USA to Europe business and economy fare war recap of past week

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.

Loyalty Traveler – Fare Alert AA-DL Business Class USA to Europe $1400 to $1600 SFO, IAH, IAD, DEN and more Aug-Mar 2017

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.

Google Flights SFO-Europe BIZ Aug23-31 LTMay31image

$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.

Delta Business Class New York JFK to Germany airports $1,513 round trip, LAX/SFO $1600s

British Airways $1,235 Business Class San Francisco to Rome AARP discount fare Aug-Mar 2017

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.

They’re back! CLT and PHL Oneworld $1,600s Biz fares to Spain and Amsterdam, UA and DL match (June 1).

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.

British Airways Business Class $1,692 CLT/PHL to Spain Nov-Mar, PHL/AMS $1,787 even Xmas-New Year (June 5).

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.

Fare Alert United Business USA to France $2,018 in attack on Delta Germany fares

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.

Delta Business Class to Germany $1,500 to $1,600 expands most USA48 airports, except Delta hubs

Business Class Fare Alert Delta $1,500 EWR to Europe, many routes

Delta Business Class Toronto $1,200 USD Vancouver $1,300 to Germany

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.

Delta Business Class Toronto $1,200 USD Vancouver $1,300 to Germany (June 5).

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.

British Airways Business Class $1,692 CLT/PHL to Spain Nov-Mar, PHL-AMS $1,787 even Xmas-New Year (June 5).

That is the recap of this fare war to Europe in its second week.

Loyalty Traveler curated Airfare Deals and Google Flights and Kayak Explore tutorials.

Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Promotions Guide.








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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  1. There are still some Skyteam (AF and Delta mostly) Business class fares from IAH to IST available in March 2017. Round trip in the $1,200 to $1,300 range. Some of these include the new lay flat Air France planes but it pays to check which planes and dates it seems.

  2. You’re missing the sub $2k AirBerlin flights from SFO to DUS, MUC, ZRH.
    Available throughout the summer.

    Unlike the DL offerings, they actually have a decent product from the West Coast: a flat bed (Solstys, the best) with all-aisle-access, flights long enough for a decent sleep, and sensible timings.

    On DL, you either have to go via one of their hubs and get no useful sleep (because the flights are too short), or take AF and get no useful sleep (because they have don’t have flat beds on the SFO flights), or KL and get no useful sleep (because the SFO flight leaves at an absurd time).

    Business class is all about taking flights with decent beds that are well timed and of sufficient duration (ideally, over 12 hours), so that you get enough sleep to cope with a redeye. Otherwise, a daytime flight in coach (e.g., AA90 ORD-SFO) is a satisfactory option.

  3. @Grumpy – I mentioned AirBerlin $2,000 Business Class fares in one or two of my posts last week. I had been thinking about writing a dedicated article since I keep finding low AirBerlin fares. There are also some good JetAirways fares for $2,000 to Amsterdam from several places. I have read favorable flight reviews of their Business Class.

    Errands to run now like food resupply in my (home) office. Might type those pieces later today. I already have the data.

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