There’s a thread on FlyerTalk that has gotten surprisingly little attention. Everyone jumps around like crazy when they find $500 fares to Europe from New York. Big deal. You’re still overpaying in my mind. But finding fares under $800 from Seattle or San Francisco? That happens, but it’s not common. Finding those fares pretty much defines when and where I go to Europe each year.
Right now you can go from Seattle, San Francisco, or San Diego to any of several less major destinations in Europe for roughly $700-750 round trip. By “less major” I mean you can go to Prague, Genoa, Copenhagen, Lyon, or Venice, but you can’t go to Paris or London. See the thread for more information on specific cities. These fares originally started getting noticed for travel out of Dallas, where they were in the $500 range, but I haven’t tried very hard to replicate that.
The basic trick here is that these are partial automatic fuel dumps. The fuel surcharge should be in in the $400 range, but instead it’s only $264 in the example above, so you’re saving about $200 per ticket. This is happening for some reason only on tickets that connect through Canada. The great thing is that you don’t have to go through the great white tomb some others call Toronto Pearson International. Flying Seattle to Copenhagen, for example, you can connect in Vancouver and Frankfurt. These are all LH-marketed with LH flight numbers. See an example itinerary below.
It’s amazing that this fare is so prevalent, even as far out as May. I’d expect cheap fares in the middle of winter, but not after things start warming up. I held off on sharing this until later this evening to avoid rocking the boat too much, but since the fare is still available as I write this, I hope it remains available for you, too. You’ll probably need to book on a third-party like Expedia. Multi-city search will be your friend to force the connections in Canada. If you have any doubts, book now while it’s available and cancel later within 24 hours if you decide you can’t make it work.
Edit: A reader asked elsewhere why I called YYZ the “Great White Tomb.” No offense intended, just some gentle teasing. My reply:
My first trip trough there many years ago, I had a 5-6 hour layover with nothing to do. I remember a lot of white floors, white ceilings, white frosted glass, and in the few areas I could see out, there were grey and white clouds. Several areas were blocked off, so I really only had access to about 6 gates. A nice airport, but from my perspective about as boring as possible.