Some advice for those seeking airfares from the US to Europe

George Hobica, July 11, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Recently, we got an email from a woman in Florida who was dismayed to see that airfares from Orlando to Paris remained stubbornly high. Bo Borre, our international man of airfare mystery, took time out of his day to write a very thoughtful response, and I think anyone looking for low airfares to Europe in this season of airfare miscontent would benefit from reading it. So I've posted the letter unedited below:

    Hi Krys

    I understand and share your disappointment. Not only is Paris one of the most expensive destinations in Europe, but because Orlando and the rest of Florida is such a popular vacation destination for Europeans, cheap flights in the reverse direction are very hard to come by. Unfortunately, with our limited resources and our policy of daily fare verification, we need to focus on routes where good deals are most likely to be found, and Orlando to Paris is simply not one of them.

    As you may have noticed in our Orlando newsletter, the two cheapest European destinations are currently Cologne ($800 in August before the fare went up slightly yesterday) and Frankfurt ($644 in September). This represents savings of about $450 and $300, respectively, over fares to Paris and that makes them much better deals on a relative basis, especially since you can probably get the last 300 miles to Paris from either city for under $100 without too much hassle.

    With New York being the biggest gateway for European travel as well as our biggest subscriber market, a substantial part of our research is concentrated here, and even so we rarely find bargains to Paris. By far the best deals we've seen in a long time was the unadvertised Air India sale with nonstop Newark-Paris flights going for as little as $700 for peak summer travel and dropping to $600 in September (after running over a month these deals have mostly sold out, but a few dates may still be available).

    I suggest you sign up for our International Arrival City alert for Paris. In contrast to the route-specific Orlando-Paris alert (which, as you already know, is rarely if ever activated), this alternative service will occasionally inform you about the best fares we find to Paris from any U.S. airport. You can then consider arranging your own connection to take advantage of any of these deals and often still come out ahead. For example, by combining the $600 Air India fare from Newark with a cheap connecting flight from Orlando you could probably have saved at least $200 over any advertised fares for connecting service from Orlando to Paris.

    I hope this helps you make better use of our international fare information and notification services so that they in turn may help you find the best possible deal to wherever you're going.


    Bo Borre
    International Airfare Analyst for Airfare Watchdog

    Comments