I used to fly to Europe for a little above $300. The most I paid was last year, $560 to Barcelona and I booked 6 months in advance. Now, I am trying to book a trip from NYC to anywhere in Europe for either October '08 or January 09 and I'm not finding anything less than $800. Does anyone know when this will change if at all or do you know how I can fly cheaper??
"how I can fly cheaper?" Flap your arms really hard? Seriously, though, this is the age-old conundrum of trans-Atlantic travellers....do you book now, or wait and hope the price goes down? I, too, flew to Madrid last year for $500...this fall, same month, same itinerary, it's costing me $800. If you can get something for $800 for October (only 2 months away), that's probably as good as it's going to get. With tourism down, we'd usually see sales. But with fuel prices still sky-high (and no sign they'll be dropping), and airlines severely cutting the number of seats they'll be flying, it's unlikely to get much better. A couple of suggestions. Use a search engine like kayak.com that checks dozens of other sites, then check the airlines listed. Travelling in January will probably get you a better deal. And travelling Tues-Thurs will also probably get you a cheaper deal. I find BA for 6-27 January at $659 RT to LGW from JFK, all included (except for whatever ridiculous luggage charges may be in place by then :).
They have a flight in October from JFK to Gatwick for October. They are a reliable Canadian trans-oceanic airline that flies out of a few US cities. If you are willing to fly to Gatwick, or possibly train/fly to Toronto and have flexible dates then you might be able to save a little bit.
You east coasters are lucky because thanks to the distance it's cheaper for you. If you want to travel off season I'm sure you could pay less but other than that fuel costs have pushed prices a lot higher.
We have been looking also. From Newark, NJ to Munich or Frankfurt this coming October. In fact, I just checked www.travelocity.com again and found flights as cheap as $619 R/T incl. all taxes and fees. That's what roughly the fares I've been seeing for the past 2 weeks now on travelocity and on Lufthansa's website. I think they're very good prices.
You need to check American. I looked today for late Sept/Oct JFK to FRA and it was $544 plus tax $659 total.
I can fly from Nashville to CDG/FRA/ or AMS for under $800 so should be much cheaper from JFK.
I track fares using Kayak.com--they have a "Buzz" feature the sends an e-mail message to let you know current fares. Today my message said that fares from Atlanta to Stuttgart are $688 for Nov, Dec, and Jan on Delta. Check Kayak fares for various European cities from NYC. Good luck!
Jane: The airlines' fuel cost has increased big time over a year or two ago, same problem you see at the gas pump except the Captain of a 747 is charging up roughly 20,000 gallons on his credit card for a fill-up. They call it fuel surcharges. Unless the price of oil goes back down to what is was last year or the year before, there's no way airfares are going to be what they were in the past.
Sign up for email alerts from various airlines and travel sites (Hotwire, Travelocity, etc). I had notices of flights to Europe for $500-800 good for travel through 1/19/2009.
I just checked travelocity.com and orbitz.com to find fares to Frankfurt to be $1100! Hotwire.com is $865.
Some travelers use hotwire.com for discount air. Others use priceline.com and bid on low air fares.
Using princeline.com I have bid on auto rentals and hotel rooms successfully for the past two years. I get Hertz or Avis cars for half the advertised rate and hotel suites for half the rate of rooms in any given area.
I have frequent flyer miles; so I don't bid on air fares.
If you are interested in bidding, read bidontravel.com,
to learn how.
Learning how to bid took me about a week, bidding once a day and using the methods described in the webpages listed above. I will never go back to the old way of buying cars and rooms on the net.
Last week I booked a flight to Hamburg and out of Munich for early October for a total of $771, traveling Tues-Wed. I checked fares about every other day for more than 3 weeks, and what I found was that on most days of the week, the fare would be higher than when I checked on a Tuesday or Wednesday. The fares went from 809 and then 878 and then 801 and then 773 and then 873 and then at 771, I bought the ticket on Wednesday. On Tuesday the same flights had been 873. It was also amazing that the main destinations such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Milan, and Paris were higher..... and I even have to change planes in Amsterdam to get to Hamburg. So strange, but it pays to check fares almost daily.
