All three airline alliances offer San Francisco to Rome at $839 to $850 low economy fares for departures into March 2016.
Delta-Skyteam has far more low fare dates than American-Oneworld for January to March. SAS-Star Alliance has only around a dozen departure dates in Feb-Mar 2016. All the SAS dates I checked have forced overnight layovers in Copenhagen. American and Delta are best schedules, unless you want two overnights in Copenhagen.
Sailing ships outside the Admiral Hotel, Copenhagen Oct 2015.
American Airlines-Oneworld San Francisco SFO – Philadelphia PHL – Rome FCO
$844.80 Tuesday March 8 – Wednesday March 16, 2016
British Airways flights via LHR are $20 to $30 more, but be sure to book AA codeshare flights to earn 100% redeemable and elite miles for British Airways flights taken after February 1, 2016.
Flying all Delta Airlines operated flights via Atlanta is a comparable schedule to the AA via PHL timetable with good departure and arrival times. SkyTeam also offers the potential for working an overnight in Paris flying Air France or Amsterdam flying KLM.
Delta Airlines San Francisco SFO – Atlanta ATL – Rome FCO
$849.30 Wed Mar 2 – Wed Mar 9
Google Flights image shown here. Fare is $849.30 on Delta.com.
SAS Airlines – Star Alliance
SFO – Copenhagen (overnight) – Rome FCO – Copenhagen (overnight) – SFO
$838.60 Wed Mar 2 – Wed Mar 9
State of Air Fares in Europe
Air fare to Europe has had few sales since August. American Airlines dropped this same San Francisco SFO-FCO Rome routing via Philadelphia to $638 during that August 2015 fare sale. The fact that I am even writing about an $850 fare from California to Rome is a statement on the state of air fares in Europe.
There has not been a good widespread airfare sale for European airports in about 10 weeks now. Scandinavia is the best low fare deal around when flying from California. You can fly to Scandinavia for close to $600 round trip from San Francisco and fly a separate ticket to most places in Europe for $100 to $200 round trip.
Ireland and Spain have had sporadic sales in the high $600s and $700s and some eastern European airports like Belgrade and Budapest had fares in the $700s. Most of Europe is mostly $1,000+ round trip from LAX and SFO.
Discount flights to Scandinavia and Ireland was my strategy for 2014-2015 travel with separate low cost tickets for flights to places around Europe. That same plan will continue into 2016, unless a new front opens up for airfare deals. For the time-restricted traveler, $850 for round trip SFO to Rome is a decent airfare, if you want to lock something in place for travel before April 2016.
January usually brings some great winter and spring airfare deals, when many people are too broke to put another $1,500 on credit card purchases. We may see some airfare deals under $750 round trip from LAX and SFO to Europe appear before January.
Of course, we always have the option in California to fly Norwegian, and WOW will fly LAX and SFO to Iceland in summer 2016. WOW tickets go on sale in January. I think that will spur some competitive fares to Europe from other airlines.