringing it home assuming your round-trip ticket is in basic economy both ways?

Posted by
696 posts

That's pretty much how I travel, unless it's for business and I have to haul a suit around. I use a gym bag, and an extra pair of shoes, pants, 2-3 shirts, a light fleece, a rain jacket, and underwear. I try to use hotel accommodations for laundry service, and buy socks at the Euro store and toss them out. Gym bags are not normal tourist luggage and normally overlooked, and if I lose it, so what? If I need more stuff I buy it and it gets donated or mailed home (it it's more than will fit in the bag). I can replace my whole wardrobe in less time than it takes to wash it, and time is what's important when I'm traveling.

But, I would be very cautious about buying a non-refundable ticket. Cheap airlines are starting to fail, and I expect Condor/Lufthansa, Alitialia, and a few others to cut routes and/or fold up this year. You don't want to be the guy stranded when that happens.

https://wolfstreet.com/2020/01/05/2020-already-the-year-of-zombie-airlines/

Posted by
956 posts

Are you certain that you cannot pay for check-in luggage? Often the cheapest tickets are called Basic Economy, and these add a charge for checked luggage ( you are allowed a "personal item" on the plane). This is the case with United for example, which charges $30 for a checked bag under 50#. Check the policy of the ticket. We typically pay under 500/ticket, so the price you are seeing isn't crazy, but it may involve additional fees. I agree that you should buy from the airline.

Posted by
4041 posts

Taking a bigger bag is probably less than you would pay for clothes when you arrive in Europe. Holland isn’t the cheapest country in Europe.

Here in Europe, there is a growing movement to stop throw away clothing that many on this forum advocate.

Posted by
1581 posts

I expect Condor/Lufthansa, Alitialia, and a few others to cut routes and/or fold up this year.

I think you are underestimating the determination of the Italian government to keep Alitalia alive at almost any cost. And what has Lufthansa to do with Condor?

Posted by
6543 posts

I'm only seeing flights in the $700's for April now. Just the legacy airlines flying that route from Houston.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for all the input y’all! Yup, I’m very Texan living in New Mexico! One last question. If I want to check a bag, I have to go the the airlines web site right? Oh, also, some of the fine prints sounds like they expect the traveler to claim their bag at each stop and re-check. Is that right?
This is my first trip abroad, don’t want to screw it up.
Thanks so much, Richard

Posted by
215 posts

If you are buying from a third party website that has multiple leg flights with different airlines YES you could have to collect baggage multiple times which means potentially going back through security. I really do not suggest doing the third party business for flights.

Posted by
449 posts

Five years ago everyone it used to be that everyone flying in Europe would be taking a only carryon bag to avoid paying for checked bags. With the airlines restricting carryons and discount airlines with cheap tickets I notice that most of the travelers checked in a big bag and just flew with a small bag in the cabin. Check your bag and go have fun just don't get too big of a bag since you will have to roll it everywhere and carry it up the stairs.

Posted by
5379 posts

I flew basic economy to France last year (I now refer to it as Economy-Minus) on United -- by paying for the ticket with my United Explorer card direct with the airline I was able to get one free checked bag, and paid a small fee for seat reservations.

It may be cheaper to just fly the full economy fare which includes the checked bag rather than the bare-bones flight if you are adding on bag + reservation.

Posted by
3144 posts

Here in Europe, there is a growing movement to stop throw away
clothing that many on this forum advocate.

Wow, I never realized tourists are throwing away perfectly good clothing for the ‘convenience’ of making their luggage lighter; I find such a practice absolutely disgusting.

This is akin to ripping up a book which is also very much advocated in this forum sadly. If tourists don’t wish to carry clothing back, why don’t they donate them? Surely those managing the lodging where they stay can advise of a local church, synagogue, school or fire house that accepts clothing donations. There are so many people who need clothing. Don’t throw away your clothes. Makes me wonder if people actually throw away their perfectly good clothes at home....😔

Posted by
5010 posts

Sounds like a "Franken-ticket".

A routing stitched together from separate legs, all on different airlines, separate tickets for each leg. Ewwwwww yuck.
OP's reference to having to claim checked bags after each leg and re-check for the next leg is a dead-giveway.

Plenty of potential headaches here. If you miss-connect any leg and don't make the onward flight, there's a high probability of being stranded, as each airline is going to shrug, tell you it's not their problem, and suggest you to call someone else (you might test how easy/difficult it is to actually contact the ticket sellers - do they even have a phone number you can find?).

Personally, I have no interest in playing Russian roulette with air travel. Life is too short for that, saving a few bucks is not worth all the hassles and risking your trip collapsing. But that's just me - I think 99.9% of the public who seem to only care about getting the absolute cheapest (cough cough worst) flight is incredibly shortsighted and has resulted in the sorry state of air travel today. Others disagree, and I wish them well with their cheap tickets, but that's not for me.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone! I settled on a flight that won’t have baggage issues. I didn’t realize there was such a problem with visitors buy clothes then trashing them. I realized I had already bought the clothes I wanted to bring!

Now to get a train pass bought for my trip!

Posted by
5010 posts

Now to get a train pass bought for my trip!

Danger, Will Robinson!

Rail passes ain't what they used to be (they used to be a good value and often a no-brainer for footloose, carefree travel). Today, rail passes often (usually?) are not a good deal. Unfortunately, it depends on exactly what kind of trip you are looking at, so it's impossible to generalize.

That said, these days, it's often a much better deal to just buy point-to-point tickets in advance. To figure out if you are better off with a rail pass or point-to-point tickets requires some effort: you need to find out the cost of each of the train tickets you need, total that up, and compare to the cost of a rail pass. Many people (most?) find that point-to-point is significantly less expensive than a railpass - especially if you buy well in advance (again, it depends on your specific needs). Gotta do the homework to get the best deal in this case.