How to Save on Flights to Europe: Europe's Low-Cost Airlines

May 25, 2011

To save money on your trip to Europe, look to Europe’s low cost airlines. It sounds surprising, especially as airlines are beginning to pass the higher cost of  fuel onto customers and are charging extra for baggage. But Europe’s abundance of discount airlines means that with some creative booking, you can find a reasonably priced flight to your European destination from the U.S.

Let’s say that your ultimate destination is Venice. Instead of booking a roundtrip flight on a major carrier, you could book the roundtrip flight to London, which tends to be cheaper. Then fly EasyJet to Venice.

Also, with low-cost European airlines you can squeeze in visits to cities that may be too distant to travel by train or car.

What's the Catch?

The best benefit is the airlines' mind-blowing fares, sometimes as low as 30 euros. How is this possible?  For one, the airlines often use less crowded, somewhat out-of-the-way airports to lower operating costs. And the majority of these airlines stick to flying in only one regional area. 

They keep fuel costs down by reducing the load, i.e. limiting the amount of luggage you can bring on the plane. Then, there are the amenities; there are none. Don’t expect a meal or even a drink.  The trade off is that you get a ridiculously cheap, safe flight.

In addition to the airlines that fly only within the continent, a number of transatlantic discount airlines can get you to Europe at a lower cost.

Finding Flights on Low Cost Airlines

Be sure to search for flights to less popular airports near your destination, such as Pisa instead of Florence. The discount airlines tend to fly primarily to these smaller airports, but they may be just a short 30 - 45 minute shuttle ride away from your ultimate destination.

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