Author Topic: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?  (Read 12634 times)

rubybeth

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Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:57:40 AM »
I have been using Kayak and some other sites to look at airfares to Europe in July. Suggestions I've read are to buy between January-March for July so that's what I'm doing. Details: flying from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) to Cologne or Dusseldorf (Germany) on July 5, then flying from Paris back to MSP on July 20. I want to know what a reasonable price would be for this trip.

I am traveling with 3 others, so 4 total passengers, all adults. Dates aren't flexible. Time of year is not flexible. We already have an apartment booked for the week in Paris, and friends to stay with in Germany. I don't really want to sign up for a special credit card for this, either, because it seems that--at any given moment--one major airline or another is slightly cheaper, and I have no allegiance to any one carrier.

I am seeing fares around $1,800/person, though one recently popped up for closer to $1,500/person. Is this reasonable? Should I wait longer and see if I can get anything cheaper? Or is this just kind of "the price" for this trip, and I need to go ahead and buy now?

One cheaper option seems to be to fly to O'Hare in Chicago and then catch an international flight (Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, or Turkish Airlines seem to have cheaper flights for the international legs of the trip). Is this a good idea? We can get a puddle jumper type flight from Minneapolis to Chicago for around $100. This would mean closer to $1,300/person total.

fodder69

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 10:30:07 AM »
I am actually in the same boat, so no good answers but interested in responses. FWIW, I am hoping to get down to close to $1000 if I can. I think March is probably going to be closer to the right time to do this, six months out is too far from what I have read.

Best advice I heard is to figure out what price is comfortable for you to pay and buy once you find one close.

bearman

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 10:38:22 AM »
I've flown from the West Coast to Madrid for the past few years during the timeframe you mentioned (for work). I had watched the prices pretty closely each winter and spring. You're flying a slightly shorter distance, but I'd assume the prices are fairly close to what I've seen. IMO, it's hard to find a flight like that for less than $1600. I would say that $2000 is too much. $1800 for a flight without excess layovers is probably worth it. If I saw something in the $1500 range that met my needs, I would book it and feel great about it. The July 4 week is very expensive unfortunately. If you were flying from NYC or something, you may find rates closer to $1000, but I would be surprised to find that outside of a major East Coast city. Good luck and have a great trip!

historienne

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 10:48:06 AM »
One cheaper option seems to be to fly to O'Hare in Chicago and then catch an international flight (Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, or Turkish Airlines seem to have cheaper flights for the international legs of the trip). Is this a good idea? We can get a puddle jumper type flight from Minneapolis to Chicago for around $100. This would mean closer to $1,300/person total.

If you do this, build in significant time cushions.  If the different segments of your itinerary are not booked on the same ticket, then the international carrier has no obligation to accommodate you if your first flight is delayed or cancelled such that you miss your connection. 

arebelspy

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 10:48:58 AM »
Dates aren't flexible.

Really?  You can't fly out a day or two earlier or later?

I'd try to get it around 1000-1200 or less, but be flexible with the date/airport (and take a train to where I needed to be).

It also may be quite a bit cheaper roundtripping it from Germany, and just getting back to your German airport from Paris the day before your flight via train or a short commuter hop with Ryan Air or something.

Quote
I don't really want to sign up for a special credit card for this, either, because it seems that--at any given moment--one major airline or another is slightly cheaper, and I have no allegiance to any one carrier.

No offense, and only a face tap intended here, but that's a complainypants excuse.  If one or the other is slightly cheaper, fine, but either way if it'd save you money on one of them, do it.  Just because you have no allegiance doesn't mean you can't form a temporary one for this trip to save hundreds of dollars.
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beeth_oven

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 11:25:33 AM »
Yeah, that sounds like a lot to me for Europe, but I'm kind of a cheapo when it comes to flights. I would look for around $1000, like someone else said. I think the better time to have gone would be early September. I found a flight from Chicago to Dusseldorf for just under $1000 that way, using this site's 'search lowest fare' setting:
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/search.htm

You would have had to figure out a way to get to Chicago, though. Like someone else said, I would just look for a roundtrip between the two cities, and look for alternative ways to get to Paris (train, a one-way flight, etc.).

Eric

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 11:29:53 AM »
I am seeing fares around $1,800/person, though one recently popped up for closer to $1,500/person. Is this reasonable? Should I wait longer and see if I can get anything cheaper? Or is this just kind of "the price" for this trip, and I need to go ahead and buy now?

