least expensive international airports

Hello all.
I am planning on going to Paris next May for a visit to friends. However, I would be happy to travel by train or boat to France from another country if the total is less expensive. What European airports are generally less expensive to fly into?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7459 posts

In general, airports that have the most competition (# of flights), have cheaper fares. As CDG is one of the busiest airports in the world, it's unlikely that flying into another European city would make things cheaper. It would be better to compare fares for different airports in the US that will connect you to Paris.


Posted by Frank II
4654 posts

Michael is right. By the time you fly into another airport and then pay for additional transportation to Paris, you won't be saving much, if anything, over flying directly into Paris.

Start watching fares and when they get low enough for your liking, buy your ticket.

Posted by Kaitlin
Eugene, Oregon, USA
2 posts

Thank you all for your feedback. I'll be exploring the various lines that people have mentioned. :)
So far the least expensive route (next April) that I've found is into Madrid, and taking a train from there to Paris.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21678 posts


It's difficult to provide a specific answer to your question, as I'm not too familiar with the flight options from your area. I'm assuming you'll be departing from PDX?

Generally speaking, the best prices will be to major "hub" airports - London Gatwick & Heathrow, Amsterdam, Paris and especially Frankfurt. The time of year may also influence prices. if the "load factor" is high (ie: flights are full), airlines can afford to offer better pricing. Also, the amount of competition on a particular route will have a bearing on the prices.

Are there any charter airlines operating from your area (similar to Air Transat and others that operate in Canada)???

As the others have mentioned, you'll also need to consider the time and costs in getting from whichever airport you choose to Paris. IMHO, I'd prefer to pay a bit more and fly directly to my intended destination, rather than worry about layovers and connections when I'm jet lagged after a 10-12 hour transatlantic flight!

Happy travels!

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1035 posts

One thing to keep in mind is that the taxes on tickets that either end or begin at one of the UK airports tend to be extremely high - these taxes are almost double what you would pay using one of the airports on the continent. I believe this only applies for journeys that start/end in the UK. Hence, I would suggest avoiding the UK airports if you want to save money.

However, you won't be impacted much if you are just connecting at one of the UK airports.

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
776 posts

I actually disagree with earlier posters. I have found CDG to be fairly costly and not to have some of the great sales that others do.

I have flown into both London and Brussels and taken the Eurostar to Paris for a considerable savings in the past.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

I'll agree with Carol. I've personally never seen fares from my departure points of MSP or ORD to CDG to be less expensive than FRA or LHR. Even, Schiphol is high from MSP, which is funny given that MSP and Schiphol are hubs for NWA/KLM. In my humble opinion, better fares are found by routing through FRA and LHR. If your desire is to go to Paris, however, then Frank II and Ken's replies regarding extra time and cost of rail to get there from somewhere else should be seriously considered…Eurostar can be pricey.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7459 posts

I just went to Kayak.com entered travel dates of Nov15-Nov22, and did searches from ORD to Frankfurt, Heathrow, and CDG. The lowest fares to Frankfurt, and CDG were identical. To Heathrow the lowest fare was almost $100 dollars more. Similar results for MSP. Of course from time to time airlines offer special fares to select cities which can mix things up, which is why I said "In general".

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

Michael: That seems unusual to me, and I was doing a lot of tracking using these airport combos back in Jan-March of this year for a fall trip. However, you’re right. I just double-checked on skyscanner for next May…fares right now are about the same for FRA and CDG. Indeed, it does change…I’ve just never seen less expensive fares to CDG. For now, it looks like it wouldn’t matter from ORD.

Posted by Frank II
4654 posts

Right now, Paris tourism is down 11% over the same time last year. Airlines want to fill seats so they will lower the fares.

And with all the airline mergers in Europe, it's becoming one big destination with fares constantly changing. An expensive airport today could be the budget destination tomorrow.

Posted by Sharon
2727 posts

Not sure if this would work from the West coast but I've found Stuttgart, Germany to have good airfares--it might be one to consider tracking for comparison. It's an easy trip to Paris on the TGV--about 4 hours. As others have said, you'd have to check out the cost of the TGV trip and factor that into the price.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7927 posts

The best deals are where they have more capacity than passengers. It changes regularly, so it's probably not possible to say one airport is always cheaper.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8781 posts

Kaitlin,, curious, how much is train from Madrid to Paris,,, ?? I have found trains often more expensive.

Plus,, there is your time.

I have found flying into London is most often cheapest,, then taking Eurostar to Paris. I book Eurostar the 90 days out that they allow,, and have always gotten it return for less then 100 dollars.

I have on occaison found the flights right into Paris comparable, so have taken them.

In Europe I have used Vueling air for cheap flights. I have also booked hubby on AirBerliner and Tuifly,,, both cheaper intereuropeon airlines,, but not cheap and crappy like some other unnamed discount airlines( RA? LOL)