Please sign in to post.

Haven't flown in 19 years, and........

Hi all. I haven't flown in since 1997 and I know everything has changed.

I am looking at Germany-Austria this September 2016. Kayak shows open jaw into Vienna and out of Frankfort for 850 each. Better than I anticipated! I figured around 1500-ish (each.)

I know to book directly with the airlines instead of an online consolidator, but what else do I need to know? These particular flights had short layovers, less than one hour. I am afraid that's not enough time....

I would be flying out of Windsor Ontario. What do you more seasoned travellers here have to say??

Posted by
416 posts

It was Windsor>Toronto>Warsaw>Vienna ad coming home it was Frankfort>Warsaw>Toronto>Windsor.

Some of those had 55 minute layovers. I thought that was too tight for my comfort zone. I am envisioning a large airport, all spread out, with a language barrier, and long lines for Customs.

They did have a lot from which to choose, so maybe I will play around a bit more and see if I can find something with a longer layover.

Posted by
2320 posts

An hour is a bit tight, but I must say that I always choose to fly through Frankfurt as I've always been handled quite efficiently and expeditiously, and there's never been a language issue. I allow a minimum of 2 hours so I won't be frazzled, and also because they have good food and a book shop I am quite fond of.

Posted by
416 posts

Thanks! I think at least 2 hours would be better. It is a bit early to be booking now for travel in September, but that $850 each is a lot better than I was expecting.

Posted by
1976 posts

Hi Judy. I'd keep looking. September is still 8 months away. $850 is a good price, but because you have 2 connections going over and coming back, I'd be concerned about the domino effect if one of your flights is late. Itineraries with just one layover may be more expensive, but the layover time might be longer which is definitely worth considering. Welcome to the world of 21st-century travel: time and energy vs. cost.

Posted by
8116 posts

I would check flights from Detroit. My husband flew Lufthansa direct from Frankfurt this past August and then back to Germany and said they were a good flights. Saves you time getting to Canada and the layovers.

Posted by
416 posts

Hi Ms. Jo! I actually live in Windsor even though it says Westland Michigan. The last time I checked, it was a lot more to go out of Detroit Metro than it was to fly out of Windsor. But as another poster noted, I still have 8 months to search. I like the $850 but those tight connection times make me nervous. Lol.

I am also confused about the actual ticket. I guess there are no more physical paper tickets any more, eh?

Posted by
9718 posts

After you book online you can print out your itinerary and then when you check in you can get a paper boarding pass. Some people are able to check in on-line but from my local airport/airline I can't check in online if traveling internationally and needing to show a passport. So no, no more little book of tickets, lol.

Some people do all their boarding passes on their smartphones but I am not trusting enough of technology to be comfortable without a paper back up! I did it last year for the Eurostar train from London to Paris but I had a paper boarding as backup.

Posted by
7205 posts

A bit too early to book for September??? Better a bit too early at a great price than a bit too LATE and end up with a huge price. Those schedules will be tweeked and adjusted from now until the flight gets closer. Don't wait.

Posted by
2716 posts

The price is excellent, and it is in no way too early to book. Book as soon as you see what you want, at a price you're happy with. I booked for May in September and haven't seen a better price since.

That said, the layovers are too short for my comfort. I'd narrow on kayak to a longer layover. Do you know how to use the filters on kayak to find an itinerary that works? I'd go for 2 hours. Certainly no less than 1.5.

Posted by
2716 posts

The price is excellent, and it is in no way too early to book. Book as soon as you see what you want, at a price you're happy with. I booked for May in September and haven't seen a better price since.

That said, the layovers are too short for my comfort. I'd narrow on kayak to a longer layover. Do you know how to use the filters on kayak to find an itinerary that works? I'd go for 2 hours. Certainly no less than 1.5.

I will say that I have found flying from Canada to be significantly cheaper than the US. I'm not sure if it's exchange rates, regulations, demand, or what. But it has been true in my experience.

Posted by
1217 posts

My question is what the options are if you miss a connection somewhere. Warsaw-Franfurt has the sound of a reasonably common route that will have 4-8 flights on an airline or its partners in the course of a day and it would be reasonably easy for the airline to rebook you if you were delayed at that transit point. Vienna-Toronto or Warsaw-Toronto sounds like if you miss the flight, you're looking at a flight the next day or something with an even more oddball routing to get you home within 12-16 hours of original schedule.