In today's newspaper, I saw a full page ad for Delta flights from NYC to Amsterdam for $329 (I believe) one way. They also had a sale price for Milan. It said you have to purchase the tickets by Aug. 25. I think it said if you book over the phone with Delta, it's $25 more. I didn't read all of the small print. Check it out. Good Luck!
Prices will go down soon. Lufthansa just announced a sale. They usually drop a lot after summer. This year the magic date seems to be Sep. 4th when several sales kick in and others match. The price of oil dropping may help the rates drop a little extra. JFK has the best prices to anywhere. I think you will be able to fly for nearly what you did last year although I've noted a wide range in prices depending on your destination (Copenhagen is cheaper than London for example).
Are you using Sidestep.com to shop for rates? Unless someone knows something better, that's where I shop. I set up a rate watch for daily email updates on the best price for my flight plans. When it hits a good price, I can go online and book it.
Thanks for all who replied. All replies are helpful. Has anyone had success booking through sidestep.com? My consistent success in finding cheap tickets, is (hence the name) cheaptickets.com
I got a flight from Denver to London in December, US Airways, $842 all taxes and fees included, via www.flycheapabroad.com. This year, with the gas prices, I dont think it will go much UNDER $800, even off season.
Looks like the word is getting around to travelers: high gas prices for cars is related to high airfares--except gas for cars may decrease down if the price of oil decreases, whereas some airline industry commentators are saying airfare increases of the last two years related to the price of aviation fuel may not be "given back" even if oil price decreases.Even Rick has admitted it: In his 2008 books he gave $700 - $1000 as an approximate range of US-to-Europe airfares (depending on distance, etc). In his 2009 books he has increased that range of airfares: $1000 - $1500 (he's talking peak season). That he raised it, in one year, from $700 - $1000 to $1000 - $1500 tells us something.
We are flying from Sfo to Munich for $1550 for 2 persons on Lufthansa..got our tickets 2 months ago..now they are higher. Thought that was pretty good price
Wow, Char, that's really good! What site did you use? I am sure many of us would like to know!
I think I have come to the conclusion that there is no single "magic website" or sure-fire technique that will always work to get low airfare. Seems to me there are some generalities,rules of thumb, there are economic conditions, and some niche markets- but to be successful you have to use all the information and tools you can, and be RELENTLESS. And perhaps, a tad lucky as well. As a commodity, air travel prices these days are very volatile- and exceptions to the commonly accepted wisdom can and do occur.
This year we were able to find R/T air (in July, peak season) to Frankfurt for $612 each roundtrip including taxes on a major carrier. That fare may have only been available for the 3 minutes that it took me to book it. However, prior to that I probably wore out a laptop and put in 100 hours looking for a deal. Now, if that airline goes bust I will start to feel personally responsible...
You may want to check out slickdeals.net, specifically http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=211759&t=918120
People are getting flights for around $250+, out of Chicago and flying through D.C. Into London (LHR). It was really hard for me to pass up...and I'm still thinking about it. I imagine this deal will be dead very soon...
When it says Flight for $250, that is usually not including the taxes and fuel surcharges. My flight to London i got for $842, the flight itself is $231. The rest is fuel surcharges and taxes, etc....
Actually it was total cost, but it's over now - deal is dead. But it lasted 2 days which is pretty long for a slick deal.
Someone asked about using sidestep:
I don't ever book through the site but use it to see which airline is offering the best deals. I then go directly to the airline's site to book b/c there are usually more options for departure times than what Sidestep lists.
Sidestep also has a neat function in the Buzz section where you list your departure airport and then can select Europe for your destination and then you choose the month (goes till August 09 right now). It'll show you all the flights to different locations in Europe. With the great rail system it can end up being cheaper overall to fly into a city other than your final destination.
These things are so transitory, but I've been having the same issue for weeks now and finally found a $594 fare with American Airlines to fly SFO-LON and ROM-SFO. Taxes were a tolerable $88.80. I booked them this evening! (It was better than a travel agent could find!) I'm traveling 4-27 November.
Last week I bought a RT ticket to Milan for mid July for $900. It was a special with United operating with Air One (a private Italian Airline that just took over some of Alitalia's cancelled transatlantic routes). I found the fare and bought it immediately. The next day the same fare was $1700. I admit I got VERY LUCKY. It takes persistence and flexibility to find an affordable airfare to Europe now. I did use Kayak because it peruses many airline websites.