Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

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Lieutenant.Columbo
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Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:22 pm

We'd like to spend 2 weeks in Europe in 2018. It doesn't really matter when.
We'll decide based on flight cost and overall flight duration.
We know where we'd depart the US from and where we'd depart back from Europe.
How/Where can I search for the best 2-week trip flights while not entering any dates in my search (so that I do not have to trial-and-error run multitude of searches by different dates)?
Thank you.
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FriedFire
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by FriedFire » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:00 am

Check out Google Flights. There’s a “flexible Date” option where you can specify length of trip and it’ll show you various destinations.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by vanpan » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:03 am

Try https://www.theflightdeal.com/ if you are flexible.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:06 am

Check out Norwegian Air. Last I looked it was something like $129 one way from LA.

TravelforFun
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by TravelforFun » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:12 am

FriedFire wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:00 am
Check out Google Flights. There’s a “flexible Date” option where you can specify length of trip and it’ll show you various destinations.
:beer Google Flights is def better than kayak and other travel websites.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:33 am

For straight up cash for fare, fare sales are the best bet if you have total flexibility. You can cross the pond for a couple of hundred dollars roundtrip. The last fare sale I saw of that extent was on Norwegian. It would require flexibility to get a price that low, including on the airline and departure city. Sign up for for promotional e-mails for the international carriers you would be willing to fly, and start monitoring travel boards.

But I think you are better off using sign up bonuses from credit cards to knock the cost down. Then you can take a flight on a premium airline, with more flexibility. Doctor of Credit maintains a list of offers. So far I've had more points and miles than I can use, though I also travel a lot for work.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by dandinsac » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:22 am

A few weeks ago, I used Kayak, which on has a nice 7 day by 7 day matrix (+- 3 days) matrix of prices. This search method allows you to see the lowest prices fairly easily. You can also filter by stops and airlines, which helps throw out the 1-stop and 2-stop flights or airlines with the cheap tickets, but nothing else. By varying the start and end days, I could see when we had to leave and come back to get this fare.

One caution that you need to look at the total cost, if the fare requires you to pay more for a checked bag and/or reserved seat. I narrowed in on a roundtrip United flight from San Francisco to Paris for $430 per person. I liked this flight since we could each check a bag and reserve seats. 11 hour flights aren’t much fun, but it’s a bit nicer when you can check a bag and pick where you sit.

You still have to vary the dates, but it goes pretty quickly. You can move two weeks at a time.

Note that the 7x7 matrix on Kayak doesn’t seem to show up on my iPad. You may need to use a PC or Mac.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by blaugranamd » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:25 am

FriedFire wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:00 am
Check out Google Flights. There’s a “flexible Date” option where you can specify length of trip and it’ll show you various destinations.
You can set multiple starting and destination airports and then track the itinerary so it shows up in Google feed on your phone
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:25 am

Another vote for Google Flights.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by snackdog » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:25 am

If you are looking for cheapest fare, you should consider cheapest time and location as well. Feb is about the cheapest month because there are no holidays in the US or Europe so nobody is traveling. Weather is chilly up north so stick to Italy, Spain, Greece and Croatia. Eastern Europe is generally cheaper and more interesting than Western. You should be booking now for Feb. Good luck!

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:57 am

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:22 pm

We know where we'd depart the US from and where we'd depart back from Europe.
Be careful that this doesn't lock you into missing the best fares. As an example, we last flew to Europe in April 2017. Our destination was somewhat obscure (Menorca) so that required 3-4 flights one way from Memphis, with total flight times of 14 hours going and 23 hours return. The best fares from Memphis were around $1300 pp.

We decided to fly Memphis to Boston (rt under $300 pp), enjoy Boston for a few days, and then fly Boston-Menorca. It still took multiple flights from Boston, but the transit time was MUCH shorter and the RT was $420 on Iberia.

Boston is one of several east coast gateways still showing low fairs, and not just on WOW.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Ichabob » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:39 am

Try hipmunk.com for its "pain index" if you fly economy

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:43 am

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:57 am
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:22 pm

We know where we'd depart the US from and where we'd depart back from Europe.
Be careful that this doesn't lock you into missing the best fares. As an example, we last flew to Europe in April 2017. Our destination was somewhat obscure (Menorca) so that required 3-4 flights one way from Memphis, with total flight times of 14 hours going and 23 hours return. The best fares from Memphis were around $1300 pp.

We decided to fly Memphis to Boston (rt under $300 pp), enjoy Boston for a few days, and then fly Boston-Menorca. It still took multiple flights from Boston, but the transit time was MUCH shorter and the RT was $420 on Iberia.