Posted by
416 posts

@Mira... No I do not know how to adjust the filters to search for flights with longer layovers. I'm at work on my phone. Maybe when I get home and check on the pc, it will be easier.

I am also expecting that $850 to be more like $1000 by the time I have to pay for a carry on, seat assignment, etc. Ugh... Lol

Posted by
518 posts

Yes, one hour stopover is very short. Also, be sure you are clear on how the flight is being ticketed. For example, is the entire journey ticketed with the same carrier or are you being sold two completed separate tickets/journeys? I've read on here some stories of others missing their connecting flights and having trouble with compensation or accommodations due to how the journey was ticketed.

Posted by
31471 posts

Judy,

I may have missed it, but are planning to fly from Windsor to Toronto, and use Pearson for your direct flight to Vienna and then home from Frankfurt (note spelling so that you don't end up in Kentucky)? As you're living in Windsor you won't have to go through Passport control, which would be the case if you were travelling from the U.S.

If that's the case, one thing that could be of concern is if you're using one airline to fly to YYZ and a different airline for the trip to Europe. That means you'd have to retrieve luggage and recheck on the next flight, which could take some time. If you're using code share flights (both on the same ticket) that shouldn't be a concern as the airline will be responsible for transferring your luggage from one flight to another.

Posted by
34 posts

I hesitate on the one-hour layovers. A short delay or stiff headwind can EASILY turn that hour into 30 minutes, and a run across terminals, etc. Particularly on the leg where you have two connections, missing one could snowball into a lot of problems.

Posted by
544 posts

Hi Judy,

I understand your concern about short layovers. It's amazing to me that we can travel halfway around the world and somewhat reliably predict our arrival time.

I've never chosen a longer layover than the shortest allowable connection. This used to be because the travel agent would just book the tickets and I'd pick them up at their office.

My best recommendation for low stress long distance travel is to arrive the day before your tour starts. For your trip home, avoid scheduling anything important the day after you arrive. I also tell people that ask (except my ride from the airport) that I'm getting home the day after I actually am.

That way if there are delays I'm not missing anything or letting anyone down.

Nordheim

Posted by
527 posts

Checking dates of travel September 6-20 as an example, the $807 or $877 fare comes up with 2 changes, buying thru Expedia or Travelocity or OneTravel. Buying thru the airline, Air Canada, with only one change , fare seems to be 1420. All layover times seemed reasonable (more than an hour, or two).

I'm not sure what I'd do. I like longer layovers and only one change if possible, and I do prefer buying directly from the airline, but it is a fairly big difference in fare.

Edit: I see you listed 3 changes. I didn't see any of those on Kayak. What are your dates of travel?

Posted by
416 posts

I was looking at Sunday Sept. 4 and returning on either the 22nd or the 23rd. It was showing me, Windsor to Toronto, change planes, fly to Warsaw, change again to Vienna. Home was Frankfurt to Warsaw to Toronto to Windsor. The changing isn't the greatest but I would do it if the price was right. It was just those short layover times that had me spooked!

Posted by
416 posts

@Ken-- Thanks for your reply-- I see you a lot on the Germany board a lot. :) There won't be any luggage to check, we're just bringing a carry on. And, @ Nordheim-- No tour, it's just my husband and myself heading off to germany and Austria to see some sights. :)

Posted by
31471 posts

Judy,

When choosing flights, I've always found that one has to try and find just the right balance between "cost and agony". The flights you've mentioned so far may be cheaper as they use a longer and more convoluted route.

I did a brief search using the dates you provided and these were the easiest Air Canada flights I found.....

  • Depart Windsor / YQG at 15:00, arrive Toronto / YYZ at 16:04
  • Depart Toronto at 18:05, arrive Vienna at 08:40 (+1)
  • TOTAL TIME 11H:40M

For the return flight, this appears to be the easiest....

  • Depart Frankfurt / FRA at 09:20, arrive Toronto / YYZ at 11:35
  • Depart Toronto at 13:30, arrive Windsor at 14:37
  • TOTAL TIME 11H:17M

Unfortunately, those probably won't be the cheapest options. Air travel is often a grueling experience these days, so I usually prefer to choose the shortest flights possible. I'd much prefer to endure the "agony" for 11 hours rather than 18 hours or more. Finding the right balance between cost and flight times is the hard part.

