Without proper guidance, planning an Europe trip can turn out to be quite an expensive story. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can use to find cheap flights to Europe. With Omio, you can easily compare and book the best trip for you—regardless of where you want to go in Europe! There are plenty of low-cost airline options that help you get to Europe even on a budget. Find your best ticket and destination here and get your flight to Europe on the cheap.
Most airlines dramatically increase their prices once they sell enough seats to cover their costs, meaning booking last minute doesn’t provide the best deals when securing cheap flights to Europe. We suggest booking 3-6 weeks ahead of time to find cheap European flights.
“Having flexible dates definitely makes it easier to get a cheap flight, but that's not always an option with limited vacation time. If you keep an open mind about which country in Europe you want to visit, this can save you tons of money that you can later spend enjoying your new destination." - Christy, ordinarytraveler.com
If you are booking last minute, the best time to search for flights is usually just after midnight when companies reduce the prices on the flights that weren’t booked during the day. If at all possible, aim to book earlier in the week rather than later. Studies show that people who book at midnight on Tuesday tend to save about 6% on their flights.
A flight’s price is strongly affected by its popularity. For example, if you decide to depart on a Friday and return on a Sunday your flights will likely be more expensive than flights at non-peak times. Being flexible in both the dates and times you choose to fly can potentially save you a lot of money. You’ll find that staying away from weekends and peak travel times like school breaks and holidays will save money as well as hassle. Not only will your flight be less expensive but so will your accommodations once you arrive and you’ll face fewer crowds.
"Airlines operate flights from certain airports on specific days of the week, so it's always best to find the flight you want first, and then book your leave at work afterwards." - Kiara, galloparoundtheglobe.com
If time isn’t an issue, layovers can often be a good way to find a cheaper flight tickets. Direct flights are, of course, faster but they’re also the most expensive so if you’re willing to break your flight into smaller flights you’ll find cheaper results. Flight search engines often allow you to filter your results based on the number of layovers you’re happy to have. Flights with layovers may mean a lot of waiting in airports, but they’re also a great way to deal with budget airlines that don’t provide food or entertainment, a 3-hour layover in Reykjavik becomes the perfect time to charge your tablet, phone and find some food before your next flight. Just be sure to bring a good book!
If you’re looking for the cheapest flights to Europe, you can save a lot of money by flying into smaller airports and starting your Europe trip from there. Once you arrive, cheap options to your final destination—such as a train, rental car or bus— will multiply. Alternatively, it may be cheaper to fly to a completely different country in Europe and then book a second flight on a budget airline to your desired city from there.
"If you're not committed to which city you are flying to then be flexible with where you arrive in Europe. Many flight search engines let you search by region, so you might find considerably cheaper flights by flying into another destination." - James, nomadicnotes.com
The same flights often have different prices on different travel sites. Be sure to do some comparative research on both airlines' websites and flight aggregators to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Aggregators are a good place to start because they will show you flights from a variety of airlines. Once you’ve established the cheapest options across a couple of different websites it is best to cross reference those prices with the ones available on that airline’s website. Aggregators sometimes charge an additional booking fee that can be forgone if it is purchased directly from the airline.
“Use third-party websites as well as the airlines' actual websites when looking into flights. Most of the time, the prices will be the same or cheaper at the airlines' websites, but sometimes you can get a better deal on the third-party websites for the same flight!" - Michelle, michwanderlust.wordpress.com
While most intercontinental flights offer a free checked bag be sure to look at the airline’s luggage restrictions to avoid having to pay extra at the airport. Flying with only a carry-on isn’t always a possibility for long visits but a few weeks worth of summer clothes can likely be squeezed into a backpack. Pack light and avoid the hassle of checking and picking up bags at your destination.
While booking a round trip flight is usually the cheapest option for traveling to Europe, this is not always the case. Make sure you compare the cost of a round trip flight with the cost of 2 one-way flights to make sure you’re getting the best deal available. Also be sure to include the cost of traveling into town from the airport into your flight budget. Consider cities or towns with multiple airports and look into public transport options from each of them. One airport might be closer to the city center than another but perhaps the further offers cheaper flights.
“Consider avoiding booking flights that arrive very early in the morning or too late at night just because they are cheaper. Ultimately, they can end up being more expensive because you might need to pay for a taxi to get into town, as the public transportation might have shut down depending on your schedule.” - Allane, packingmysuitcase.com
Airlines often charge large fees for changing your flight so make sure you double check all of your travel plans before buying a ticket—and definitely make sure to read the small print! Reading the policies ahead of time will save you money in the long run and help you find cheapest European flights.
There are tons of destinations in Europe with pleasant weather where you’ll find cheap flights to in April, May, September and even into October. Avoid booking trips in December as well as the peak summer months from mid-June- August to beat the high prices as well as the crowds.
The cheapest time to fly to Europe is often during the winter-time, particularly the low season months of November, January and February. When booking flights for peak season, book your flight as early as possible. These flights are bound to fill up and the discounted seats will disappear rather quickly. If you're traveling during the off-peak season you can stand to wait a little while as flights will fill up less quickly meaning those discounted prices will be around for longer.
Nowadays plenty of budget airlines fly across continents meaning there’s a good chance of making a bargain when booking your cross-continental flight to Europe. Carriers such as Norwegian and Eurowings are great examples of European companies that have expanded their routes while keeping the low prices for flight tickets.
