Travel from Portland to Paris

Any guidelines as to what type of flights are best? Does it make sense to fly overnight or is jet lag always a given. I see flights that stop in Seattle and then Iceland. Has anyone done this?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Peggy, Many flights tend to be "overnight flights" due to the fact that you're travelling east, and you'll generally arrive in Europe the day after you depart. For example, if I depart my home airport in the afternoon, I'll arrive in Europe on the morning of the following day (which is about 02:00 home time). Yes, jet lag is always a given (in my experience). Everyone seems to have their own methods for dealing with that. I'd suggest using a non-stop if at all possible, as those will have the shortest travel times. I checked briefly but wasn't able to find any non-stops from PDX. However there were some available from SEA with Delta or Air France, with a flight time of about 10.5 hours. Happy travels!

Posted by Galen
Dallas, United States
390 posts

First, as Ken has indicated, most flights to Europe are overnight. Probably all from the West Coast. Second, for those of us in the Portland vicinity, we like the PDX - AMS nonstop (Delta). Your first leg is to Europe so flight delays won't cause you to miss your overseas flight, and you can easily get from AMS to Paris or anywhere else in Europe via plane or train. Another easy route to Paris on Delta is PDX-SLC-CDG. Have a great trip.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

"Does it make sense to fly overnight or is jet lag always a given" It's not "or," it's "and." Given that Paris is 9 hours ahead of Portland, it's hard to avoid jet lag, no matter how you fly between them. The only day flights to Europe are from Chicago, Boston and New York (and possibly DC) to London. They have ardent fans because, while you "waste" a day flying, you depart in the morning and land at night, get to bed, and then are relatively rested the next day. Some west coast residents are such fans of these that they fly to the east coast a day early and spend a night in a hotel to catch one of them. But for you, this would be PDX to JFK to LHR to Paris (last leg can be on the train). Unless you're really set on a day flight, this will take a lot longer and be a lot harder than the easier options. If you are connecting on the east coast to non-day flights, you have to get an early flight from your home city to connect the same day to Europe. You can also connect in the "middle" of the US, like SLC or Chicago; Chicago, in particular, has nonstop service to a variety of cities, so this can be a good option. However, most west coast residents prefer to fly nonstop to Europe, then change in Europe to their final city. This is faster (sometimes substantially) than changing on the east coast of the US, and if you miss the connection on the east coast, the next flight may be the next day, while in Europe, the next flight is likely only a few hours later. As said above, apparently the only nonstop out of Portland OR is to Amsterdam. Luckily for you, it's a user-friendly airport, very good to change flights in, and has lots of ways to kill time if you have a longer connection. To find all flight options, use http://www.kayak.com; you then book directly with the airline.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

Second part, yes, lots of people fly Icelandic from Seattle, but as you can see from the schedule, it leaves Seattle late afternoon and lands in Iceland first thing the following morning.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
869 posts

Peggy,we fly out of PDX for our annual trips to the EU. We love Delta's PDX to AMS route, especially when we can get the Economy Comfort seats. My Nephew has flown Icelandic Air out of Seattle, and enjoyed the stopover in Iceland. But this year we could not get the seats and prices we want, so we chose a trip thru NY to London. We will have the same problem as always; arriving at our destination with jet lag, early in the morning. But I don't like sitting for ten hours, and this two step flight really means that the longest I have to sit is 7 hours. I have found that Rick Steves tips on how to minimize jet lag are "right-on-the-money" (see travel tips in his book, or upper left on this page) We get up and going as soon as we land, and always try to plan an outdoor excusion. This gets us to dinner, and then we do not go to bed until 9PM. We sleep like a rock, and awake the next day, ready to begin the balance of our trip. Have a great trip!

