Seems like a good day to summarize developments as the fare war between major alliances for USA to Europe flights enters its second week with continued deep discounts for Business Class travel to Europe and competitive low fares between all three alliance member airlines for economy class tickets to Europe for flights from August into March 2017. Each day there have been changes in the battle of Europe with low fares moving around the USA between American/Oneworld, United/Star Alliance and Delta/SkyTeam Alliance airlines.
This all seemed to start eight days ago on Sunday May 29 when Air Berlin launched a one day only flash sale for one way only from Germany to Chicago for $165. That deal was limited in the fact that the low one way fare only worked for Germany to Chicago. The round trip ticket price was in the range of $700. Still a great deal since this was a June to November fare allowing July peak summer travel.
On Sunday evening all three alliances lowered Germany to Chicago round trip fare to around $400. Loyalty Traveler – Fare War Star Alliance/Oneworld Germany to Chicago $400 round trip June-Nov (May 29).
On last week’s Memorial Monday holiday fares from Austria to USA dropped to around $500 round trip for travel with Oneworld or Star Alliance from June to Dec 2016. That is when I picked up an American Airlines round trip open-jaw from Salzburg, Austria to San Francisco for $493 taking me back to Vienna for December at Christmas time.
Tuesday is when the USA to Europe fare war launched with serious low fare attacks.
The first signs for me were seeing LOT Polish low fares from Chicago to Amsterdam at $514, followed quickly over the next few hours with low fares from around the USA to Dublin with AA, DL and UA for travel from August to March 2017. I actually started my article with the line,
Signs of a fare war from USA to Europe between American, Delta and United often takes initial form with low fares to Dublin. Two other hot spots are Barcelona and Milan for early signs of a fare war.
Loyalty Traveler – Dublin on sale $526-$629 from across USA in all alliances Aug to Mar 2017
Soon after I noticed California regional airports had low fares to Europe comparable to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and some routes even lower from regional airports than LAX or SFO, primarily from United in places with United Express service.
USA to Europe Business Class Fare War launched Tue May 31
Last Tuesday evening of May 31 the business class fare war launched from four USA airports: Washington IAD/DCA/BWI, Houston IAH, Denver DEN, San Francisco SFO.
Initially I came across the fare from a FlyerTalk post mentioning SFO-ZRH I was blown away when I saw this post on FlyerTalk for $1,700 business class fares from Delta and then looked at Google Flights to see this map with routes all around Europe priced from $1,550 to $1,600 round trip in Business Class.
$1,500 to $1,600 Business Class round trip Delta/SkyTeam to Spain and much of Europe
British Airways $1,500 to $1,600 Business Class to Italy
This initial fare war volley showed Delta had put much of Europe on sale with only the fares to Italy from Oneworld being the only other alliance low fares in Business Class. The stand-out features from May 31 were Delta/SkyTeam had numerous airports in Spain and Germany on sale for Business Class and Oneworld had many airports in Italy on sale for $1,500 to $1,600 round trip. Google Flights showed San Francisco to Istanbul at an amazingly low $1,086 round trip from San Francisco in SkyTeam Business Class. Delta/Skyteam had low fares to many countries with the exception of the UK, Netherlands, France and Italy.
The real deal here was British Airways $1,500 to $1,600 flights drop by $400 for round trip Business Class when booked through an AARP partner link for British Airways flights. This allowed many flyers to book USA to Italy Business Class with British Airways tickets for around $1,100 to $1,200 round trip. This deal ended about 15 hours later on Wednesday, June 1. Simultaneously, Delta/Skyteam dropped their $1,600 Business Class round trip tickets to Spain.
Delta/SkyTeam $1,500 to $1,600 Business Class to Germany; no Star Alliance response
The fare war was only happening between American/Oneworld and Delta/Skyteam for routes in Business Class, despite Delta/Skyteam attack on Lufthansa’s home country of Germany. United/Star Alliance had competitive fares and lowest fares on many Europe routes in economy class.
Charlotte and Philadelphia low Oneworld Business Class to Spain and Amsterdam
There was no sign from United of lower business class fares to combat Delta’s attack on Germany until Wednesday, June 1 in the evening when two markets, Charlotte and Philadelphia saw all three alliances drop Business Class fares to Spain to around $2,000 to $2,200 round trip. United and Delta matched Oneworld fares. These fares dropped Business Class to Spain to around $1,700 round trip.
These business class fares from Charlotte and Philadelphia are still around with British Airways and I updated my article yesterday to show the deals after the $400 AARP discount.
I have not seen any other Oneworld Business Class USA-Europe fares under $2,000 (pre-AARP discount) since the low Italy fares were dropped last Wednesday.
United attacks Delta/SkyTeam with $2,000 Business Class to France
United Airlines/Star Alliance finally mounted an attack on Delta/SkyTeam on Friday, June 3 when they dropped Business Class fares to several airports in France, including Paris, down to around $2,000 to $2,200 from airports all around the USA. These low Business Class fares to France with Star Alliance are still available this Monday, June 6 as I write this post. Even my hometown regional airport Monterey MRY still has United Business Class to Paris around $2,100.
Delta puts Germany Business Class on sale from across the USA
In what seemed like a response to United/Star Alliance low Business Class to France, Delta/SkyTeam dropped their Business Class fares to Germany from airports all across the USA on Saturday June 4. Delta/SkyTeam also added Newark EWR, United’s NY hub, to the list of airports with $1,500 fares all over Europe.
The list of airports with low Europe-wide Business class fares expanded with Washington, Houston, Denver, San Francisco and Newark. These Business Class $1,500 to $1,600 round trip fares from Delta/SkyTeam are still available today from these five airports. Germany is on sale from across the USA, except from Delta hubs, DFW and PHX. Not being an airline industry insider, I wonder if the AA and DL managers created a pact to not attack each other for these routes?
Another aspect of the Delta/SkyTeam sale are very low $1,200 Business Class round trip tickets to Germany from airports in Canada.
That is the state of affairs today in this fare war. There are economy class deals from around the USA to dozens of airports in Europe for travel from late-August to March 2017. There are United/Star Alliance Business class deals to France and Delta/SkyTeam Business Class deals to Germany from airports all over the USA.
The only Oneworld deals I still see in Business Class are from Charlotte and Philadelphia to Spain.
That is the recap of this fare war to Europe in its second week.
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Promotions Guide.