I haven’t booked a flight from Europe-SF or SF-Europe for over $250, ever.
- Knowing the budget airlines that run these long-haul routes
- Knowing the key cities to search from.
- Using the best search engine.
This article focuses specifically on flying from the Bay Area to Europe.
1) The Best Airlines to Use:
- LEVEL – Fly direct from Barcelona to Oakland 2x per week starting at $179 one/way
- Norwegian Air – Norwegian has a great feature on their site called “Destinations” where you can see a breakdown of monthly prices from one airport (San Francisco/Oakland) to all destinations in Europe.
- WOW Airlines (San Francisco to Reykjavik from $129 and to many destinations across Europe for cheap… plus the optional, extended layover in Iceland!)
- Thomas Cook (Manchester, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Paris, Oslo, Belfast City, Southampton, Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow to San Francisco all under 200pounds.)
- French Bee (formerly French Blue) just began a new route between San Francisco and Paris Orly beginning at $189 one/way.
2) The Best Cities to Fly in/out of
- Manchester (on Thomas Cook)
- Barcelona (LEVEL)
- Paris (French Bee)
- Oslo/Stockholm/Copenhagen (Norwegian)
3) Best Flight Search
A combination of Google (using their map feature) and Skyscanner (Use ‘Everywhere Search‘ if you’re flexible) will always find you the best deals.
Click here to download the Skyscanner App and Search on the Go
full disclosure: I work as a freelance writer and ambassador for Skyscanner (but only because I think they’re awesome).