Boston is one of several east coast gateways still showing low fairs, and not just on WOW.
Especially in Europe, trains are fast and cheap. For instance, if you can save $200 by flying into Brussels instead of Paris and pay $35 for a train trip to Paris that is under two hours, it might be worth it. You don't have to use the same airports coming and going.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:50 am

whodidntante wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:33 am
I think you are better off using sign up bonuses from credit cards to knock the cost down. Then you can take a flight on a premium airline, with more flexibility. Doctor of Credit maintains a list of offers. So far I've had more points and miles than I can use, though I also travel a lot for work.
so, if I were to pick and use this new card so that its sign-up bonus cuts down on the flight cost (then pay it off and go back to my regular 2% cash-back card), then I'm better off if I pick a card that gives cash bonus, and not points bonus, correct?
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:44 pm

snackdog wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:25 am
If you are looking for cheapest fare, you should consider cheapest time and location as well. Feb is about the cheapest month because there are no holidays in the US or Europe so nobody is traveling. Weather is chilly up north so stick to Italy, Spain, Greece and Croatia. Eastern Europe is generally cheaper and more interesting than Western. You should be booking now for Feb. Good luck!
depends on what weather you are used to. Temps in the 40's in Feb in some countries more to the north than you mentioned are certainly an option for those that live in colder climates.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by GKSD » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:02 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:06 am
Check out Norwegian Air. Last I looked it was something like $129 one way from LA.
+1 - we (self and DW) booked our summer vacation (first 2 weeks of June) last month with Norwegian. LAX to ROME - total $540 for both and then back PRAGUE to LAX - total $681 for both - tickets are no frill - no checked in luggage, no meals. I have 90K miles with American Airlines and Norwegian ended up even cheaper than using American Airlines with miles. I could not find anything cheaper than Norwegian at that time.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:09 pm

GKSD wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:02 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:06 am
Check out Norwegian Air. Last I looked it was something like $129 one way from LA.
+1 - we (self and DW) booked our summer vacation (first 2 weeks of June) last month with Norwegian. LAX to ROME - total $540 for both and then back PRAGUE to LAX - total $681 for both - tickets are no frill - no checked in luggage, no meals. I have 90K miles with American Airlines and Norwegian ended up even cheaper than using American Airlines with miles. I could not find anything cheaper than Norwegian at that time.
thank you, did you just go to Norwegian's website and search the dates you wanted? or did you check for flights with date restrictions?
Also, is LAX the departure of your trip to Rome? or do you fly to LAX first? If you had to drive to LAX first, how would you figure that part out? Within or outside Norgewian's site?
Thank you.
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:33 pm

GKSD wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:02 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:06 am
Check out Norwegian Air. Last I looked it was something like $129 one way from LA.
+1 - we (self and DW) booked our summer vacation (first 2 weeks of June) last month with Norwegian. LAX to ROME - total $540 for both and then back PRAGUE to LAX - total $681 for both - tickets are no frill - no checked in luggage, no meals. I have 90K miles with American Airlines and Norwegian ended up even cheaper than using American Airlines with miles. I could not find anything cheaper than Norwegian at that time.
Great deal. I’ve also read it takes five hours flying time from JFK to Gatwick. I may not need business class from LAX to London for that short of a fly. Just fly to New York and then go from there. Of course, I want to visit New York too. But sometime Virgin America has sale price from LAX to New York for $129 one way.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by GKSD » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:29 pm

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:09 pm
GKSD wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:02 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:06 am
Check out Norwegian Air. Last I looked it was something like $129 one way from LA.
+1 - we (self and DW) booked our summer vacation (first 2 weeks of June) last month with Norwegian. LAX to ROME - total $540 for both and then back PRAGUE to LAX - total $681 for both - tickets are no frill - no checked in luggage, no meals. I have 90K miles with American Airlines and Norwegian ended up even cheaper than using American Airlines with miles. I could not find anything cheaper than Norwegian at that time.
thank you, did you just go to Norwegian's website and search the dates you wanted? or did you check for flights with date restrictions?
Also, is LAX the departure of your trip to Rome? or do you fly to LAX first? If you had to drive to LAX first, how would you figure that part out? Within or outside Norgewian's site?
Thank you.
Yes I just booked the tickets directly from Norwegian website and searched for the dates that I was looking for.
I live in San Diego - LAX is about 2 hours from my home, I take one-way rental ($35 from AVIS) and drop it off at LAX - no big deal for me.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by palaheel » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:34 pm

Depending on what you want to do, the daylight hour difference between summer and winter can be significant. London is getting around 8.5 hours of daylight today. We've done trips in the dark; they're not as much fun.
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:35 pm

ITA Matrix was purchased by Google a few years ago. If you read the "help" files, you'll find the site is more flexible and powerful than the typical consumer web site.
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
ITA Software is a travel industry software division of Google, formerly an independent company, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was founded by Jeremy Wertheimer, a computer scientist from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Cooper Union, with his partner Richard Aiken in 1996. On July 1, 2010, ITA agreed to be acquired by Google. On April 8, 2011, the US Department of Justice approved the buyout. As part of the agreement, Google was required to license ITA software to other websites for five years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITA_Software

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:40 pm

If you fly Norwegian Air, make sure you book on the Norwegian language .nok website. Pay with your credit card in NOK and you will save about 25-30% on the equivalent fare in dollars.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by btenny » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:02 pm

The wife and I went to London from Phoenix via LAX and back in November on Norwegian air. We flew first class this time with everything included. The price for first class tickets was less than what we paid in 2016 for economy class in July. So dates matter. The flight time is 10.5 hours from LAX to Gatwick. We also bought round trip tickets from Phoenix to LAX. Then we traveled by train from Gatwick to our destination in England. Total travel time for us was 22+ hours including drives to the airport and check in time and waits for the next flight or train. So it is hard.