If you're just looking for a frame of reference, my wife and I paid $1450 each to fly from San Francisco to Italy in June 2012.  I don't think $1500 is too bad.  It's not a screaming deal or anything, but there aren't many of those to be had when traveling in the high season.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 12:23:32 PM »
One cheaper option seems to be to fly to O'Hare in Chicago and then catch an international flight (Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, or Turkish Airlines seem to have cheaper flights for the international legs of the trip). Is this a good idea? We can get a puddle jumper type flight from Minneapolis to Chicago for around $100. This would mean closer to $1,300/person total.

If you do this, build in significant time cushions.  If the different segments of your itinerary are not booked on the same ticket, then the international carrier has no obligation to accommodate you if your first flight is delayed or cancelled such that you miss your connection.

Yeah, that's my concern. I'd rather buy it all as one ticket, so will keep hunting. A couple friends on Facebook suggested flying into Frankfurt instead of Dusseldorf or Cologne, which also looks to be slightly cheaper.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 12:29:00 PM »
Really?  You can't fly out a day or two earlier or later?

...

No offense, and only a face tap intended here, but that's a complainypants excuse.  If one or the other is slightly cheaper, fine, but either way if it'd save you money on one of them, do it.  Just because you have no allegiance doesn't mean you can't form a temporary one for this trip to save hundreds of dollars.

Well, I'm coordinating the schedules of four people, and three of us have to get the approval from bosses to get time off, so flying out a day or two earlier would mean we need to come back a day or two earlier, and we've already booked an apartment through the 20th. Flying out later doesn't work as well for the folks we're staying with in Germany.

I would sign up for a credit card, but honestly, it seems these prices fluctuate every day. I'm willing to do it to save hundreds of dollars, but it seems like a big hassle. I'll research more on this.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 12:33:17 PM »
I am seeing fares around $1,800/person, though one recently popped up for closer to $1,500/person. Is this reasonable? Should I wait longer and see if I can get anything cheaper? Or is this just kind of "the price" for this trip, and I need to go ahead and buy now?

If you're just looking for a frame of reference, my wife and I paid $1450 each to fly from San Francisco to Italy in June 2012.  I don't think $1500 is too bad.  It's not a screaming deal or anything, but there aren't many of those to be had when traveling in the high season.

YES, this is helpful, thank you! That's mainly what I wanted to know.

We would have loved to schedule this during off-season, but our timeframe isn''t flexible because my sister works for a school so has pretty much zero time off except in summer (she has sick days but only like 5 days of PTO), and DH is in grad school, taking classes during first summer session so only has July/August free from school, and we already have a local vacation in August, so July was our only option. Like I said, this is kind of a "once in a lifetime trip" with my mom and sister, partly due to our schedules being kind of tricky, at least until we're all retired. :)

arebelspy

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 01:04:53 PM »
Flying out later doesn't work as well for the folks we're staying with in Germany.

You can always get a hotel for a day or two at the end, if necessary, and it saves you money on the flight(s).

I would sign up for a credit card, but honestly, it seems these prices fluctuate every day. I'm willing to do it to save hundreds of dollars, but it seems like a big hassle. I'll research more on this.

Sure, but however it fluctuates, it should save you money on top of it.

I guess the lesson for everyone else: to get the best overall deal, first figure out the plane tickets, then plan your trip around that, rather than vice-versa.  (I know that's not too helpful for you right now... sorry!)

For reference, the wife and I paid to fly to Germany from Las Vegas for about 700 apiece in June 2009 - August 2009.
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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 01:05:39 PM »
Fares from Columbus, OH to Paris round-trip were in the $1500-1600 range last July.  I'd say if you find a $1500 ticket jump at it.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 01:22:42 PM »
Flying out later doesn't work as well for the folks we're staying with in Germany.

You can always get a hotel for a day or two at the end, if necessary, and it saves you money on the flight(s).

I would sign up for a credit card, but honestly, it seems these prices fluctuate every day. I'm willing to do it to save hundreds of dollars, but it seems like a big hassle. I'll research more on this.

Sure, but however it fluctuates, it should save you money on top of it.

I guess the lesson for everyone else: to get the best overall deal, first figure out the plane tickets, then plan your trip around that, rather than vice-versa.  (I know that's not too helpful for you right now... sorry!)