Good luck!

Posted by
6872 posts

You've got Delta Airlines servicing many major European cities from Detroit non-stop. They start flying to Munich from Detroit May 26th, and it'd be a great place to fly into if you're traveling Germany and Austria.

YZZ Toronto is an airport to be avoided if you're coming in from Europe--if at all possible.

Posted by
396 posts

Hi David, what is the reason behind your comment, "YZZ [YYZ] Toronto is an airport to be avoided if you're coming in from Europe--if at all possible."

-Infrequent flyer : )

Posted by
178 posts

May I suggest that you use a travel agent?. They can get you the same deals that you can get online and they will ensure that you get to your destination with the best connections. Why don't you just drive to Toronto and take advantage of one of the airport hotels fly and drive packages and fly from there. We used Austrian airlines to Vienna non stop and home with Lufthansa from Frankfort. It was the worst experience service wise we have ever had, not to mention a rather dated 747 aircraft.

Posted by
416 posts

@ Carol: I like the idea of using a travel agent. Thanks for the suggestion!!

Posted by
11613 posts

If you do this in your own, you can check in online 24 hours before your flight and print your boarding passes at home, or just ask an agent for help when you get to the airport, just allow a few minutes for this process.

I remember my first flight after 12 years, I was anxious but everyone was helpful. You'll be fine.

Posted by
31471 posts

Judy,

Using a travel agent is definitely something to consider (that's something I always do on trans-atlantic flights). However, I'd suggest that you scope out the various flight options before visiting the T.A., so that you have a good idea on which ones you might prefer. That will same some time when actually booking the flights.

Posted by
1437 posts

I'd also suggest using a travel agent in this case. Simply because there will be schedule changes between now and departure - sometimes early in the game and sometimes just before departure. A TA knows the rules best and can stay on top of the changes, as well as being in the best position to negotiate a better routing or schedule for you, if such a change becomes problematic. Use a TA from a large consortium for the best results (like CAA, for example).

Posted by
1437 posts

Oh, and buy now - that's a very good price, given that the airline taxes alone are sitting at about $500 of that, for tickets to Europe out of Canada...
You won't have to pay for your seat assignment for the Trans-Atlantic flight segment, nor will you have to pay for one checked-bag and one carry-on.

Do check out the new carry-on limits for EACH of the airlines that your ticket will have you fly with, then make sure that you comply with the airline that has the STRICTEST rules. (Since you last flew 19 years ago, you may have to buy a new carry-on bag - measurements do include wheels and handles.)

Posted by
3683 posts

I suspect that some of these price comparisons may be confused by the dire exchange rate for the Canadian dollar, which is probably the currency used for the quotes from Air Canada since you live in Canada. That aside, AC has been consistently cheaper out of Windsor to Europe than Delta/KLM/Air France from Detroit. For several years, back to when the dollars were at par, AC has beaten the Detroit fares by hundreds of dollars, at the expense of flying a puddle-jumper to Toronto and making an extra change of planes. Cheap parking at Windsor airport, too.
The schedules suggested by Ken certainly have safer time margins for the connections, especially on the return flight. Toronto Pearson is an efficient airport but it does sprawl so there is a lot of walking to reach the commuter to Windsor, with several security checks along the way. Border clearance is different for US citizens than Canadians, even though you live in Windsor, so you would need a lot of luck to make the connecting westbound flight in an hour. But the AC subsidiary running that route will have another flight in a couple of hours, as long as you don't choose the last flight of the night. I'm assuming your whole itinerary is with AC and its partners such as Lufthansa, so AC will take responsibility for the connection.

Here are recent developments to be aware of. It is becoming increasingly common to face an additional charge to reserve a seat in advance. That will be particularly true if you choose a flight operated by the AC subsidiary Rouge, intended to be "low cost" so you pay for extras such as in-flight entertainment. Security is much stricter than the last time you flew so learn what cannot be carried in hand luggage. Duty-free alcohol may be restricted from hand luggage if changing planes. And on the trans-ocean flights the carriers want you in your seat at least a half hour before takeoff.