airfrancesmallFinding flights from Europe to the USA online is like finding sand on the beach. There is more long-haul traffic over the Atlantic Ocean than anywhere else on earth, so you’ll be spoiled for choices. But then again, finding exceptionally cheap flights from Europe to the USA isn’t always easy. The famous budget carriers that operate in each territory don’t cross the Atlantic, so you’ll have to find a great airfare deal on a major carrier instead.

Best airport choices

If you are flexible and mobile, and you are interested in the cheapest possible way to get from Europe to the United States, then London to New York City is almost always going to be your best bet. But getting to London might be costly, so your best choices on the Continent are Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam. If you are flying from another city there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll have to change planes in one of the airports mentioned anyway in order to get the best deal.

Best airline choices

You’ll have the chance to fly on any major European or American airline, plus a few others you might not have thought about. They all have promotions that come and go, and they tend to match each other’s prices, so there’s not one carrier that stands above the rest. Some big ones to consider:

Two that should also be considered for different reasons are:
Virgin Atlantic (owned by Richard Branson and Singapore Airlines – Their prices are similar to other airlines and they have excellent entertainment and service).
Air India (They can’t fly nonstop from North America to India, so they stop in Europe along the way, and often sell seats on just this portion that are excellent deals)

Typical prices

Since these two regions are each so broad, it’s very difficult to discuss a “typical price” but just as a benchmark it’s helpful to know that off season flights from Europe to New York City can be as cheap as €150 or £120 each way. If you are flying to Los Angeles or elsewhere on the West Coast then you will have to pay at least €200 or £150 each way, though it can often be much higher.

During high season (summer and Christmas holiday periods) the prices are often double what they are during the off-season. It can be difficult to get great deals during these periods, so usually your best bet is to watch for fare sales and the buy as soon as you see one that fits your itinerary. It’s generally rare that prices for these flights will come down as the dates approach.

Money saving tips

With most travel booking being done online these days, the airlines all have to compete with similar prices in order to fill their planes. So be open minded to any airline that is going between your preferred cities, and jump on a fare sale if you see one.

Check Air India to see if their flights work for you. If they do they will almost certainly be the cheapest ticket you can get.

If you can be flexible, try to fly on a Wednesday, since this is the least popular day for Trans Atlantic flights and usually the cheapest seats of the week are available on Wednesdays.

Buy early, but not too early. Computer studies of pricing patterns have shown that airfares tend to be lowest between 2 and 8 weeks before the flights, except for bank holidays like Christmas or Easter. If you want to fly on specific holiday dates, you should book as early as possible, but if you are going another time of the year it’s best to wait until about 2 months before departure date, and then start scanning for promotional deals. For example, if you want to fly to New York in June, you might find that prices are quite high if you check in February, but by April you’ll usually see a sale of some kind.