Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Europe's EasyJet is having a sale. And yes, North Americans should care

When it comes to travel within Europe to secondary cities, the large airfare search engines often come up short.

That's the ugly lesson I learned recently, when I tried--for hours upon hours--to book my husband on a flight from the New York City area to Girona, Spain.

I knew that intra-European flights landed there. I knew that booking him there, rather than to Barcelona, would shave a good two-hours off the time he spent in transit on the ground. But because Ryannair, the airline that most commonly flies into Girona, has no agreements with other airlines, it was impossible to book him there on one ticket, which then made searching for itineraries on Expedia, Kayak, Momondo and the like impossible. (I later learned that I could have searched for a one-way ticket through DoHop.com by disabling a few features, but because I wanted a multi-stop itinerary, one that flew back to the US from Barcelona, DoHop couldn't handle it).

Eventually, I bit the bullet and cobbled together an itinerary myself, flying him into Madrid on one airline and then from there (same airport) to Girona on Ryannair. He flies back from Barcelona on the first airline and the price I got ended up being pretty good.

The process was a reminder of how important it is not to overlook the smaller European carriers for flights within Europe. Heck, if I'd hit the timing better, I might have picked up a 3 euro seat for him on Ryanair. That's the starting rate on a sale that keeps getting extended (fingers crossed), but was supposed to end yesterday.

Rival EasyJet still has its routes on sale for the fall and they're pretty impressive. Here are just a few that caught my eye:

  • Edinburgh to Basel: 26 GBP, including taxes for flights after Dec 3
  • London, Gatwick to Zagreg: 26 GBP, including taxes for flights after Feb 11
  • Amsterdam to Manchester: 28 GBP, including taxes for flights after Nov 10
  • London Gatwick to Barcelona: 31 GBP including taxes, available now
One caution on using Europe's "upstart" airlines: be sure the airport you're flying out of is accessible. Sometimes the secondary airports they use will be quite far from the international airports, so you may want to schedule some time in the city that's the end point on your international flight before moving on to the secondary city you'll be visiting.

1 comment:

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