For reference, the wife and I paid to fly to Germany from Las Vegas for about 700 apiece in June 2009 - August 2009.

I really don't think that answer is all that helpful in general, because other advice we'd read and heard from frequent travelers said to book your place in Paris ASAP and watch for airfare later. Also, booking a hotel for four people for a couple extra nights isn't going to save us significant money, because we'd likely be looking at two rooms for four people, plus the hassle factor of moving between one place to another. This is why we rented an apartment for our week in Paris.

Fares from Columbus, OH to Paris round-trip were in the $1500-1600 range last July.  I'd say if you find a $1500 ticket jump at it.

That is very helpful to know, beltim. Thanks!

bogart

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 01:36:55 PM »
The cheapest fares I've been seeing have been to price one-way tickets using google's ITA software and flying on Icelandair.  But I've been pricing things with somewhat more flexibility than you have, so YMMV.


arebelspy

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 01:51:08 PM »
I really don't think that answer is all that helpful in general, because other advice we'd read and heard from frequent travelers said to book your place in Paris ASAP and watch for airfare later. Also, booking a hotel for four people for a couple extra nights isn't going to save us significant money, because we'd likely be looking at two rooms for four people, plus the hassle factor of moving between one place to another. This is why we rented an apartment for our week in Paris.

If you want to get a certain thing at a certain time, yes.  Otherwise you risk having it booked.

If you want to do it the cheapest, no.

Most travelers are very hemmed in by their choices - they have to do it a certain way, in their mind.  If you can be more flexible, you can do it much cheaper.

The cheapest fares I've been seeing have been to price one-way tickets using google's ITA software and flying on Icelandair.  But I've been pricing things with somewhat more flexibility than you have, so YMMV.

Ditto.  http://www.farecompare.com/maps/ is a fun way to do this if you're flexible on where and/or when.
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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2014, 02:10:49 PM »
We're going to eastern Europe this summer. I started looking at prices in November and haven't seen anything less than 1500. It looks like the days of $1000 tix to Europe may be behind us.

dmdunca

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2014, 03:29:49 PM »
$1500 to Europe in July isn't horrible.  It's not a screaming deal, but not horrible.  Air fare have risen sharply in the last few years.  Last year we flew from Seattle to Paris and returned from Rome.  It was about $1200 pp. This was late May early June.

I'd look at Iceland Air.  Also try the website Cheapo Air.  You can, as you noted, save by flying through O'Hare, but I'd build in some slack in case of a late flight.  I would not cut it close...

Usually when I'm pricing air fares, I use Kayak and Cheapo Air.  Then when I've found the flight that meets my requirements, I check the airlines' .  Often they've had the same prices.

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2014, 03:49:17 PM »
For reference, I've done 3 Europe to SFO flights in the last 18 months - most recently last month. The most expensive was $1100. Cheapest was about $850. None of those were July, which is high tourist time. "They" say (whoever they are) that the optimal time to book is about 8 weeks out from your flight. Set up price alerts or, even easier, kayak usually displays a fare tracker that tells you to buy or wait on a certain fares based on price trends.

Albert

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2014, 04:02:39 PM »
It's too late know and perhaps didn't apply to you anyway since you are four adults with very fixed schedules, but in principle if you want to save money first thing to buy is airplane tickets. If you are going to some place where hotels or apartments are hard to get reserve those two, generally they could be cancelled if needed without any cost. If your schedules are flexible and you could buy tickets on the spot some amazing deals could be found. I know a guy who flew from Germany all the way to New Zealand for 500 euros return (off-season). Usually but not always it's cheaper to return from the same city you flew to.

Not sure about now, but when I lived on the west coast of US and traveled to see family in Eastern Europe usually the cheapest way was either to fly first to NYC and the direct from there or fly to London and connect there. Those two cities tend to have some of the best deals in the US and Europe respectively. 1,500 is not horrible, but I think 1,200-1,300 ought to be possible even in July.

zinnie

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2014, 04:03:34 PM »
For reference, I've done 3 Europe to SFO flights in the last 18 months - most recently last month. The most expensive was $1100. Cheapest was about $850. None of those were July, which is high tourist time. "They" say (whoever they are) that the optimal time to book is about 8 weeks out from your flight. Set up price alerts or, even easier, kayak usually displays a fare tracker that tells you to buy or wait on a certain fares based on price trends.

