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Where Can You Find Cheap Summer Flights to Europe?

Ah, summer. When else can you enjoy $1500 coach fares to Europe?

For those who don’t want to spend $1500 for a coach flight to Europe, we have a couple of options this summer:

- As with last summer, flights to Reykjavik, Iceland, remain reasonable. Delta has fares available over the summer for about $650 round trip (taxes included in all fares I’m mentioning). I think Iceland is amazing all year round, but if you don’t love 21 hours of darkness, the summer is a perfect time to go. Even more perfect because it costs about half what it costs to go to, say, Oslo.

- You can thank Air Berlin for the $660 fares available to Dusseldorf and Berlin over the summer from New York. You’ll have to pick-and-choose your dates, but there are plenty of seats available on connecting flights on United and Delta as well. And remember – Dusseldorf is just a quick train ride from Amsterdam, but the flight costs half as much. Connecting cities from the US only add a bit more to that fare.

- US Airways has fares of about $800 for flights to Dublin (that’s about the high end of what I consider “cheap” for summer European travel). Flights depart from Philly or Charlotte, but it’s about $300 cheaper than the competition.

As I wrote last summer, don’t give up on using miles to get to Europe even during the busy summer season. I see lots of availability (assuming I’m willing to take a connection) to go to Paris in July using United miles, for example. If you are using miles, don’t forget that most airlines allow stopovers and open jaws (flying into one airport and returning from another) – you can really maximize your miles by using the stopover on these European trips, effectively giving yourself a free flight within Europe. You can fly New York to London, stay for 5 days, then get a flight to Prague, then back to NY and it’s one trip. You can even add a short one-day stay in there — as long as you stay in a city for less than 24 hours, it doesn’t count as a stopover. You can fly to Prague at 11am and leave the next day on a flight at 10am, and it doesn’t count as the stopover. In other words, you could fly New York to London, spend 5 days there, fly to Prague, spend 1 night, leave the next morning for Rome, spend 5 days, and fly back to New York all for the same miles as 1 roundtrip ticket to Europe.

Business class fares to Europe are cheaper than during the rest of the year (about $2400 during the summer vs. $5000+), but not as cheap as last year, when Icelandair had business class tickets for $1700.

(Thanks for Flyertalk and FareCompare for some help.

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  1. $1500? Try $2600 for coach from Newark to Berlin in late August. If I had more flexibility on dates/times AND flew with connections, I could have knocked it down to $1600 or $1700.

  2. If you can find seats, and you’re willing to fly long-haul coach, the other cool thing you can do on UA is fly around the world for an extra 5,000 miles over a USA-Europe coach award seat. Yup, it’s only 65,000 to most Asian destinations, and 60,000 to Europe. Take the free stopover in the European city of your choice (you can even open-jaw it in Europe), and then head to Asia. The computer will generally let you continue heading east, and come home across the Pacific, but your mileage (literally) may vary on this.

    This is particularly good for USA East Coasters, because the Europe-only awards seem like pretty bad value.

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