This is the fifth post in a series about taking advantage of the low United and Delta airfares around $600 or less from the west coast to Scandinavia. Travel is allowed for departure by May 15 or from August 24 from Los Angeles and San Francisco. No summer travel deal here, but many opportunities for cheap flights to Europe in the spring and fall.
In this post and my next one, I show how to find flights to Scandinavia for $600 and less using Google Flight maps and then add a low-cost flight to travel to nearly any country in Europe at a rate likely far lower than booking direct flights to your desired destination.
Loyalty Traveler series on low airfare to Scandinavian cities:
Why are United and Delta tickets to Scandinavia under $600 from LAX and SFO and Seattle?
The basic airfare deal is Norwegian Airlines is a low-cost carrier that has been operating in the US market for less than one year. Norwegian flies new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft between Scandinavia and the USA in select markets like LAX, Oakland, New York JFK, and Fort Lauderdale. Norwegian offered promotional rates of $400 roundtrip from New York to Copenhagen. Flights out of LAX have been priced around $600, but these are getting harder to find.
Oakland, California is a Norwegian Airlines route. San Francisco flights on United and Delta and their partners to more than a dozen airports in Denmark, Norway and Sweden have been on sale for $500 to $625 roundtrip.
Long Haul Expansion by a Norwegian Carrier Upsets U.S. Airlines – New York Times – February 6, 2014.
Norwegian Air: $506.80 round trip JFK-CPH New York-Copenhagen Nov 12-19, 2014.
The real deal for west coast USA residents are low rates offered from the west coast by Norwegian, United and Delta are among the lowest rates of the past few years for late-August and September travel. October is one of the best travel months and even Thanksgiving week rates offer some low fares.
There have been LAX to Scandinavia flights under $500 in recent weeks and yesterday I located rates as low as $510 from LAX and Seattle to Copenhagen and Stockholm in the spring and fall.
Flights on Norwegian Air from Oakland are seasonal and end on October 25. Some of the low fares from SFO on United and Delta require flying transatlantic outbound by October 24. LAX has more availability past October.
Norwegian Airlines flights from LAX-CPH are sold on a one-way basis. In July there is airfare a low as $456 outbound LAX-CPH. Returning will cost more at $610 CPH-LAX. This is $1,066 for a roundtrip flight July 8-22, 2014. United shows this airfare at $1,200 today.
United or Delta airfare is lower than Norwegian Airlines on many dates for travel before May 15 or after August 24
Apparently in response to Norwegian’s expansion of USA operations, United and Star Alliance carriers have been offering low rates to Oslo for the past month. I purchased a ticket 2.5 weeks ago from SFO-OSL for $541 round trip.
In the past week Delta jumped on the bandwagon and matched the low cost Star Alliance/United fares for west coast to Scandinavia at rates from $500 to $600 round trip. Dates available for travel require departure from USA by May 15 or from August 24 onward.
Flights from LAX and San Francisco to Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and more than a dozen other cities in Denmark, Norway and Sweden over the past couple of weeks have priced under $500 for some dates and under $625 for a variety of locations.
Transit Stops and Stopovers are one strategy to see more than Scandinavian countries. Low cost airfares from Scandinavia are another option.
Google Flight Maps for locating low fare cities and dates
Google Flight Maps allows you to find airfare rates quickly from any Scandinavian airport included in the United/Delta discount fares to other airports within Europe. Buying a separate ticket from Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm to other cities in Europe is likely a lower fare by several hundred dollars compared to flying direct from the USA to your desired European vacation destination.
A few days ago I showed how to build an itinerary with overnight transit stops of less than 24 hours to briefly visit another city in Europe on your way to or from Scandinavia. Yesterday, I showed how to use ITA Software Flight Matrix to build stopovers with most of the trip days spent in Paris, London or Amsterdam on a $600 flight to Scandinavia from Newark Airport EWR.
My third post showed how to build stopovers in Paris, London or Amsterdam on a $670 flight to Copenhagen or Stockholm from Los Angeles and the Google Flight Maps tool to locate low airfare dates.
Case Study: Getting to Athens for TBEX Europe in October 2014
I need to be in Athens October 23-25 for TBEX Europe 14, a social media conference for travel bloggers. I share more about TBEX Europe14 at the end of this post.