A lot of this is what I was thinking--now seems awfully early to buy tickets for July. I flew to Milan in March/ April and in October last year and one ticket was $850 and the other was $1150 (booked less than a week in advance because of a funeral). I have never flown in the summer tourist season there, though!

I like Bing travel's price predictor for plane tickets. I have had great luck hitting tickets at the lowest prices using that. Since you have a lot of time, I'd be checking that over time to find out when the best prices are likely to occur. That will help you know what a good price for this trip is.

P.S. Too bad your dates are not flexible--changing your dates to when prices are lowest is the best way to save money!

Albert

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2014, 04:11:05 PM »
Below 1000$ in the middle of the peak season from a 2nd category airport in US and with inflexible dates is very unlikely. Usually summer prices are 200-300$ extra.

dmdunca

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2014, 04:38:48 PM »
I don't agree that Jan is too early to buy tickets for July.  I might keep tabs on prices, but I would not wait too long.  Airfares are really wierd.
  A couple of years ago, I was shopping for a flight to China. The fare for the route I wanted was $1200.  I kept watching it (both on the websites and the airlines' site) .  One day, it dipped to $900.  I bought the tickets immediately.  A couple of days later it was back up to $1200 and never went down after that.  As the time got closer, the price went up.  A week before we left, the price was $1600 for the same flight.

If I were flying in July, I'd be watching fares Jan & Feb.  If I did not see a good deal, then I'd buy by March.  Thing is, July is a peak month.  I would not expect to see any great deals.  I'd pay the $1500 and be done worrying about it.

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2014, 04:48:11 PM »
Arebelspy already mentioned it, but you may want investigating a return ticket to/from Germany coupled with a train ride back to Germany just before you fly off. Paris is the #1 tourist destination in the world, July one of the busiest month for tourism, and France has very high airport taxes--all of this combines to make CDG one of the most expensive airport to fly in/out of/through.

This being said, I concur that $1,500 is not great but not atrocious either. I travel to Paris yearly or so (family there), and with more flex than you, I have had a really hard time getting under $1,200 for the past few years.

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2014, 05:13:25 PM »
I think $1500 is reasonable for the time you're going and the cities you're flying out of.  It was $1300+ for me to go to Madrid from Philadelphia last summer.  Unless you go during off peak times there just aren't really cheap flights anymore.  A friend of mine is going to Madrid from Philly in about 10 days and their flight was only $900.

How far of a drive is it to Chicago?  Could you rent a car in your city, drive to Chicago and turn it in at the airport there and then fly out of Chicago?  That may be safer than having 2 separate flights.

Albert

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2014, 12:19:39 PM »
There is nothing wrong with separate flights but of course you'd need to have much larger layover than with connected ones. Someone mentioned going from Paris to Frankfurt/Disseldorf by train. That's certainly an option, but remember that in many cases those tickets have to be bought well in advance to get a good price. Train ticketing systems are not as fiendishly complex as one for airplanes. Generally they have a certain number of cheapest category tickets and when those are sold anyone else wishing to travel has to pay more.  Cheapest possible price from Paris to Frankfurt (one way) will be about 40 euros, but it could easily be triple that particularly in summer.

missundecided

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2014, 01:07:11 PM »
You don't have to feel beholden to any one airline's CC if that's what making you squeamish. The Arrival Barclaycard will give you $400 back towards your travel expenses, including airfare, plus 2%. And there aren't any foreign transaction fees either, for when you're in Europe.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2014, 01:29:41 PM »
P.S. Too bad your dates are not flexible--changing your dates to when prices are lowest is the best way to save money!

Yeah, trust me, if we could have traveled in the off-season, we would have, but it's simply not possible with this group due to one person working in a school, another person in grad school, and two semi-tight work schedules.

I don't agree that Jan is too early to buy tickets for July.  I might keep tabs on prices, but I would not wait too long.  Airfares are really weird.

That's what I read elsewhere, too. Rick Steves, for example, recommends shopping Jan-March for fares in July.

How far of a drive is it to Chicago?  Could you rent a car in your city, drive to Chicago and turn it in at the airport there and then fly out of Chicago?  That may be safer than having 2 separate flights.