Low budget airlines from the US
Southwest: Southwest serves more than 100 destinations across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean and are known for its low fares, customer friendly service and no hidden fees policies.
JetBlue Airways: JetBlue was founded in 1999 at JFK and they jet to destinations across North and South America. This award-winning airline is also a great option for finding cheap flights from America to Europe.
Spirit Airlines: Spirit flies more than 500 flights to 67 destinations across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. They are known for their yellow logo and tagline “Less money. MORE GO.”
Thanks to the short travel time between main European hubs and the incredible inventory of airports, the continent offers lots of options for low-cost air travel. Pioneers such as Ryanair and easyJet has led the way for cheap flights in Europe and are now one of the many cheap airlines helping to keep the prices down for flights within Europe.
Low Budget Airlines in Europe
easyJet: easyJet is the second largest budget airline in Europe and a pioneer when it comes to online booking travels. Today they carry more than 600 routes domestically and internationally.
Ryanair : Ryanair is the largest low-cost airline in Europe and currently operates in more than 30 countries, departing and arriving in more than 180 airports giving them an excellent coverage across Europe and Northern Africa.
Eurowings: Eurowings is a budget airline based in Germany but with flight connections that cover the U.S. and Asia as well as Europe. Ideal for finding cheap flights in Europe and Germany in particular.
Vueling Airlines: Vueling is a budget airline based in Barcelona, Spain. With more than 160 destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia, Vueling has expanded fast since it was founded in 2004.
Wizz Air: The low budget airline from Hungary that has been in the air since 2003. They currently offer cheap flights to more than 35 countries and 140 different destinations.
The price of your flight is related to the length of the journey. Flights within North America, like those within Europe, tend to be much cheaper purely because of the flight length. When booking your initial cheap flight to Europe, consider a flight to London. Flights from New York to London are frequent and relatively inexpensive in comparison with flights out of other major American hubs. Some airlines offer more than 10 flights a day. The price of flights also vary pretty dramatically depending on the season. Unsurprisingly, flights to Berlin in February are much cheaper than flights to Barcelona in July. Always try to leave some room for flexibility in order to find cheap European flights.
Many airlines fly to Europe—meaning that many cheap flights to Europe are to be found! Below is a list of some of the American and European airlines and where you depart from in American as well as where they land in Europe.
Major Intercontinental Airlines
Aer Lingus: Ireland's flag-carrying airline flies to Ireland and other European destinations from 6 cities in North America: Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Toronto.
Air Canada: Canada's national airline operates flights from major Canadian cities to European destinations in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Air France: Air France offers numerous transatlantic flights to North American destinations in the United States and Canada including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington D.C.
Alitalia: Italy's national airline offers transatlantic flights to a number of Italian destinations from Boston, Miami, New York and Toronto, as well as seasonal flights from Los Angeles and Chicago.
American Airlines: American Airlines is one of the world's largest airlines which operates intercontinental flights to destinations around the world. American airlines offers intercontinental flights to European cities including Paris, Athens, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Venice, Frankfurt and London.
Austrian Airlines: Austria's national airline travels to Austria and other European destinations from a number of North American cities including Chicago, New York, Miami, Toronto and Washington D.C.
British Airways: The United Kingdom's national airline, British Airways, has the most planes in the world and flies to numerous cities on 6 continents. British Airways offers flights to Europe from numerous cities in North America including Austin, Calgary, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Vancouver.
Delta: Delta offers flights to 64 countries on 6 continents. Delta offers intercontinental flights to most countries in Western Europe including Ireland, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Finnair: Finland's national airline offers intercontinental flights from the United States to European destinations. Finnair flights fly from Miami and New York.
Iberia: Spain's national airline offers intercontinental flights to Spain and other European destinations from cities in the United States. Specifically, you can fly with Iberia to Europe from Boston, Chicago, Miami or New York City.
Icelandair: Icelandair offers passengers on transatlantic flights the opportunity to stopover in Iceland at no additional cost when flying to Europe. Icelandair offers flights from Edmonton, Toronto, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Seattle and Washington D.C. to Reykjavik before continuing on to a variety of European destinations.
KLM: The Netherlands' national airline offers flights to European destinations from over a dozen North American cities including Atlanta, Calgary, Chicago, Edmonton, Houston, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and Washington D.C.
Lufthansa: Germany's national airline operates flights from over a dozen North American cities to destinations all over Europe. Lufthansa flies to Europe from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.
United: United Airlines is the world's largest airline by number of destinations offered. United Airlines offers flights to numerous European destinations including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Hamburg, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris and Zurich.
Virgin Atlantic: Virgin Atlantic operates transatlantic flights from both London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports as well as Manchester's airport. Virgin Atlantic offers flights to North American destinations including Atlanta, Boston, Los Vegas, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
TAP Portugal: TAP Air Portugal is the main Portugese airline with its head offices in Lisbon. They fly to more than 80 destinations across the globe.
There are numerous flag-carrying airlines that offer intercontinental flights to Europe. While major flag-carrying airlines are not the only option for flying from North America, they account for the vast majority of intercontinental flights to Europe. Unlike many budget airlines, most airlines flying across the Atlantic offer a complementary piece of checked luggage and food and refreshments once on board.