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

If you end up choosing Icelandair, I would highly recommend taking advantage of their free stopover in Iceland for at least a day or more (even a short trip to the Blue Lagoon is worth it)

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

hi, as mentioned you do fly over nigth. In other words, its the next day when you arrive over there. after finding out that there are direct flights from PDX to AMS, i use that option as much as possible and now use AMS as my "hub". getting a puddle jumper from there to someone else is a snap. If i want to stay on the contient, trains are good to. ALso, the flight from PDX to AMS is a 10 hour flight. My first time over there had 2 layovers and it added 6 more hours to my flight time. Time=$$ or gound pounding time so i choose direct now. also, what ive noticed is that jet lag isnt that bad going that way, but i feel it more going back home. i can bet it will affect others differently, but thats how it did me. if youre going to be doing more traveling, then do some experimenting with what you think you will like best. In MY Opinion (imo) its the only true way to know what works for you! i forgot to add. ONce youre in AMS if you choose to go that way to Paris, there are direct/non stop trains to Paris. if i remember correctly (iirc) its a 4 hour train ride. Also, a note, the trains over there are soooo sweet. you can always compare cost and time of flying vs trains. Also, the train stations are usually in the city center somewhere so you minimize or eliminate airport to city transfers. happy trails.

Posted by Peggy
West Linn, OR, USA
7 posts

THANK YOU, all!! This is extremely helpful information, much of which I didn't know. Will study it and see if I come up a workable fight or with other questions. What a great resource this is - much appreciated!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Hi Peggy-jet lag is the inevitable consequence of the time change-9 hours between here (Pacific time zone) and Paris. So if you arrive in Paris at 9 am your body thinks it is midnight. Flying from here to Europe, most direct flights do leave in the mid- to late afternoon, and fly overnight. Basically, you get a very short night. We find that is best for a quick catch-up to local time, but we are able to sleep on the plane. I suggest you look at flights with only one stop in each direction, and a total time of 15 hours or less. That would mean something like the direct flight PDX to Amsterdam, then the short flight to paris, ordo the short flight first, coming up to Seattle, and the direct flight to Paris from here. But if the Iceland Air option is considerably cheaper, that works too. We have friends who flew that way using Alaska Air miles and they enjoyed it. (The two are no longer partners so they won't be doing that next time).

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

hi againm, i forgot to add. Im going back in Sept and round trip (r/t) PDX/AMS is running about 1200~1300 for now. Happy trails.

Posted by Peggy
West Linn, OR, USA
7 posts

Thank you all again. As you might guess, this is our first trip to Europe. The suggestions about minimizing the hours flying and the number of stops is helpful as well as what the going rates are (Ray). And thank you for the Kayak sight suggestion (Harold) - will check that out and wouldn't have known to do that. I can't tell you how great this pooling of advice and experience is... the whole thing seemed so daunting but now I think we can actually do it. The Icelandic stop flights do seem cheaper but I like the idea of having the first stop be in Europe (AMS) or at flying direct from Seattle after a puddle jump from PDX. I could see going to NYC, Chicago, etc or Iceland if could stay a night or two and then fly out. Jet lag seems inevitable but will follow the suggestions. Thanks again for all the tips!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

hi again, since this is your first trip, you may not even notice the jet lag. on my first trip to europe for work, i was bright eyed and bushy tailed all the way there and when i stepped off the plane, the same. i learned alot on my first international flights. > Dont get the middle seat. Isle is the only way for me now unless is a puddle jumper. > keep hydrated. > bring your own snacks and drinks > use the bathroom just before they start serving food/drink since after the food, everyone will want to lighten their load. > dont drink the water in the bathroom > get up often and move around > pack light. > bring some asprine, tylanol, advil, peptobismol, kaopectate and other med on the flight just in case.
> bring 1 change of clothes onboard w/you if you check you baggage. happy trails.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

The easiest way to do it from PDX is probably with the overnight KLM flight to AMS (which arrives at Amsterdam at 8:35 am). Then from AMS you catch a connection for the very short flight to Paris (CDG). There is a flight every hour from AMS to CDG with AF-KLM (AirFrance-KLM is the same company). So if you miss one because of a delay coming from the US, they will book you in the very next one available.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