It would be an entire day's drive to Chicago from where we live in Minnesota (8+ hours). I'd rather pay $200 more for airfare than deal with driving to Chicago, sorry! Maybe that's not "mustachian" but we are trying to strike a balance between extremely frugal (staying with friends for half the trip, apartment in Paris we can cook for ourselves) and comfortable for my mother, who turns 65 this year.

There is nothing wrong with separate flights but of course you'd need to have much larger layover than with connected ones. Someone mentioned going from Paris to Frankfurt/Disseldorf by train. That's certainly an option, but remember that in many cases those tickets have to be bought well in advance to get a good price.

Yeah, I'd rather save the 5+ hour train ride back to Germany and fly out of Paris. It would eat up a day of our trip, basically, and I'd rather spend that day in a park in Paris eating gelato or cheese. :)

You don't have to feel beholden to any one airline's CC if that's what making you squeamish. The Arrival Barclaycard will give you $400 back towards your travel expenses, including airfare, plus 2%. And there aren't any foreign transaction fees either, for when you're in Europe.

I am looking at this card as well as the Capital One Venture card. Need to do more reading up, but both sound like a good deal.

Thanks so much for everyone's help and suggestions. I am open to more input and will report back on what we end up paying for this peak season trip. We plan to keep costs fairly low in every other area. No car rental, inexpensive accommodations that allow us to prepare our own meals, and we are "just walk around and see normal stuff" kind of travelers vs. "shop the entire trip" travelers, so that will help, too.

Albert

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2014, 01:38:16 PM »
Given the dates I'd probably do the same as you - 100$ (at the most) is not worth one day less vacation in a far away place. How do you get from Germany to Paris? With a train I assume or is someone driving after all?

arebelspy

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2014, 01:53:02 PM »
P.S. Too bad your dates are not flexible--changing your dates to when prices are lowest is the best way to save money!

Yeah, trust me, if we could have traveled in the off-season, we would have, but it's simply not possible with this group due to one person working in a school, another person in grad school, and two semi-tight work schedules.

I'm not talking about the offseason, I'm talking about being flexible by a day or two on either side.

Oh well, it seems like you're pretty set in your ideas, so sub-1500 (maybe 1300?) seems like an okay price then.  :)
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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2014, 01:58:49 PM »
MSP is a major Delta hub-just checked and they go direct to Amsterdam, see if it would be worth a train ride from there and ovoid a second flight in Europe.  Also dont be afraid to book multi city trips with no air connection between cities, conversely I find that booking a series of one way trips can work out best some times.  I normally use hipmonk.com when I need to compare.  Also I have see than trains are not as cheap as you might think, check the price first.  As far as price its hard to say with some luck and work you might get close to 1k but they are flying the big jets awful full these days.  Also +-1 day on going or returning can make a BIG difference in price and availability.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 02:03:53 PM by AlanStache »

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2014, 02:13:13 PM »
Given the dates I'd probably do the same as you - 100$ (at the most) is not worth one day less vacation in a far away place. How do you get from Germany to Paris? With a train I assume or is someone driving after all?

Yeah, we're planning on taking a train from the Cologne area to Paris. That's my next project. Our plan is to be in Paris on Bastille Day. We might be crazy. :)

I'm not talking about the offseason, I'm talking about being flexible by a day or two on either side.

Oh well, it seems like you're pretty set in your ideas, so sub-1500 (maybe 1300?) seems like an okay price then.  :)

I have looked at dates a couple days earlier or later, and it's roughly the same price, like within $50, some days it costs more to fly earlier or later than our original dates planned. Have you done a search with my locations and see some amazing deal I'm not seeing if we fly on July 3 or July 5 and back on July 19 or 22 or something? We could probably adjust our apartment booking and change dates with the friends who are hosting us, but getting more time off work is less do-able. I'm not complaining, but want to point out that I didn't start this topic to ask "what's the best way to get cheap airfare," I started by asking if what I'm seeing in pricing is normal or way off the mark for airfares during the dates we have planned, since I've never purchase airfare for Europe before, I had no baseline. I feel like you keep coming back to this thread to hammer home how I've done this all wrong to get the best airfare, but that's not the question I'm asking.

AlanStache

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2014, 02:19:05 PM »
Quote
I'm not complaining, but want to point out that I didn't start this topic to ask "what's the best way to get cheap airfare," I started by asking if what I'm seeing in pricing is normal or way off the mark for airfares during the dates we have planned, since I've never purchase airfare for Europe before, I had no baseline. I feel like you keep coming back to this thread to hammer home how I've done this all wrong to get the best airfare, but that's not the question I'm asking.

