This article looks at British Airways AARP discount tickets and its limitations for booking transit city long layovers more easily found through Google Flights and Momondo.com searches.
After playing around the past couple days with British Airways AARP member discounts, I have learned some of the limitations for these discount tickets to Europe.
No age restriction to join AARP for $12 and get a British Airways discount of $65 off economy ticket and $130 off Premium economy tickets to Europe for travel in 2017 to March 2018.
After a couple hundred airfare searches for SFO/SJC/OAK to Oslo, Stockholm, Bergen and Copenhagen, I found lowest ticket prices were generally British Airways AARP discounts at $376 to $425 for San Jose or San Francisco to Stockholm or Oslo. Simple itineraries beat the low fares on Momondo.com and Google Flights.
But the specific itineraries and routings I really want were found through Google Flights at $455 to $490 (note $490 is $65 more than $425 AARP discount ticket prices). Momondo.com got some prices down to $435-$490.
There is no best website for a great deal after extensive comparisons of ticket options on Google Flights, Momondo meta-search and British Airways $65 AARP discount site on economy tickets.
I found unique low fare ticket itineraries with each site that I could not replicate on the other two sites for the same low price.
Overnight Transit Tickets for visiting extra cities on one ticket
As a general rule, flights with overnight transit layovers in an intermediary city like London, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki were generally not an option most of the time through the British Airways AARP special booking site for the $65 discount rates.
Overnight transit stops up to 24 hours at an intermediate city to your destination on international travel are frequently permitted at no additional charge. This ticketing strategy offers opportunities to see another city or even two at only the cost of transportation and a hotel.
Ideal to me is to locate a ticket where I will arrive in a city between 12 noon and 4pm and leave the next day between 10am and 4pm. My aim is to get as close to 24 hours on a transit layover as possible to make the hotel and transportation expense worthwhile for a significant sightseeing or entertainment excursion.
The main point to share here is I found some highly creative, long transit layovers in different cities for California to Scandinavia routes through Google Flights (best) and Momondo.com.
Many itineraries I found on Google Flights did not appear on Momondo.com, even with significant filtering. But, Momondo.com was quite useful in pointing out some of the routings possible with a round trip ticket San Francisco or San Jose to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo and Bergen.
San Francisco Bay Area to Scandinavia tickets with long transit layovers.
Here are examples of potential routings I uncovered in my searches for a cheap ticket to Europe in Sep/Oct.
Commonly the least expensive tickets for California to Europe on a major alliance airline are flights to Stockholm or Gothenburg, Sweden; Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger in Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark.
British Airways tickets from San Francisco SFO, San Jose SJC and Oakland OAK are as low as $378 round trip with many tickets $410 to $450 round trip using the AARP $65 discount.
British Airways SFO – Oslo, Norway
AARP discount ticket with 19 hr. 20 min. London overnight transit layover
San Francisco SFO – Helsinki, Finland HEL – Oslo, Norway – London LHR (19 hr overnight) – San Francisco SFO
Oneworld Alliance partner Finnair offers nonstop SFO – Helsinki flights, however, I could only find the Finnair option on flights in August and September.
There is the option of planning a transit layover in Helsinki on some dates.
Momondo.com $484 Finnair/British Airways San Francisco to Bergen, Norway with overnight transit layovers in Helsinki and London.
Kiss&Fly $484 round trip SFO-BGO Momondo.com link.
Sun Sep 10 7:10pm depart San Francisco – Helsinki, Finland
Mon Sep 11 3:50pm arrive Helsinki, Finland
*** Helsinki, Finland Mon Sep 11 4pm – Tue Sep 12 7:55am for 16 hr. overnight transit layover.
Tue Sep 12 7:55am depart Helsinki HEL – Stockholm Arlanda ARN arrive 7:55am (one hour time zone change).
Tue Sep 12 10:00am depart Stockholm ARN – Bergen, Norway BGO arrive 11:20am
Thu Sep 21 1:35pm depart Bergen BGO – London LHR arrive 2:45pm
*** London Thu Sep 21 2:45 pm – Fri Sep 22 11:25 am for 20 hr. 40 min overnight transit layover.
Fri Sep 22 11:25am depart London LHR – San Francisco SFO arrive 2:20pm.
SkyTeam and Star Alliance airlines have overnight transit layover opportunities too.
Playing around with different routings, looking for itineraries with 30+ and even 50+ hours one way is a fun challenge, if you have the time to take your time getting to the final ticketed destination.
I have a free hotel night available at Marriott O’Hare I won for $30 in an auction. Here is one overnight in Chicago ticket I found with potential for redeeming that free night.
Chicago and Vancouver overnight on San Jose to Oslo ticket.
San Jose SJC to Oslo, Norway OSL Thu Sep 28 – Fri Oct 13
TravelMerry.com $433 round trip
United Airlines/Star Alliance
Thu Sep 28 1:46pm San Jose SJC – Chicago ORD
***22.5 hr overnight transit in Chicago Thu 7:55pm – Fri 6:20pm.
Fri Sep 29 6:20pm Chicago ORD – London LHR arrive 8:30am Sat Sep 30.
Sat Sep 30 depart 10:20 am London LHR – Oslo OSL arrive 1:30pm.
Fri Oct 13 10:00am Oslo OSL – Munich MUC arrive 12:15pm
Fri Oct 13 3:25pm Munich MUC – Vancouver YVR 4:55pm
***21.5 hr overnight transit layover in Vancouver Fri 4:55pm – Sat 2:30pm.