Hunting for low cost airfare to Europe in the high summer season is quite different from searching for cheap airfare at other times of the year. High demand for flights to Europe in the summer season keeps pricing high. Airlines can fill the seats on their planes without offering discounts and specials; their incentive to add cheap flights is non-existent.
Demand for airfare to Europe in the summer is strong for several reasons, including:
- from the US east coast, it's often easier, faster and much more exotic to fly "across the pond" with a vacation to a European destination, than to travel within the United States;
- more and more cruise lines are featuring European itineraries for their summer seasons - all these US cruisers have to find airfare to Europe to begin their trips;
- with the US dollar stronger against the Euro and the British pound, family trips to Europe are an affordable summer vacation;
- European vacations literally offer something for everyone - from walking treks through the scenic Welsh countryside to meandering through famous museums to shopping in the most cosmopolitan cities to leisurely gliding down a waterway past romantic vineyards - and everything in between, with airfare to Europe the choices of things to do are endless.
The peak summer season for airfare to Europe, as defined by the airlines through their pricing, begins in May and ends in September. Each airline has its own timetable for its high summer fares - some end their lower shoulder season pricing in mid-May, others end the lower fares for travel beginning after May 30. Regardless of the airline, you'll find high prices associated with flights to Europe for the summer vacation periods.
Since demand is strong for flights to Europe in the summer, don't expect the airlines to offer special sales or discounts to fill the seats on their planes. Airline sales for summer travel typically are held in the cold winter months when only the most organized people are searching for cheap flights to Europe in the summer. Even if you do find an advertised special, the chances are availability will be extremely limited or additional fees will hike up the price (and the airline's profit margin).
Even airline consolidators have fewer offering offerings for cheap flights to Europe in the peak summer season. The airlines know they'll have little trouble filling the seats on their planes and offer fewer choices for routes and flights to the consolidators.
How can you find low cost airfare to Europe in the summer?
As soon as you know the dates you plan to travel, start looking for airfares. Be as flexible with your dates as possible. Often the least expensive tickets are available for flights between Monday and Thursday, but this is not always true. As more people book their flights mid-week to get the cheapest pricing, cheap weekend flights sometimes are still available. Remember to choose "flexible" dates when using an online airfare search engine.
Try searching for your airfare to Europe from all the departure airports close to you. The cost and availability of connecting flights for your flight to Europe can make a huge difference in the cost of your ticket.
Abandon the thought that you'll find cheap flights to Europe. If they existed this year, they're already sold out. The best you can hope for is airfare pricing that isn't sky-high with excessive layovers and additional fees. Track the costs for your airfare for a few days or a week to gauge whether pricing is going up or down. Airfare is extremely volatile; pricing can change multiple times each day. When you see the fares start to consistently increase, it's time to make your move and grab your airfare to Europe before even the reasonable fares evaporate.