The price of flying to Europe
How much should a plan ticket to Europe cost?
That depends on (a) where you're flying from and flying to, (b) when you fly, and (c) luck.
In winter, you can fly from New York to London for about $400 roundtrip (though, if your lucky, airfare sales wars can cometimes drop that to around $200). In summer, $1,200 would be considered a reasonable price to get from, say, Seattle to Madrid.
Here are some specifics:
- Where from: Flights to Europe are cheapest from the East Coast, especially New York/Newark (with Boston, Philly, and Washington/Baltimore right behind). Next lowest prices tend to come from other mega-hub cities and gateways (Atlanta, Chicago, L.A.). The way around this dilemma if you live elsewhere: the Big Apple Switcheroo (find a cheap flight in New York, then a cheap fare onward).
- Where to: London is almost always the cheapest European gateway to fly into, because it's close (less fuel), among Europe's most trafficked (high volume), and, unlike the rest of Europe, actually has two hometown rivals (British Airways and Virgin Atlantic) vying for your custom—never discount good old-fashioned Econ 101 competition as a great means to lower prices.
- When: Winter is cheaper than summer; spring and fall are the mid-priced "shoulder seasons." (For more, read about travel seasons.)
- Luck: You can make your own luck. Here's how.