Aug242015

2015 Airfare Trends for California to Europe discount ticket prices

Searching Google Flights today did not reveal any spectacularly low fares for California to Europe. What I did see revealed in the map of airfares from Los Angeles to Europe is what I perceive to be the most common kind of discount airfares from California to Europe in 2015 exhibited today on Google Flights. This is not so much about absolute ticket prices to Europe, even though some of these airfares are good deals. This post examines the airlines and airports setting the discount air travel trends in 2015.

Today’s Google Flights maps highlight the four major trends I have seen this year for LAX and SFO ticket prices to Europe in 2015.

Four Trends Impacting LAX and SFO to Europe economy ticket prices in 2015

1. Scandinavia is the lowest priced destination for flights with a major alliance airline.

2. Norwegian Airlines is the absolute lowest ticket price most of the time to London and Paris and many other cities across Europe, including Scandinavian airports.

3. Aeroflot is the lowest ticket price for a major alliance airline member to places like London and Paris much of the time.

4. In addition to Scandinavia, Ireland, Iceland and Spain are other lower fare destinations with more frequent sales than other parts of Europe.

I’ll take a closer look at each of these four points through a look at Google Flights maps showing fall 2015 airfares from Los Angeles LAX to European destinations.

Google Flights and LAX – Europe Airfares Analysis for fall 2015

Google Flights Scand airports sep22-30

Los Angeles LAX – Copenhagen, Denmark CPH $642.20 Air Canada – Star Alliance (Sep 24-Oct 1);

Los Angeles LAX – Copenhagen, Denmark CPH $646.20 Delta/Air France/KLM – SkyTeam (Sep 27-Oct 4).

Los Angeles LAX – Bergen, Norway BGO $680 American Airlines/British Airways (Sep 21-Sep 28).

Los Angeles LAX – Oslo, Norway OSL $680  American Airlines/British Airways (Sep 22-Sep 30).

Los Angeles LAX – Gothenburg, Sweden GOT $683 American Airlines/British Airways (Sep 21-Sep 28).

Los Angeles LAX – Stockholm, Sweden ARN $685 American Airlines/British Airways (Sep 21-Sep 28).

Fares to Scandinavian airports have commonly been $200 to $500 less than many other airports around Europe. For this reason, flying to Scandinavia on a low priced ticket and buying a separate ticket to your ultimate destination can potentially save several hundred dollars on airfare.

2. Norwegian Airlines is the absolute lowest ticket price most of the time to London and Paris and many other cities across Europe, including Scandinavian airports.

Norwegian Airlines flies nonstop between Los Angeles LAX and London Gatwick LGW. You can fly one-way on Norwegian for as low as $299 in November and December. Low one-way airfare opens up many possibilities like around the world travel, returning home via Asia on other low priced tickets.

Scandinavia was on my personal bucket list when I went to Norway in September 2014. I flew Norwegian Airlines between Oslo and Bergen. The flight was half the price of a train ticket and took half the time from hotel to hotel.

Scandinavia is ground zero in a fare war between low cost carrier Norwegian Airlines and the legacy airlines. American Airlines and British Airways in Oneworld, Delta and Skyteam members KLM and Air France, and Star Alliance United with Swiss, Lufthansa and SAS have kept fares consistently available in the $600s for ticket purchases to Copenhagen CPH, Stockholm ARN and Oslo OSL. Other low fare airports have been Gothenburg, Sweden GOT, Billund, Denkmark BLL and Bergen, Norway BGO. Occasionally Helsinki and other airports in Norway and Sweden have low fares. Bottom line is finding a flight to Scandinavia from LAX or SFO priced between $600 and $700 round trip has been fairly common in 2015.

3. Aeroflot is the lowest ticket price for a major alliance airline member to places like London and Paris much of the time.

Google Flights Aeroflot fares oct15

Google Flights map screenshot from today for LAX-Europe round trip travel October 7-14, 2015. Most of the low fares under $800 across Europe are Aeroflot flights.

Aeroflot ticket prices and competition prices on select routes

$697 Barcelona, Spain BCN  (Air Canada $775; Lufthansa $804; American $813).

$702 Madrid, Spain MAD (Norwegian $723; Lufthansa $767; American $777).

$695 Geneva, Switzerland GVA (other airlines $1,200+).

$709 Zurich, Switzerland ZRH (Swiss $1,220; American $1,205; United $1,225).

$704 Budapest, Hungary BUD  (Air France $881; Lufthansa $961).

$753 Brussels, Belgium BRU (American, Delta and United $912).

$766 Bilbao, Spain BIO  good fare on Lufthansa Airlines that is not Aeroflot low fare.

4. In addition to Scandinavia, Ireland, Iceland and Spain are other lower fare destinations with more frequent sales than other parts of Europe.

The last trend to examine for 2015 fares is the emergence of Ireland and Iceland as low fare destinations, and to some degree Spain appears to be moving to a low fare destination relative to other points in Europe, with the exception of Scandinavia.

American and US Airways offered very low fares under $500 round trip to Dublin over the past year. Other airlines match occasionally, but the most common discount deal to Ireland seems to be Oneworld airlines with American, US Airways and British Airways.

Iceland has hit the airfare deals with WOW Airlines adding low fares between the eastern USA and Iceland. That does not do much for west coast traffic, but we might see some Icelandair deals from the west coast to compete with WOW. Little evidence of that so far. And WOW is set to expand with flights from Chicago. There have been some great west coast to Chicago deals in recent weeks.

When will airfare drop to $500s and $600s for fall travel to Europe?

Aeroflot, Norwegian and WOW are not the only deals around. They just happen to be the best deals for ticketing Los Angeles to Europe today for fall travel.

Last week saw the opening rounds of discount fares for travel to Europe in the fall months when LAX to Copenhagen dropped under $600 round trip and several airports dropped to mid-$600s on major alliance carriers. I expect another round of low fares to Europe to come soon, possibly even this week. There are Aeroflot and Norwegians Air deals around Europe for around $700 round trip and Scandinavia can be ticketed for under $700 today. I expect there will be another sale in the next week or two with fares to some European airports down to the lower $600s round trip on major airlines like American, Delta and United and their European airline alliance partners.

This is the time to watch for low fall fares to Europe and be ready to buy when the low ticket price hits your price point.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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