Three days ago my travel plans for Europe were all neat and organized. Two trips for February-March and July-August.
Three days ago I was in the final stage of piecing together a May 10 day trip I wanted to ticket.
Two days ago I was set to purchase tickets for a May 10-day trip SFO to Stockholm with travel to Romania and Serbia. Early May seemed like a good combination of low airfare, low hotel rates, low tourist crowds and warmer weather than winter.
Two days ago $70 WOW Air one way tickets appeared for SFO to London, Copenhagen and Frankfurt. A quick assessment of travel dates and fares showed me an opportunity to travel with my wife in April. I spent the past week studiously analyzing ticket prices for April to June and the $70 one way to Copenhagen opened up new travel options at a bargain price that were not part of any deals I had seen for dates when she could travel in April.
An impulse buy of two WOW Air tickets for SFO to Copenhagen one way at $70 each and a one way ticket SFO to London in May have complicated my travel plans once again. I need tickets home to California.
Obviously, I could simply book WOW Air or Norwegian Airlines one way Europe to SFO/OAK, but lowest ticket prices for one way fares are nearly $300 one way to SFO or Oakland on dates we need to travel.
Cheap $400 Stockholm to California round trip tickets
There is another opportunity. Ticketing options in low $400s for a round trip from Stockholm to SFO/SJC with all three major alliances(or Dublin to LAX with Star Alliance Ethiopian Airlines) are common deals.
Analyzing deals has shown me some interesting itineraries for travel from Stockholm to California in April with ticket prices in $400s round trip and a return flight to Stockholm in June or November.
Oneworld Stockholm to Helsinki (overnight) – London (overnight) – San Francisco. Lufthansa flights with overnights in both Munich and Frankfurt is another ticketing option I found.
An overnight transit in Zurich (Swiss), Dusseldorf (Air Berlin) or Amsterdam (KLM) are possibilities on Stockholm to SJC/SFO tickets.
Advantages of open-circuit ticketing for an American headed to Europe
There are all kinds of deals from California to many places across Europe in the $400s round trip for travel from this month all the way into June. Deals are becoming more prevalent each month and fall season and winter 2017/18 deals are appearing.
San Jose Airport SJC service with Lufthansa to Germany and British Airways to London has created many more fare deals from SJC as an alternative to SFO. Some of the current airfare deals from SJC are lower than SFO ticket prices.
My ‘open circuit ticketing’ strategy of nearly two years was coming to a close this week. Low ticket prices stateside meant my focus shifted to starting and ending ticketed travel in one or two week chunks like a typical American traveler going to Europe.
Holidays and Weekends
While I can ticket like a rubber band man and stretch my travel dates around nearly any great airfare deal, the reality for our household is my schoolteacher wife has restricted travel dates that coincide with busy travel holiday periods and peak summer season.
The main advantage of booking round trip tickets to California from an airport in Europe are greatly expanded date availability for low fares from Stockholm, Copenhagen, Dublin and other limited time opportunities from airports across Europe.
Finding a ticket that allows us to travel cheaply from SFO to London in July is a needle in a haystack ticket. Flying SFO to London on a return inbound ticket that started in December with LHR-SFO is a much easier ticket find at a low price.
There are all kinds of deals for tickets for California to Europe in the $400s. Options are filtered down by a huge factor once a set of limited travel dates bound your ticketing opportunities.
It all gets complicated. The reason for shifting my airline ticketing to start in Europe was only partly due to low fares. The more important reason is the opportunity to get lower fares on high demand travel dates in the USA when ticket prices are usually elevated stateside for flights to Europe.
Like the price for a ticket to Europe on the Saturday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after Thanksgiving is generally no bargain. I can book a round trip ticket from Stockholm to Los Angeles flying in April and returning the Saturday before Thanksgiving for $400 round trip.
Mid-summer travel has been available at some real deals in recent months from some airports, but not so frequently from California as other airports in the USA. My summer travel is set using the return portions of two tickets. We fly to Stockholm on a ticket we started in December and we fly back LHR to SFO on a ticket we start this month.
Rather than dealing with time crunched low fare flash sales typical of USA to Europe deals, ticket prices in Europe, especially from Stockholm, tend to be stable for days and weeks with time to carefully consider purchases and take a few days to plan a trip without the fear the low airfare deal will be gone in 30 minutes.