And now we see that Norwegian is flying out of Las Vegas to Europe so their might be great fares from there as well. I also wanted to tell everyone how great the new 787 Dream-liner plane rides. Norwegian uses these exclusively for the Europe trips. They have big comfortable seats. The plans is quiet and has tons of amenities. Most people can sleep in the cabin with ease. We just love traveling this way.

On this trip we also went to Spain and back to England via Ryan air. That trip cost about 50 euros each round trip. A real bargain. But Ryan air is a total disaster airline. They have ultra small and hard terrible seats and the service and treatment is just bad. Now that I have used this airline I think they are dangerous. But in much of England there is not any other choice. So you take the chance.

Enjoy and Good Luck.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:06 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:33 pm
Great deal. I’ve also read it takes five hours flying time from JFK to Gatwick. I may not need business class from LAX to London for that short of a fly.
That's optimistic. It would require a very strong tail wind, a great circle route (no congestion) and no congestion at either end. About 7 hours in the air and 8 on the plane would be more normal.

Also note that for night flights the plane usually can't land at Gatwick before it is scheduled. Night time flights operate under strict quotas for noise abatement. So if there is a good tailwind they either hold you on the ground (after the plane is loaded) or they fly slower (to save fuel) or you spend an hour flying in circles.

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:29 pm

Jeff Albertson wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:35 pm
ITA Matrix was purchased by Google a few years ago.
Thank you for this info.
Does this make Google the best flight-search resource?
Is the matrix data what one is accessing when simultaneously looking at multiple dates for the same itinerary?
Jags4186 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:40 pm
If you fly Norwegian Air, make sure you book on the Norwegian language .nok website. Pay with your credit card in NOK and you will save about 25-30% on the equivalent fare in dollars.
Thank you for this tip. I wonder who was the first one to do it this way. Is booking in Norwegian language straightforward when it comes to accepting or declining options? I guess I can always use a language translator.

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Last edited by Lieutenant.Columbo on Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:32 pm

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:29 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:40 pm
If you fly Norwegian Air, make sure you book on the Norwegian language .nok website. Pay with your credit card in NOK and you will save about 25-30% on the equivalent fare in dollars.
is booking in Norwegian language straightforward when it comes to accepting or declining options? I guess I can always use a language translator.

Are you a Jaguars' fan?
You can use google chrome to translate the page back into English.

Nope just initials :happy

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:39 pm

btenny wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:02 pm
The wife and I went to London from Phoenix via LAX and back in November on Norwegian air. We flew first class this time with everything included. The price for first class tickets was less than what we paid in 2016 for economy class in July. So dates matter. The flight time is 10.5 hours from LAX to Gatwick. We also bought round trip tickets from Phoenix to LAX. Then we traveled by train from Gatwick to our destination in England. Total travel time for us was 22+ hours including drives to the airport and check in time and waits for the next flight or train. So it is hard.

And now we see that Norwegian is flying out of Las Vegas to Europe so their might be great fares from there as well. I also wanted to tell everyone how great the new 787 Dream-liner plane rides. Norwegian uses these exclusively for the Europe trips. They have big comfortable seats. The plans is quiet and has tons of amenities. Most people can sleep in the cabin with ease. We just love traveling this way.

On this trip we also went to Spain and back to England via Ryan air. That trip cost about 50 euros each round trip. A real bargain. But Ryan air is a total disaster airline. They have ultra small and hard terrible seats and the service and treatment is just bad. Now that I have used this airline I think they are dangerous. But in much of England there is not any other choice. So you take the chance.

Enjoy and Good Luck.
Great info, I might check out first class cabin of Norwegian air. Regarding Ryan Air, I normally use British Avios for flight in/out of England. But within Europe, like Barcelona to Bordeaux, what choices do I have? I don’t want the long delay of flying back to London and from there to the new destination. I don’t want train, it’s too long. Last time we were using Iberia airline from Florence to Vienna. What are the safe and good internal airlines within Europe?

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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:41 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:39 pm
What are the safe and good internal airlines within Europe?
Vueling
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Re: Finding Best USA-To-Europe FLIGHT When Dates Are Not Limiting Factor?

Post by Armada » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:42 am

ITA Matrix is the bomb! Hands down, it is the best consumer level air fare search engine.

It can do what you are looking for. It can search by specific dates (+/- 1-2 days). It can also search for fares a month at a time using a varying number of days for a trip. (ex. taking a 13-17 day trip flying ORD>LHR>ORD; it will search for 30 days out using a specific start date).

For the advanced user, you can define things like connecting cities, airline, fare class, airline alliance and specify multiple cities for starting and ending.

The only downsides are that you can't book directly from the web site and it does not have some airlines (Southwest, Jet Blue).

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