After record-breaking prices, flights to Europe are getting less expensive
The recent dip in airfare we are experiencing is about to cross the pond. According to the Wall Street Journal, those record-setting prices people paid to travel to Europe over the last year are simmering down thanks to moves from airlines. “Everybody really wanted to go to Europe this past summer and pretty much everybody did,” says Kyle Potter of Thrifty Traveler. “And they paid a lot to do it.” So what’s changing to bring down costs? More flights are being scheduled over the spring and summer months, the Journal notes, and new nonstop routes will also be added between more US airports and European destinations by airlines like United, Lufthansa, and JetBlue.
Some destinations are seeing costs drop to pre-pandemic levels, with searches for flights to Dublin, Rome, Paris, and Amsterdam yielding deals at or under $500 in early March. Right now, the average cost of a roundtrip flight to Europe is about $655, but ticket prices to popular destinations (especially in southern Europe) can still creep up—flights to Athens, Madrid, and Lisbon were about 20% higher than last year. With the Olympics being held in Paris this summer, factoring where and when to book will also make a difference. Flights to Paris in late July are already upwards of $1,000, and since it’s a travel hub for other European destinations, Yale economist Kevin Williams says “further-flung” destinations will be trickier to reach. “That is going to be a more expensive ticket.”
Thrifty Traveler deems October and November “booking season,” due to softer demand, and suggests capitalizing on low ticket prices, especially to Europe, now. “Think of it like a hangover for the airlines after the incredibly busy (and incredibly profitable) summer,” says Gunnar Olson. “As Americans tune out travel before heading into the holidays, airlines are eager to start filling seats through the end of the year and deep into 2024.” But not everyone believes searching for hot summer deals will reflect pricing drops just yet. “Airlines know that travelers booking that far in advance are either anxious or not flexible,” says Hopper’s Hayley Berg. She suggests waiting until March to book summer trips—or as early as January for spring vacations—and to set price alerts. (More air travel news).