Just thought I'd throw this in: jet lag is not inevitable; some people suffer greatly from it, some people suffer some effects of it, and some of us lucky ones don't even notice anything - never have. If you anticipate having jet lag, you probably will. Think positive! Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones. Best thing to do to avoid jet lag is go to bed early the night before and get up very early the day of your flight, hopefully you'll be tired enough to sleep some on the plane, set your watch to Europe time when you get on the plane, eat light before and during your flight, don't drink any alcohol or carbonated beverages on the flight (stick to water or juice). Use any and all methods to sleep as much as possible on the plane - ear plugs, eye mask, noise cancelling head phones, etc. Some people recommend using some chemical sleep aids but I never use them. Just one other thing: a direct flight to AMS and then a short flight to Paris is not all that different than a direct flight to Iceland and then a short flight to Paris. Make sure you compare the total flight time of both options before making your decision. For my flight to Paris through Iceland the total time was about 16-1/2 hrs. Direct flight to AMS and flight to Paris would have been close to 14 hrs. The two and a half hr difference didn't induce me into a direct flght that was almost $400 more expensive. Compare carefully.

Posted by Meg
Seattle, WA, United States
12 posts

We flew Iceland Air out of Seattle (to Munich) last summer and really enjoyed our experience. Flying through Iceland broke up a long flight and gave us the chance to stretch our legs. We also had short layovers, so out travel days were not terribly long. Another plus was that on our way home, we went through customs in Seattle rather than dealing with customs on a layover in the U.S. As others have said, you will arrive in Europe tired, but resist the urge to nap. My husband and I each had one poor night of sleep, but otherwise we adjusted to European time quickly. Good luck!

Posted by Galen
Dallas, United States
390 posts

Peggy, I'm going to take one more stab at the "best flights" question. You can't fly PDX to Paris nonstop, but there are many options to make it in one stop. Flying Icelandair automatically gives you two stops (SEA & Reykavik) unless you get to Seattle by car/bus/train. IMHO, a one stop trip to Paris is better than a two stop flight. Therefore, I prefer the PDX-AMS route. I recommend to you this website: google.com/flights You will easily be able to check out different dates, routes, etc. and see the price on each. Good luck.

Posted by DH
San Antonio, TX, USA
67 posts

I find jet lag is much worse flying east. Instead of waking up at 8am your body is 6 hours behind Europe and you'r waking up at 2am. From here ever in the US you leave from or from in which European city you awake you body is getting up six hours earlier. Flying home the matters are much kinder as you get to "sleep in" upon your arrival home. For me sleeping on the plane (I need a sleeping pill) when flying to Europe helps reduce jet lag.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

KEF via Icelandair is not an available option from PDX. The only non stop flight from PDX to Europe is AMS with Delta (AF-KLM codeshare). The ideal flight is the one with one layover only, with the layover preferably in Europe. I see no reason to make two stops to fly Icelandair.
I'd rather fly to a North American hub that has a flight directly to CDG and make one stop only.

Posted by Peggy
West Linn, OR, USA
7 posts

All good points. Leaning toward Delta to AMS but will have to compare prices - thanks for the web site, Galen. Again, thanks to all.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

if you fly Icelandic Air, and apparently their prices are very good, I recall a long thread by a lady who did not read website well and did not know on that airline its pay food, so most suggest bring your own snacks.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

hi again, Peggy, look at Kayak and use the "multi city" tab at the top and start crunching flight prices from/to where ever you want to fly in/out of. thats what i do. you already know how much the r/t from PDX to AMS is. after that its figuring the cost of ROME to AMS. or ROME to PDX. Happy trails.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Peggy, one-way flights are expensive, so you still want to buy a round-trip ticket, but it is called "open jaw". You fly into Paris, and home from Rome. The websites like Kayak and ITA let you view these using the "multi-city" option. Since there are no direct, non-stop flights from Rome to Portland, your choices will be pretty much the same as the flight over: you can fly from Rome to Amsterdam for the direct Delta/KLM flight to Portland, or you can fly from Rome to any of several US cities (Atlanta, Chicago, LA, SEattle. . . you name it) and then to Portland from there. If I were doing this, and the price was comparable (as it appears to be) I would keep it simple and do both flights through Amsterdam on the direct Portland-AMS flight. That is an easy airport to change planes and we much prefer to have our plane change in Europe as opposed to the US. ITA llink: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Posted by Peggy
West Linn, OR, USA
7 posts

I assume it isn't necessary to buy round-trip tickets if one's tour begins in Paris and ends in Rome. Not sure it is worth having to find our way back to either CDG or AMS from Rome. I'd prefer to be able to fly back to PDX from Rome. Any suggestions regarding that? (Since you've all been so helpful!)

