Please sign in to post.

where are the cheap US to Euro winter flights?

I know that all of the airlines usually have sales on international fights starting in November, but when do they start posting them? We want to fly into Europe the 2nd /3rd week in Dec., but are not having much luck finding cheap tickets Portland to Frankfurt. We flew this route in June for $480 total, have posted auto notice requests on Orbitz, Kayak (farecompare.com), etc. for a while now, and have not seen a thing. We also looked at flying Seattle to anywhere in Europe, and we are flexible on dates.

Where have all of cheap tickets gone? away...... with the dollar?

Posted by
21156 posts

There are a lot of factors working against cheap tickets on this side of the ocean. The declining dollar is making a lot of things more expensive on the European side at the same time travel to the US is cheap. The airline doesn't care if the RT starts in Europe or the US. Raising fuel costs add to the problem. You were unbelievable lucky to find a ticket for 480 last June. That is an unhead of price especially from the west coast. The best we have been able to do in the midwest in summer months is around a $1000, My gut feeling is that anything in the range of 800 should be grabbed.

Posted by
423 posts

I paid $977 in May for a return trip to Italy in December. I probably should have waited just a bit and might have paid a bit less. I have noticed that on Wednesdays, there are some cheaper fares - I believe that's when unused seats get released from tour companies etc. You have to grab them quick though. Living on the west coast, that means getting up at o-dark-thirty to check the internet.

Posted by
842 posts

I think that I am going to hold out for a while. Since Lufthansa flys direct from PDX to FRA they always put tickets on sale, and we usually find something under $600 from here. I have passed on some direct flights a little above that price already........just hoping that the flights are going to go on winter sale soon.

Have to save our $$$$ for wine and Port.

Posted by
842 posts

Gela, you are oh-so-correct. Weds is usually the magic day, but on our June trip "Saturday" was that day. It just seemed like each Sat morning the Orbitz "auto notices" would roll in and the price would drop as we got closer to our date.

If I looked for that same price on a Monday, it was gone. So I waited as long as I could (my wife would tell me to just "wait another week") and one Sat. we bought those $480 tickets. We had to have all of our info ready to insure that the flight we finally picked would match with connecting flights on some of the inter-Euro "cheapo" air lines.

Posted by
390 posts

I'm flying the first week of Dec. to London and found flights for $480, although I know it can cost a bit more from the west coast. Do you have to go the second/third week of Dec. or are you able to go a week earlier? Otherwise you're getting awfully close to the holiday season which means a lot more $$. I pulled up flights from SEA and Portland to FRA for around $660 for the first week of Dec. - but it doesn't hurt to wait a bit longer especially if you think Lufthansa will go on sale!

Posted by
842 posts

Thanks Jenn, I found those $660's also, but yes, I do have to leave sometime between the 8th thru the 10th, so I am somewhat limited.

(Actually, it's not me that is limited...."the Boss" is in the middle of a new MRP system implementation at work, and they will not be done until Dec 8th. By that time she will be more than ready to drink all the Port wine that she can find when we get to Portugal.)

Posted by
479 posts

Steve, unfortunately you won't find "cheap" flights to Europe for less than about $700-800 in December. That's actually a high time to travel. You'd be more likely to find something $500-700 between January 15 and March 30. And many of those rates aren't posted until after the New Year.

That's just my experience. But I haven't bought a lot of tickets from the Pacific Northwest. At MSP we have Iceland Air that keeps prices down to the major destinations in Europe. I'm not sure which airport you're flying out of and which airlines are there.

Posted by
219 posts

Steve, Another possible option to Portugal(Did I read it right from your posting after starting the thread?) Fly inexpensively to Newark, NJ, a very large Portugese enclave over there. Then take Tap airlines. They tend to have cheaper flights to Portugal to encourage the expats to visit home.

Posted by
842 posts

Jeannine,Andreas;

Thanks for the tips. I didn't know that Air Berlin flew out of Vancouver. I'll keep TAP in mind for our next trip.

But we scored a great deal on an "open jaw" thru Orbitz.

(Portland to Frankfurt [direct on Luft], and Libon to Portland [routed thru FRA] for only $700!)

Last nite I got an auto notice from farecompare about cheap United flights, and then also checked these flights out on Luft,and Orbitz. Usually I like to book directly with the airline, but neither Luft or United would match that $700.

Then I got up this morning and found out that the winter sales have started! (Gela....lucky Weds again!)

