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Out of touch on flights US to/from EU

Our last visit to Europe was in 2019. Relative to how the air industry has changed since then has me perplexed.

What I’m finding is that most flights these days take 24 hours (or more) to get to and from anywhere in Europe, with almost as much time—in some cases more—in layovers as flying.

Is this the new normal?

Posted by
8639 posts

I'm guessing that this has a great deal to do with the city pairs you are looking at. I'm finding that from Seattle I usually have one connection and the time is about 12-15 hours depending on where I am going.

Are you by any chance looking at flights that you can get with frequent flier miles? You can expect the options to be limited on these.

Posted by
1013 posts

Not sure where you are checking, but go to the airline website page and check actual journey times. For me, using Saint Louis via Chicago to London can be from 10.5 hours to 18 hours depending on the layover time in Chicago (American Airlines). Now that most flight routes are back to near normal, I don't think times are much different from when it was before. I do know that from my house (mid-Missouri) to my brother's house (North East of London by 50 miles) is about 24 hours of travel time. However, if you are looking for a bargain or using points, the airlines are going to give you the least desirable itinerary, and perhaps that is why you are seeing a journey with a longer time.

Posted by
99 posts

March 27, flew Chicago to Heathrow with a 2-hour layover and on to Venice. Apr 11, Rome to Charlotte with a 2-hour layover in Charlotte then on the Chicago. I think what you are seeing is less choice on nonstops. Are you booking with a consolidator or the airline? Planes half full both ways. What a pleasure.

Posted by
8873 posts

As Nigel asked, from where to where?

Did you research direct non stop flights?

Posted by
2853 posts

Where are you coming from and going to? It takes me 8.5 - 9 hours to get to and from Zurich, Switzerland from Chicago. I always look for a nonstop flight if one is available. I realize i'm lucky being so close to O'Hare airport.

Posted by
8063 posts

Delta has a direct to Paris starting August 2022 from Cincinnati. Are you only finding flight tickets in your price range that take 24hours?

Posted by
995 posts

Yes. This is the new normal. You are most likely right about most trips from the USA to Europe taking 24 or more hours. Let's look at my trip to Spain in March of this year as an example. My taxi to Detroit metro airport arrived at 3:50 am on a Saturday. My flight from Detroit to Miami left at 7am. My flight from Miami to Madrid left at 6:30pm. The plane arrived in Madrid at 8:55 am local time. My train trip to Seville left Madrid at 3:00 pm. I arrived at my hotel in Seville at about 6:15pm local winter time (1:15 pm Eastern daylight time). From 3:50am Saturday morning Eastern daylight time to 1:15pm Eastern daylight time Sunday was 33 hours, 25 minutes.

Posted by
365 posts

Are you saying 24hr flights, or total travel time? The direct flights are approx same amount of time, no that has not changed.

Are there more lengthy connecting flights and/or might you want to rethink your entry point or departure airport? Possibly.

Posted by
2597 posts

We are flying to Greece next month. We flew there in 2018 as well. I did notice many more terribly long connections than four years ago. On the other hand, I was able to book a flight with very good connections-as good as previously. So at least from my airport I was able to find better options.

Part of the problem is there are fewer flights flying now than before the pandemic.

Posted by
768 posts

I’ve been looking at Rome, or Milan, or Paris to Cincinnati. I’m not using points or “miles”. There used to be one or two flights a week (yes, a week), Paris to/from Cincinnati, but this was “back in the day. . .” CVG is nearly a ghost airport these days, so I’m not expecting non-stop but l’d sure like to avoid 2 stops and 12+hours of misery in layovers.

Posted by
2597 posts

Have you tried goggle flights? I was able to get better connections using it and then following it to United. Part of my flight is on Swiss air and I couldn’t buy that leg if I started with United. It was possible through Swiss air but much more expensive.

Also try sharing your flight a day or two one way or another. Some flights fly only certain days.

Posted by
8239 posts

Jon: CVG has always been a "stepchild" of airports in the East due to Delta having such a big part of the market there. Even at that, you should be able to get to ORD or ATL and go just about anywhere in Europe you need to go on a One Stop flight.

Regarding going to ATH, it's another "stepchild" of an airport. We're starting a cruise out of Athens the first of June, and we found just getting there from London to be difficult--and very expensive. Budget European Airlines don't go from and to everywhere we need to go.

Long hours sitting in connecting airports are listed on flight schedules. I keep on looking and always find shorter duration trips than what's listed. The lowest price is not necessarily the best value--when it comes to comfort.

Posted by
365 posts

Try Google your airport to “europe” and your dates and say nonstop- what direct flights are offered will show up. If you have other airport options within 1-2hrs I’d look at those too.

Posted by
497 posts

You can also try checking via Kayak and it will give you options for flexible dates and number of stops as well as time.

Posted by
11505 posts

On had no problem finding one stop flights from CVG to MXP/FCO/CDG that were 15 hours or less each way.

(Random dates in June)

Posted by
2768 posts

From CVG there should be plenty of flights to Chicago or NY and then directs to all those places from there. There’s no need for 2 stop flights. Just filter those out on your search - only look at one stop. A one stop is unlikely to be 24+ hours. A 2 hour flight to NY, let’s be fairly extreme and give you a 6 hour layover, then a 9 hour flight. That’s still well under 24.
If you were going to a place in Europe with no directs from the US then you’d need a 2 stop and the additional layover might make it take that long.

So the one stop filter is important. Looking at random dates, there are plenty of one stops with travel times in the 15 hour range.

If it helps, can you drive to another airport? Dayton, Columbus, or Indianapolis are close. I wouldn’t think they’d be any better but if it saves you 10 hours of layover to drive 2 hours…

Posted by
1224 posts

No way are you going to get a direct flight from Cincinnati to Paris etc..., not anymore. We drive the 2 hours to O'Hare to have better flight options (or take a bus service) than using our closest airport. We then get a lot of direct flight options or connections being on the European continent, which to me is better than the connection being in the US on the way to Europe.

Posted by
15690 posts

I also don't know where you're looking but Google Flights is the the place you should be checking flights.

Is 24 hours the new normal....only if you don't plan well.

Posted by
2267 posts

Agree with the above posters- use the filters to find one-stop itineraries and you'll find better options.

Delta has announced that it will resume non-stops between CVG-CDG in August, but I don't see those loaded into the schedule yet.

Posted by
90 posts

After trying to use my Delta miles to get from Portland OR to Rome and finding only 3+ stop/30 hr itineraries, I had the brilliant idea to use miles just for the JFK-FCO leg, and I bought the PDX-JFK leg. So now I have 2 non-stops with a 4 hr layover at JFK.

I realize you're not using miles, but you could try looking at separate itineraries rather than trying to book straight through. This will add some uncertainty to your trip in terms of potential scheduling hiccups and/or luggage limitations, but if you're willing to piece it together, you might be able to save yourself time & money.