Posted by j.c.
Cary, NC, United States
842 posts

Peggy, I'm a fan of the daytime flights from the east coast to London. I can't sleep on planes, so that plus jet lag means I'd lose the first 24-48 hours to fatigue and incoherence, anyway. Morning London flights leave from Boston, NYC, Washington Dulles, and, maybe, Philadelphia. Think about flying to one of those cities the day before, overnighting near the airport, and flying out on a morning flight. Yes, it will probably add several hundred dollars to your trip costs. But, it's up to you to decide.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

J.C., the problem with your plan in Peggy's situation is the one I mentioned in my post above. On day one, she'd have to fly from Portland to, say, Boston, and spend a night in a hotel. Then on day two, she'd fly from Boston to London during the day, land in London in the evening, and spend a night in a London hotel. Then on day three, she'd either take a flight or the Eurostar train to Paris. This means two extra nights in a hotel and almost two more days getting to her destination (due to the time difference, she'll have to take a relatively early flight from PDX to BOS to get her to Boston that same day). Peggy: If the above scenario suits your needs, fine. (As I said above, some won't do it any other way). Otherwise, use Kayak or the matrix.itasoftware link from Lola. Choose "multi city" rather than "one way" or "round trip." For your first segment, put in PDX to Paris (all airports). For your second segment, put in Rome (all airports) to PDX. See what you get, and work from there. On the left side of Kayak's screen, you'll see all sorts of ways to filter your flights. You can pick only certain airlines, limit to one stop, or choose how long a layover you want, etc - very useful.

Posted by Peggy
West Linn, OR, USA
7 posts

Yes, I think it will be better for me to fly PDX to AMS but thank you for commenting, J.C. And Lola thank you for the site reference; I'd not heard of that one. For some reason when I tried it earlier today using the multiple flights tab, it showed "no flights" for PDX to AMS and I know that Delta flight does exist! Still playing around on it. And Harold, once again, perfect instructions and advice - much appreciated.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2700 posts

Hi, I agreed with "jet lag is not inevitable." When I went to Europe from the West Coast in my twenties, on none of those trips did I experience jet lag. Now forty years later I still don't feel the effects of it provided I sleep on most of the ten hour flight departing from the West Coast. Back then I didn't try to sleep, now I make every effort to sleep without resorting to sleep aid pills. What is good about flying from the West Coast is that you land in the morning local time. The draw back is you have to put up with a ten hour flight.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

It's not as much 'jet lag' going to Europe; it's called 'travel fatigue', aka 'exhaustion' :-(. Get as much sleep as possible those few days before departure - be completely packed two days early. Good luck sleeping on the airplane. It's much worse traveling from the west coast, unfortunately...In theory, it takes (in days) 1/2 the number of zones crossed traveling west - east (9 time zones = 4 days) to re=acclimate; east - west, it takes (in days) 2/3 the number of zones to re-acclimate (6 days). For me, it's more like 10 zones = 2 days, and 2 weeks :-( I'd sooooo take advantage of the Icelandic deal, if I ever come across it!

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1356 posts

@ Eileen, I took a short 1.5 weeks to England/Amsterdam last fall. Jet lag there, no problem. i get so excited going, i have no problem staying awake. however, on that short trip, my return "jet lag" was the worse i had. It took me 2 full weeks to overcome the affects. when i had my 1 month trip, the returning jet lag took about a week to get over. but i think that it will affect different people differently. happy trails.

Posted by Andrea
Portland, OR, USA
19 posts

We have used united through Chicago and Newark. It is nice to break up the trip. Don't make too tight a connection in Chicago. We missed our flight and lost a day in Paris. I would say 2 hour minimum. We were having trouble using FF miles to go over later this fall and found a route through Houston to London then train to Paris. I would never have thought about Houston.