February 18, 2004 -- $300 fares to Europe usually fade come April. But US Airways is keeping the dream alive with an excellent sale for trips through April 8.
US Airways' fares hold up well against those offered by other carriers. Sales are on right now from American, Delta, United, Northwest and Lufthansa all for roughly the same time frame, but sub-$300 fares are few and far between for these other sales. At US Airways, on the other hand, the $300 mark is no barrier.
The lowest fares are for Monday-Thursday travel; flights on other days are $40 higher. You must buy a week before flying and stay a Saturday night, but no more than 30 days.
Fares under $300 for travel to Europe include:
- Boston-Manchester, UK: $207
- Philadelphia-London: $226
- Boston-Amsterdam: $228
- Pittsburgh-Munich: $255
- Denver-Munich: $276
- Raleigh/Durham-Frankfurt: $290
- Pittsburgh-Madrid: $295
Come on. Often you can't get from Denver to Atlanta for $276, much less Munich.
We were also impressed by US Airways' West Coast fares:
- Los Angeles-Frankfurt: $375
- Los Angeles-Madrid: $398
- San Francisco-Amsterdam: $310
To grab these great fares, go to www.usairways.com/pro/specials/europe_on_sale.htm and buy your tickets by Friday, Feb. 20.
Make an Open Jaw Of It
One of the best ways to see Europe is with an "open jaw" itinerary. These trips leave a gap that you cover by land -- for instance, flying from Boston to Manchester, then from Amsterdam to Boston. The price is usually about the same as a roundtrip; we found the aforementioned Boston-Manchester-Amsterdam-Boston trip on US Airways' site for $326.60 including tax, about the same price as a simple trip to Amsterdam.
You can cover the overland component by rail or air. For some hints on how to find the best European point-to-point rail fares, check out this recent column. Europe has a slew of budget airlines, too, that you can check out at www.flybudget.com. Another intriguing option is the EuropeByAir airpass (www.europebyair.com), which offers a flat $99 fare on a long list of short-hop routes within Europe. Although their fares are higher than budget airlines like Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) and Easyjet (www.easyjet.com), the regional airlines they use may be more convenient and reliable than the big budget carriers.