LL offers many luxurious properties throughout Europe through its auctions, portfolio, and "Buy Now" offers. Sometimes, I've found that the hardest part is finding flight arrangements for getting to those destinations. That is, until recently, when one of my cousins who lives in Belgium, clued me in to "discount airways"! There are now at least a half a dozen such companies (such as Ryan Air) that offer very reasonably-priced one-way or return flights to just about all major European cities. I was gladly surprised on my last visit to Europe, this past November, that I could buy tickets in advance online to meet all my flight needs and usually on the specific days on my itinerary. So for a fraction of the cost of traditional airlines, I flew the discount airlines from London, to Stockholm. Then, a week later from Stockholm to Paris, where my cousin picked me up and we drove to his home in Waterloo. After a couple of weeks visit, he drove me north to Eindhoven, Holland and I flre discount back to London. All in all, with applicable taxes, I paid just over $100 for all these flights! INCREDIBLE! Just wish we had the same kind of discount airlines for the trans-Atlantic flight back to North America.
I agree, flying within Europe is quite inexpensive. RyanAir often has incredibly cheap offers. We recently booked flights for 0.01Euro plus Tax from Paris to Milan/Bergamo. The flights for the four of us cost us $154.00. How can RyanAir do this, to offer flights for 0.01Euro?
However, there is a flip side to the coin. When RyanAir does cancel their flights and you have a return flight to the US to meet, you are totally on your own. My family came over to Paris and we went on to Italy. We all were to return from Venice/Treviso to Paris. RyanAir canceled three flights that evening without explanation. The planes just never arrived in Venice, so the three flights back out of Venice were canceled. All of us were stranded in Venice by midnight. My family had to get back to the US the next day out of Paris. They headed to MarcoPolo Airport in Venice where they got in just before the Airport closed for the night. They, along with some other 250 stranded RyanAir passengers spent the night at the airport hoping to get the first flight out to Paris to catch their AirFrance flight back to the States. AirFrance was utterly uncompationate and refused to help. My family wound up handing over 800 Euros each to get return tickets on Al Italia back to Washington DC. My husband and I wound up going back to Venice, hoping to catch a train back to Paris. The Venice Train station was closed after midnight and we found an outrageously expensive hotel near the trainstation for a few hours and then caught the noon train back to Paris for a 12 hour train ride. We were not alone on this train ride. There were dozens of angry RyanAir customers on that train and they all swore never ever to fly on Ryan Air again....This little episode cost us approximately 500 Euros for two. Sure, RyanAir reimbursed us for the 21 Euros we each had paid for the flight from Venice to Paris, but what an ordeal when they cancel their flights.... But, when it works, the prices are great, and the big name airlines can't match these prices.
Apart from Ryan Air, there is also easyjet.com, airberlin.com, germanwings.com, volare.com and a host of others. All fly within Europe and Great Britain only and their prices are great. Quite often the airport taxes are more than what they charge for the flight itself. Just check their websites.
Thanx for the info. So far I've been lucky never to have any such flights cancelled or even delayed. I guess that's the chance you take flying the discount airlines, although now that I'm retired i have a lot of flexibility re. timing. Though, the flight back across the Atlantic could pose a real problem.
Yes, being retired certainly helps. And despite this one bad experience we keep taking RyanAir out of Paris. You can't beat their prices. One bad experience is not too bad for all the number of times we have flown with RyanAir and EasyJet, but I felt bad for my family. I guess when flying back to the US it pays to built in one extra day hotel night before flying back. Enjoy retirement - we certainly do...
Hi L. Brown: Retirement has many terrific benefits, one of which is having the time to travel and to surf the Web for travel info, ideas & deals. Also, I find sharing experiences with other avid world travelers (like you and others on this LL site) very interesting and often highly rewarding. Curtiejoe
I too am aware of many of the European discount airlines, but is there a central place to get information about all of them? For somebody coming from the U.S. a problem seems to be that the major airports where international airlines land often don't serve the budget airlines so making connections can be difficult.
In my experience over the past several years of flying around Europe, all I've needed is to go the Ryan air's website. There, I've always been able to find flights (extremely cheap ones at that!) to the places I've wanted to visit.
One of the reasons Ryan's flights are so reasonable is that they fly in and out of secondary airports. But, this has never proven a problem, as most of these (like Stanstead outside of London) are usually connected to downtown via express train or bus. Using these forms of transport still means the overall trip's a lot less expensive than using the regular airlines.
I am not aware of a central site for these intra-european airlines. But you can check with the following: ryanair.com, easyjet.com, germanwings.com, airberlin.com, volare.com. Easyjet and Ryanair fly are headquartered in the UK, Germanwings and AirBerlin are headquartered in Germany, and Volare is Italian. Just go on the various airline sites and check them out. Find yourself the cheapest US-Europe airfare and then set up your trip with these airlines to the places you want to go. We use them all the time and for the price they charge, you can't afford to rent a car and drive or take the train.... One word of advice though, the occasionally cancel flights, so never book a flight lets say to Paris or London and try to connect the next day to your US return flight... Always built in an extra 24 hours in the city you are flying home from. Good hunting....
This isn't exactly what you asked for, but I've found a site which tells you which budget airlines fly to where you want to go, which is almost as good. It's called www.whichbudget.com, and if you choose where you want to fly to it will show you the budget airlines that fly there (and from which airports). I've found it very useful for taking advantage of the cheap European flights network.