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Atlanta to Barcelona/Zurich/Venice
strizzle
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My wife and I and another couple are wanting to take 8 days and go to 2 countries in Europe…we are looking at doing Spain and Italy. We would be flying out of Atlanta and they would be going out of Raleigh, NC or CHarlotte, NC. I have signed up for farecompare. We are looking to find something $700 total or less roundtrip. We would like to fly into barcelona and out of venice or rome. This would be an open jaw flight. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We are looking at going in late may or june.

Don
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$700 for this airfare in late May-early June is nearly unrealistic. It has happened before, but fuel prices are getting high again, and there aren’t as many transatlantic seats as there used to be. I think $900-$1000 is a more realistic price for this open-jaw (aka “multi-city”) flight. Be sure to check the links and strategies in our new user thread pinned @ top of this forum.

I have to ask … why Zurich? If you want a Swiss Alpine experience, get up into the mountain villages around Interlaken. If you want a Bavarian experience, then how about Munich instead?

strizzle
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I just thought of Zurich because it is a big hub. I checked with the group and they really want to do spain and italy. What if we didn’t do an open jaw flight and flew into barcelona roundtrip. We could take ryanair or another low cost carrier to italy. How much cheaper could it possibly be if we didnt do an open jaw flight? The $1000 price range does not sound good. Thanks for your help.

Don
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You probably wouldn’t save that much, and you’d add a lot of hassle. If $300 fare difference is going to blow this trip for you, then you either need to re-think it, or do lots of planning to keep your hotels, meals, transport, and activity costs in check.

If you were going in low-season, then $700 fares would be more likely. But on the cusp of peak-season… $1000 or more is more typical. I do see London for $839 currently late May.

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So…we have narrowed it down to probably going May 6-15 or next October. Would it be alot cheaper to go next fall vs going in early to mid May? We really want to fly into Madrid or Barcelona and out of Venice, Florence, or Rome. Thanks alot.

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Don,

FYI…a friend of mine found a flight from Knoxville, TN- Rome, Italy leaving November 1 and coming back 10 days later for $590 including taxes on Delta! What a deal! Also, last year, I flew from Knoxville to Paris BUSINESS CLASS for $360 roundtrip on a Delta buddy pass. I may end up chancing it with a buddy pass again. I am not a snob, but it was amazing turning our seats into a bed and eating a 4 course meal with unlimited booze with warm towels for your forehead! That’s the way to go!

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O.k. If you’re going to use a buddy pass, then why did you ask about these airfares? I don’t understand.

strizzle
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Don,

Using a buddy pass is our last resort. My job is not as flexible this year, so we probably don’t have the time to use a buddy pass. I am still on the hunt for a flight. My group has disbanded, so now it will be my wife and I going. We want to go when flights are the cheapest and crowds are the smallest. We are thinking of going this April or waiting till next Sept/Oct. It just depends on the flight situation. We want to fly into Barcelona and out of Venice/Florence/Rome back to Atlanta. Any ideas?

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Flights are cheapest in “low season” for transatlantic travel — roughly Nov. 1 until end of March, except in the weeks around Christmas, and if there happens to be an early Easter. Outbound date determines travel season, so shifting departure from say, Oct. 31, to Nov. 1 could save you a couple hundred on airfare. You can see fares over an entire month if you use ITA Software. There’s a link and quick tutorial in our new user thread pinned to top of this forum. For example, set it to check all departures from March 15 and 30 days onward, and if there are significant fare increases starting in April, you can spot them, and just be sure to get outbound before the higher season pricing begins. Same for Spring/Summer, and Summer/Fall.

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Thanks Don…I started using the ita software tonight. It is pretty neat. However, I wasnt too impressed with the prices from atlanta to europe. I searched low and high season. I searched alot of destinations to fly into and the best deals were in the high 700’s and 800’s. Not that great of a deal considering I searched the low season as well. When do you think better deals will come around? We would consider going March-June or next fall.

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We use open jaw flights fairly often and I’ve found the prices competitive, particularly when you consider the additional time you have to see stuff, rather than retracing where you have already been. However, I think sales are sometimes limited to round trips, but sometimes not.

Depending on the location, high (expensive) season is usually from June through September. It would probably save you something to go in april or may, or after September, but you have to consider that weather in those months may or may not be ideal; if you are going to museums, that isn’t a problem; if you are going to see scenery, you may have problems (but certainly not always). You should also look into whether hotels and restaurants will be open; some (a lot in Switzerland, for example) close seasonally. I had to squeeze a visit to one alpine town into the first 11 days of September because the hotel closed on the 12th.

I’ve not flown from Florence, as it always seems more expensive; Pisa might merit consideration. Rome is ok, but the airport is far from the city, so it may be expensive or time-consuming to get there. Venice is good, but many of the flights leave early in the morning and you have to get up very early to catch a boat to the airport. I have avoided discount airlines in Europe, as they always seem to have draconian luggage restrictions, and I find trains more pleasant.

I think you are seeing high prices because you are shopping too early. Airlines usually post a high price this far out and hope you won’t have the nerve to wait for it to come down. The tracking services usually don’t follow open jaw fares, so I would monitor round trip fares; when you see them come down, go to the airline and price the open jaw fare; it will have come down also. If you find a great price on a sale, grab it, as seats will be limited and you won’t be the only person shopping. My personal rule (which may now be invalid because of changes in the industry) is to buy before a date 60 days before you want to go, as after that date, prices are likely to increase.

Good luck. With the dollar falling so much, there may be fewer people going and thus better prices.

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