August 15, 2003 -- As the weather gets cold in Germany, thousands of Germans from Bremen to Bonn flock to Florida to see der Disney and float happily on the Atlantic waters.
Airlines need to fill seats in both directions, though, so a rush of Germans to Florida means cheap fares for Floridians heading to Europe. Some of the lowest fares we've seen are on LTU International Airways, a German charter carrier that sells seats to the general public.
LTU flies direct from Miami, Orlando and Fort Myers to Dusseldorf, in western Germany, with connecting flights to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and Stutttgart. Their flights are sporadic, but reliable: they fly out of Miami once a week on Friday, out of Fort Myers twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays, and out of Orlando once a week (on Wednesdays until the end of October, then on Sundays from November through April.)
LTU's fares are very competitive, but we'd advise checking them against other airlines (especially if you have frequent-flier accounts) before booking.
Their fall fares are good for flights from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, as long as you book by August 31. Fall fares include (roundtrip, plus the usual $100 or so tax):
- Miami-Dusseldorf: $468
- Miami-Other German Cities: $498
- Orlando-All German Cities: $498
- Fort Myers-All German Cities: $518
As with other carriers, LTU's fares come down after Nov. 1. Their winter fares include:
- Miami and Orlando-Dusseldorf: $398
- Miami and Orlando-Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin: $418
- Fort Myers-Dusseldorf: $418
- Fort Myers-Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin: $468
To get these fares, call 305/932-1595 or go online to www.ltu.com. While most fares online and on the phone are the same, the lowest fares for longer stays (a month or more) may be available on the phone, not over the Internet.
Dorfing Around Western Germany
You'll be forgiven if you don't know much about Dusseldorf, more famous as a business center than a tourist hub. Dusseldorf is the capital city in the Rhineland, a part of western Germany studded with historic towns. Dusseldorf is a rail hub, so it's easy enough to get to historic cities within a few hours. Worms and Trier are three hours away each. Historic Cologne is only 45 minutes away, and even Berlin is a mere four hours by fast train.
For more on Dusseldorf attractions, see our online guide in our Destinations section.