In four months, we’ll be in the midst of peak season for travel between the US and Europe. And that means now is the time to start looking and booking those fares.
From what I’m seeing, it looks like that’s correct… This week European carriers are starting to trot out some “flash sale” type deals for mid-summer travel.
What’s likely of most concern to European carriers this year is that the strong dollar is going to keep Europeans on the continent this summer, so that’s why I think airlines like Air France, Aer Lingus and others are the first out of the gate with discounts aimed at driving up demand from this side of the pond.
So what kind of mid-summer travel deals are we seeing today from Air France? Here’s what we saw:
Here’s some explanations around the fine print from Air France’s deal, released today:
- Must buy tickets between today and March 24, 2015 (Most sale fares will be “flash” sales like this with small booking windows so you must act fast)
- Travel dates vary but generally between May 16 and September 9, 2015. It’s unusual to see sale fares beyond about June 15 so this represents a very good deal if you can get it.
- Minimum / Maximum stay: 10 days (weeds out business travelers who likely will not stay that long)
- Refunds: tickets are non-refundable (as always with low fares)
- Change fees: $300 plus fare difference- which could be substantial the closer we get to summer. (Hint: Don’t book this if there’s any possibility of change.)
When are the cheapest times to fly to Europe this summer? According to this PriceFinder chart from British Airways, which looks at flights between San Francisco and London, you are most likely to get deals in June and August– not July. Also, as you can tell from the chart, BA has not matched the Air France deal… yet. But the charts are still helpful.
Let’s take a look at fares from the East Coast, too. Here’s JFK-London Heathrow:
With all the noise Ireland’s Ryanair is making regarding ultra low-fare flights between the US and Europe, Aer Lingus has become very aggressive with pricing and has bargains similar to Air France’s on sale right now.
What’s interesting here is to see the difference in fares if you fly BEFORE or AFTER the peak season vs. when it’s fully underway (July 1 -Aug 22). Here’s what Aer Lingus has on offer this week.
And peak summer season sale fares available right now (they will not last!)
Another smart idea for snagging bargains across the pond this summer is to considering your first stop in Scandinavia– ultra low fare carrier Norwegian Air will continue to disrupt transatlantic fares this summer and force established carriers to discount. But beware– we’ve heard that you definitely “get what you pay for” when flying Norwegian.
Advice: A busy summer in Europe means that sale fares like these are going to come and go very quickly. Keep on eye on blogs like TravelSkills and sign up for fare alerts to find them.
Good luck– and remember, if you see a fare that feels right, BOOK IT because it will not be there if you wait.
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