Yes what you are seeing would be in the range I would expect.  Its not like there are 29$ south west get-away deals :-p

Albert

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2014, 02:28:29 PM »

Yeah, we're planning on taking a train from the Cologne area to Paris. That's my next project. Our plan is to be in Paris on Bastille Day. We might be crazy. :)

Buy as early as possible. On a day like that there could be availability issues not just higher or lower prices. Best price this Saturday 91 euros, best price in a Saturday in March just 29 euros… In my experience buying from SNCF tends to be cheaper than the same thing from DB.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 02:31:30 PM by Albert »

FrugalZony

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2014, 03:59:01 PM »
I have not read all the answers, so forgive me if this has been mentioned, but I'd definitely try to do roundtrip and not forked flight between two countries, which is more expensive in 98% of the cases.
 
1500 is not outreageous, but does not scream killer deal either. I have gotten flights around 1000$ from/to West Coast US lcoations
However 5th ish of July is a busy travel period, so don't expect to get killer deals

I would try to see if round trips to CDG are cheaper than CGN or DUS
There is a train called "Thalys" that takes you directly from CDG to the heart of Cologne, fast, convenient, inexpensive, even has internet
and can be booked online, travel announcements on the Thalys are in a bunch of languages so you won't have any issues.
AND you'll see something while looking out the window

Also, there is less selection in flights to CGN or DUS from any US destination in general, so if you want to try round trip to Germany consider FRA as the biggest hub as well, very quick and easy ICE trains taking you to the heart of Cologne directly from FRA airport as well

And I would not wait too long, especially as your dates are not flexible
Good luck ;)




Jags4186

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2014, 04:54:51 PM »
Check out Norwegian Air.  It might not be the most direct route, but they have cheap flights into Stockholm/Oslo/Copenhagen and you can jump out of there on Ryan Air or SAS for $70 or $80 a flight.

Cecil

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2014, 06:58:25 PM »
My wife and I paid $1100/person to fly return from Vancouver, Canada to Frankfurt in July 2012 on Air Transat. We watched sales for about 3 months and booked two months in advance. We were flexible with destination city, but found that Frankfurt was almost always the cheapest place to fly into.

Koln is about a 2 hour train trip from Frankfurt, so flying into Frankfurt and training might be your best option.

rubybeth

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2014, 09:32:56 AM »
For a follow-up report: I bought our tickets today. Have been checking prices daily with Kayak.com and CheapoAir.com, and finally saw an American Airlines flight today on Kayak for $1540/person (taxes and fees included) and it was also the shortest trip length I've seen, too (only one layover each way). The cheapest price I saw was via CheapoAir on an Aer Lingus flight with two stops, and it was only $1477/person, so I did spend $63 more per ticket than the cheapest possible flight, but also, the flight times and layovers are much more convenient and shorter, so more of our time with spent with our friends and in lovely Parisian parks. That's a lot of caveats, and if it were just DH and I, we'd probably grin and bear it, but we're also traveling with my sister and my mother, who is in her 60s, so comfort and convenience are helpful for them.

I did also sign up for a BarclayCard Arrival MasterCard in January, was instantly approved and got the card in a couple days, easily got the bonus 40,000 miles, and have put everything we can on the card since we got it, so have wracked up more miles. I think this will save us about $450 off our tickets. :)

Thanks for everyone's input and help!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 09:34:51 AM by rubybeth »

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2014, 09:55:16 AM »
Awesome, well done!  :)
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Zikoris

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Re: Realistic price to pay for airfare to Europe in July?
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2014, 07:24:30 PM »
My wife and I paid $1100/person to fly return from Vancouver, Canada to Frankfurt in July 2012 on Air Transat. We watched sales for about 3 months and booked two months in advance. We were flexible with destination city, but found that Frankfurt was almost always the cheapest place to fly into.

Koln is about a 2 hour train trip from Frankfurt, so flying into Frankfurt and training might be your best option.

We're also in Vancouver and do something similar: fly into London via Transat and connect to whatever place we're going to with one of the cheap discount carriers - Easyjet or Norwegian or whatever. Transat usually costs about $1100-$1200 for that stretch, and you can get pretty much anywhere in Europe from there. And they have a really good breakfast place in Gatwick - called Beehive or something.