Airline Information

Information About Researching, Choosing, and Purchasing your flight to/from Europe

We hope this information will be helpful to you as you plan your tour with us.  The most confusing stuff we deal with has to do with the airlines.  You never know when the fares and rules are going to change. Armed with the following information you should be able to get your best deal:

  • Often you can get your best price when booking online as an individual or as a family.  Remember, in addition to your basic airfare, you can expect to pay an additional amount for fuel surcharges and taxes.  You can compare rates by visiting websites like www.farecompare.com and www.bing.com/travel.   If you buy your ticket from a wholesaler, you may save money.  Just be aware that the ticket may not be accepted on another airline if you have to make a change.
  • Hopefully, you will be allowed to pay for your ticket with frequent flyer miles or with award miles from your credit card company.  If you’re raising the money for your tour, it’s nice to know that, in many cases, frequent flyer-award miles can be donated to you and your family and to those you recruit to travel with you.
  • Airfares are influenced by: the departure and arrival cities (the taxes may differ), the cost of fuel (fuel surcharges are common), the dates and weekdays of travel, when you purchase your ticket, the season of the year (whether it is high or peak season), and (it may seem) any number of unrelated events like the way the wind is blowing.
  • Another advantage of booking your own flight is that you have the flexibility of flying at your convenience from/to the locations of your choice.  If there are connecting flights, you may check your bags all the way through.  However, at your point of departure for Europe you must retrieve your bags from your connecting flight and take them through Customs.
  •  You may find it cheaper to leave a day earlier or stay a day later.  It’s possible that the difference in airfare may more than cover the cost of your hotel.
  • You may find it less expensive to fly into a different city and take a train to your final destination.
  • Charges for checked bags can drive you nuts.  You can check www.smartertravel.com or www.airlinealacarte.net for the current fees for most airlines.  Typically the transatlantic flights will allow you the first checked bag free.
  • Generally speaking, the more you save, the less your flexibility and the more your restrictions.  It is a trade-off.  You will want to shop carefully for your best combination of comfort, price, and flexibility