Athens is my example of buying two tickets, one from San Francisco to Stockholm and one from Stockholm to Athens to reach a city in Europe with two tickets for $500 less than the cost to buy a ticket directly from San Francisco to Athens.
Athens is currently one of the highest-priced airfares from California with rates over $1,400. I saw Athens for $765 from LAX yesterday on Aeroflot with a one night layover in Moscow. Then it went away.
Yikes! $1501 to travel from San Francisco to Athens in October 2014.
I can cut that ticket price by hundreds of dollars and see other countries in Europe on my way to Greece using the low fares available for travel to Scandinavia.
Google Flight Maps allows me to set San Francisco as my departure city and then change dates to see where and when low fare dates are available. Note that the default flight map is the USA and I scrolled across the map to see Europe. Enlarging the map shows more airports and fares.
San Francisco – Stockholm SFO-ARN shows up as $606 for Monday, October 13 to Tuesday October 28. This will mean 14 days in Europe.
Athens shows $1,435 for these same dates. My objective is to get from Stockholm to Athens and back to Stockholm for under $300. That makes the total airfare $900 and offers a $500 savings on the cost of direct travel to Athens. Of course, the airfare to Athens might drop to $900 or less over the next few months, but it might not.
Click on Stockholm and a link appears to show flights for the $606 fare.
This is a United Airlines fare at $606. The schedule with 9 hours in EWR is not ideal, but I’ll go with this itinerary to get to my main point of intra-Europe flights.
$606 SFO-EWR-ARN Monday, October 13 with return Tuesday, October 28 ARN-ZUR-SFO flying Swiss Air nonstop from Zurich to San Francisco.
The Stockholm to Athens challenge
So I find myself in Stockholm on October 14 and 1,524 miles from the Athens Airport.
Great Circle Mapper ARN-ATH 1,524 miles from my desired destination.
Back to Google Flight Maps.
Google Flight Maps shows there is a $313 round trip airfare between Stockholm and Athens on October 14 with return October 27.
I can try different dates for a lower fare. Stockholm is an expensive place to vacation. I can also try one-way fares on Google Flight Maps to see if there is a better deal. The price drops $40 to $289 by moving the departure date to Wednesday, Oct 15 or Saturday, October 18.
ARN-ATH $289 Stockholm-Athens round trip Wed Oct 15-Mon Oct 27.
Total airfare SFO-EWR-ARN-ATH-MUC-ARN-ZUR-SFO = $895.
This is a savings of $540 compared to the lowest airfare for these same dates to fly directly from San Francisco to Athens. My flight itinerary could be set with 12 nights in Greece.
This itinerary would place me in Stockholm for one overnight on the outbound and return flights. The last time I was in Stockholm was 1993 and I would like to spend time there enjoying the city once again.
A similar itinerary to this out of Los Angeles might be up to $100 less.
Now for the fun part of planning intra-Europe travel
The next post expands the use of Google flight Maps to locate numerous possibilities of inexpensive travel from Scandinavia to cities in Europe like Paris, London, Rome, Prague, Amsterdam and other places. I will give a Delta Airlines example
and Seattle to Scandinavia. (update Oct 26 – I don’t see the Seattle low fares today).
A cheap ticket to Scandinavia with add-on tickets to other places from Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo can save several hundred dollars compared to flying direct to a place like Paris, Berlin or Rome.
This is a good airfare deal for economy class travel from the USA West coast to Europe.
Athens in October for TBEX Europe 14.
TBEX is a travel blogger social media conference gathering that attracts 500+ bloggers and hundreds of travel industry representatives from tourist boards, hotels, airlines and other travel related companies. There are generally TBEX conferences with one in North America and one in Europe each year. I think this is the 7th year of TBEX conferences. I have attended the Americas conference three times and 2012 in Girona, Spain. I missed Dublin in October 2013 and apparently they have had an issue getting a North America conference lined up this year. Normally the North America conference happens in June.
The quality of TBEX workshops and the organization of the event has improved greatly these past two years. The host city and sponsors provide great opportunities to take tours, go to parties and gain admission to many sights for free as a travel blogger. I don’t bother with speed dating since I get the feeling industry people look at me as someone who wants a free trip. I enjoy TBEX for the opportunity to tour the host city with conference attendee discounts and complimentary passes. An opportunity to meet many interesting traveler writers and people working in social media brings me back.
I like the TBEX parties.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.