At Thrifty Traveler, finding cheap flights is what we do … and just like you, nothing tickles our fancy quite like cheap flights to Europe. But with transatlantic travel exploding this summer, many travelers are seeing flights at $1,500, $2,000, or even more roundtrip. Does that mean you’ll have to pay a small fortune to cross the pond – or just not go?
Not even close. While many travelers see eye-popping fares to Europe, we’ve still been finding and sending Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers cheap flight deals to Amsterdam, Paris, London, the Fjords of Norway, Ireland, and many, many more over the last several weeks – often around $500 roundtrip. Sometimes, we’re even seeing fares dip under $400 total.
Yes, cheap flights to Europe are still out there. What’s the trick? It’s all about picking your spots: The cheapest cities to fly to in Europe … and the best time to travel for cheaper airfare, too. Spoiler alert: Fall is the sweet spot.
Let’s take a spin across the continent and see just how cheap flights to some of these destinations can get.
Attention, Thrifty Traveler Premium (or Premium+) members: You’ve likely already received these deals! If not, you might want to log into your Premium account and adjust your departure airport settings – or select “All Cities” to see every deal!
When & Where You Can Score Cheap Flights to Europe
We have a mantra here at Thrifty Traveler: It’s called the Flight First Rule. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Before you book your hotels, request time off from work, or start planning your trip, start by searching for flights. That gives you some critical flexibility to find cheap flights, as just shifting your travel dates by a day or two can save you hundreds of dollars. And it also gives you the freedom to capitalize on deals like this one.
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Scandinavian Airlines, or SAS, is a European airline with a great experience even in economy. But more importantly, it’s set itself apart with these spectacular, sub-$400 fares to Europe – especially this fall and through the winter.
But you don’t have to fly SAS to benefit from these low fares. With fare sales like this one, SAS occasionally puts competitive price pressure on even major U.S. carriers like American, Delta, and United. The end result? Our own, beloved U.S. airlines wind up cutting prices to some of our favorite places in the world, too.
This flight deal included availability into Oslo, Norway (OSL), but also some fares straight into the Fjords cities of Bergen (BGO), Stavanger (SVG), and Trondheim (TRD), including October and November.
As you can see, northern European destinations are benefitting greatly from the lowest fares right now. Copenhagen (CPH) in Denmark is one of our favorite places to travel right now. Lucky you, it’s also the beneficiary of affordable flights.
Read next: Our Guide to Exploring Copenhagen
To the west, we’ve also recently found some great, low fares to Scotland. Inverness (INV) is a gateway to the Scottish Highlands and is a sought-after travel hot spot in Europe. Low fares to Inverness are fairly rare – especially from the west coast of the U.S., where prices this cheap are unheard of. Yet again, a trip in the fall is key.
At under $600, that’s at least half-off the normal price. Fifty-plus percent off is also what we saw on this list of nonstop fares from the U.S. to Europe.
We search all the nonstops from the U.S. to Europe all the time, and sometimes we’re surprised to find a long list like this one – especially when it includes some late summer availability at rock-bottom prices!
We find flight deals from 200+ airports in the U.S. and Canada!
That’s only about half of the nonstop routes from the U.S. to Europe on this deal, but it’s great to see nonstops from places like Austin (AUS) and Cincinnati (CVG) on the list.
Premium Economy & Business Class Deals, Too!
If there’s anything better than flying in a premium cabin to Europe, it’s flying premium cabins to Europe for what you’d normally pay in regular economy. While cash prices are typically high for these routes and award availability can be tough, we keep finding great deals to fly to Europe up front.
In just the last few weeks, we’ve sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members a handful of business class and premium economy deals across the pond. Whether you’re looking to pay cash or use some points and miles, there’s a path to get to Europe in comfort.
Whether you’re using cash or forking over a mountain of SkyMiles, deals in Delta One business class don’t come around too often. This recent alert for flights to Iceland were a welcome exception.
Only Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members get alerts to fly business class like this one!
Paying $1,200 is less than half the normal price, but it’s still a sizable sum. That’s where utilizing points and miles comes in: I don’t have thousands to spend on a lie-flat seat, but I do have tens of thousands of points and miles I’ve earned through responsible credit card spending.
Just 60,000 points would get me to Dublin (DUB) nonstop in this lovely Aer Lingus business class seat – including some options this summer!
For 5,000 points fewer than that, SWISS business class is your best bet for a comfy lie-flat seat heading to the Swiss or French Alps. This deal we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members a few weeks ago included availability for up to nine passengers during peak ski season in the Alps. That’s excellent availability for a business class route this coveted.
Sometimes, business class isn’t enough. If a First Class seat and service is what you require, 150,000 miles roundtrip could have put you in American Airlines First Class this summer to London-Heathrow (LHR). American is actually stripping First Class from its planes in the near future, so this was your best (and probably last) chance at flying in these seats before they disappear!
This deal is gone now – get the next one with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
There’s a new entrant in the European business class game that has people’s attention: Condor. We’ve tried out this airline’s brand new business class seats and our verdict is in: Condor business class is incredible. And it’s an incredible bargain when you can book it for 55,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles from cities all over the U.S. and even Canada to get to Frankfurt (FRA) and beyond.
There’s an even cheaper way to get to Europe in business class using your miles: Using Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles. It’s one of our favorite ways to book business class flights, period – and it’s gotten even better with recent Promo Rewards discounts that cut how many miles you need to book by 25% or more. Throw in a well-timed transfer bonus from major credit points programs, and you won’t find a cheaper way to get from the U.S. or Canada to Europe in lie-flat seats.
But not everyone has the cash to spend or miles to make business class a reality. Consider booking a premium economy seat, instead.
Premium economy is a wonderful middle ground between business class and economy – and it can come at middle ground prices or even less, too. This recent deal in SAS premium economy offered some amazing fares in the $800s and $900s to Europe this fall or next year – less than the prices many travelers are seeing for a standard, cramped coach seat!
Forget what you’ve heard: There are still cheap flights to Europe right now … if you know where and when to look.
While many travelers are seeing fares in the $1,000s or more, we’re still finding and sending cheap flights to Europe to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members for a trip this fall and beyond.