Luft was advertising $660 for the direct PDX to FRA flights, but the best that Luft and United could do on my "open jaw" was $775.

I feel vindicated.

We will fly into FRA on the 10th. Pop on over to Nuremberg ($60) to stay with our friends for a couple of days, then the 4 of us will take a cheap flight to Portugal (Air Berlin!, etc) for a fun two weeks.

Posted by
9 posts

I initially used travelzoo.com, where I found cheapoair.com. I'm flying from LAX to Athens on Nov. 1, then Athens to Rome, then London back home. For all three trips the total is $1400, which I don't think is bad. ONLY PROBLEM is when I tried to book online, after I entered my credit card info it took me back to the home page-NO CONFIRMATION. After an hour on the phone with an out-sourced customer care I was able to book the flight, actually for $40 less than if I booked online. I've confirmed all flights with the individual airlines and all is well!

Posted by
842 posts

Jennifer; $1400 is a great price for your trip!, but if you fly in and out of Frankfurt you can do that trip cheaper. Using Orbitz I found LAX to Frankfurt for $570 to $620 in Nov. Frank. to Athens for $78 on Aegean air, Athens to Rome on Air One for $156. Then you hop on Air Berlin back to FRA for $100.

So, using FRA, and the European air lines, you could take your trip for $900 to $954. (this includes all fees.) I used a couple of European search engines:

http://www.whichbudget.com/en/

http://www.flylc.com/directall-en.asp

Posted by
842 posts

Flight Attendant, I guess there are lots of angles that can be played when seaching for cheap flights, and I would consider marrying you, but only if I was a polygamist.....and I don't think "The Boss" would go for that!

I want to get the best deal so we have lots of $$$$ for our meals, wine, and port when we are in Portugal. (........and beer and wine in Germany.)

I'll need to talk to you for advice on Portugal, since you are so familiar with it. We (the Boss and I, and another couple) are thinking of 4 days in Oproto, 5 in Lisbon, and 3 in Tavira, and plan on using a rental car do do day trips from each location. (Dec 14th- 26th)

Can you recc. a good deal on a two bed apt in the Porto area? (pref an apt, so we all can be together, and maybe have cooking facilities, or a B&B or ? )We know that the weather can be lousy there, but how bad (temps) should we be prepared for?

I think that I have found an apt for Lisbon and Tavira, but if you have recs. would appreciate it!

Posted by
808 posts

Sorry I can't be of much help in the apartment rental end of things...Just be careful. Try to get a reference. Make sure you get a good demo of all the safety equipment in the property. Make sure you know who to call/contact if something happens. Things like electrical/propane/refilling the bottle if it has one/safety checks etc. Check general security. Some windows have affixed bars so in a Fire, know how else you might get out? Even how to shut off the water in an emergency. I remember going to our old apartment which then sat empty months at a time and turning on the services and the tap bursting off the wall! We both got absolutely soaked trying to figure out how to control it! If you have one of those refillable propane bottles under the sink, be sure to inspect it. Sometimes safety is comprimised in rental situations...Even when things look shiny and new. Check for smoke detectors/fire extinguishers. They aren't always accessable. Those things always concern me.

Posted by
808 posts

Some people wishing to rent to Travellers short term will post "virtual tours" on their website so you have a better idea of what to expect. You can't always be that lucky but it sure does help you to form an opinion.
If you're renting a car, you're all set. Just watch where you park, esp at night. The transportation system around LIS is pretty good but you'll appreciate the car elsewhere. You might like to park the car one day in LIS and catch the historic Tram around town. If you drive down to Sintra, don't even try to drive up too close to the Castle. The parking is tight. Take a bus or horse drawn carriage up. Don't be like my cheap ex and make your wife walk up! It is steep and slippery at times as water seems to seep out of the rocks. There's a public fountain at the bottom so I think there are natural water springs there, thus explaining the wet rocks along the roadway...

Posted by
808 posts

As for temps in mid to late Dec? The weather will be sometimes a little on the grey side with some rain, followed by sunny periods. Google the forecast for the areas to be sure of exact temps and conditions. It's off season so you'll have definate advantages there. Be sure to call ahead to confirm operating times for major attractions. Sometimes places will close earlier if not busy. Or take longer lunch breaks. So plan ahead.

Sorry everyone for getting a little bit off topic here.
Now we return to our regularily scheduled programming!
Have fun!

Safe Skies,
F/A