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Old 06.03.2012, 09:51
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Getting to the US and back this summer

Hi guys!

I need to get my family (me, wife, two teenagers) from Zürich to Denver around the 27th of July, then get back to Zürich from (preferably) Atlanta around the 17th of August. I haven't flown to the US for about 10 years now, so I'm a little rusty on finding deals.

I'm not expecting to get there for free, but I was unpleasantly surprised when I started checking the price comparison sites. So far the best I've found has been in the 1500 CHF range, per person - round trip to either Denver or Atlanta. (Not much difference, really ... ) Any attempt to work the open jaws thing came out at horrendous levels. The whole thing seems awful steep.

Apropos of the open jaw thing: One-way tickets still seem cost MORE than round trip tickets do. I though THAT sort of lunacy was a thing of the past ... Or am I looking wrong?

Am I missing something? Would it make sense to keep on waiting for a something last minute, or will the prices just get higher?

Mike
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:14
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Try sky scanner and kayak. Some airlines charge a premium for one way tickets so these sites get around this for you and give you best combinations available.
I don't thnk it's better to wait as in my experience the prices go up nearer departure date.
Hope that helps.
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:21
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

I quickly checked for an open jaw ZRH-DEN + ATL-ZRH and I also get about 1500usd.

Even on return flights ZRH-DEN-ZRH or ZRH-ATL-ZRH (normal return, not open jaw or anything fancy like that), I come to more or less the same prices ~1500usd...

Search engines I am using are:
skyscanner.com
momondo.com
lastminute.com
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:25
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

One way tickets cross atlantic are much more expensive than return - that's normal.

I'm going to the US (philly) at the end of August and its about £500 from Basel to London, then London out with BA.

I know mid July is prime time - another reason we are going at the very end of August but you can try getting a cheap flight (i.e. easyjet, etc) to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and then pick up the major airline from there. You will need to make sure you arrive at the same airport as you are leaving from - or know how to transfer and any extra costs that incurs. Also, the major airline will give you a baggage allowance but you'll have to add that in to the budget airline.
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:27
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

For whatever reason, it is much more expensive to do one way
than round trip.
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:37
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Not sure if this will help you, but maybe it will also help to look at the airline websites. I have tried looking with some cheapflight websites and found some that were expensive. The prices change daily. I booked a flight to Canada for about 850chf, the day after it was 750chf and now I have seen the prices around 1200chf. Good luck on finding a flight!
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:43
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

I think it's possible on airline websites to add another return airport, e.g. Zurich -> Denver & Atlanta -> Zurich. That wouldn't count as booking two single flights. It worked with KLM for me.
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Old 06.03.2012, 19:45
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Thanks for your observations, guys.

It sounds like I'm not likely to find a MUCH better deal, though I will keep looking at options for a month or so before making a purchase.

One thing: which sites are good for open-jaws searches? I found my best prices so far on ebookers.ch, but I couldn't see how to open-jaws it.

Mike
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:55
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

I suggest that you sign up for Lufthansa and Swiss' email letter.

For example, last week LH had an up to 35% sale on worldwide flights for a 48hr period (I posted it here on EF). If you are on their list, you will see the offers in time.
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Old 10.03.2012, 19:42
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Quote:
View Post
Thanks for your observations, guys.

It sounds like I'm not likely to find a MUCH better deal, though I will keep looking at options for a month or so before making a purchase.

One thing: which sites are good for open-jaws searches? I found my best prices so far on ebookers.ch, but I couldn't see how to open-jaws it.

Mike
You should split your trip up into two distinct tickets. Get across the atlantic cheaply on Swiss, then fly a US Domestic for a triangle trip while in the states.

I did a quick check, and you can fly Swiss from ZRH-Newark (EWR) for under CHF 700 round trip in July.

From Newark you can use United/Continental (Denver and Newark are hubs for that airline) and fly Newark-Denver-Atlanta-Newark for about USD 500.

Not a huge savings over your original CHF 1500, but it took about 10 minutes of investigating (I used the airline websites -- you may have more success with some of the deal sites others noted).

Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 10.03.2012, 20:17
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Okay.....My wife is from Utah, so I know a bit about doing the Switzerland to western US thing. There are a couple of options to look at and I will list them in order of how successful they have been for me.

1) Buy a round trip fare to an east coast airport such as New York JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington D.C, Boston, (sometimes Atlanta) I have found fares for between 500 and 900 CHF. Once you find decent fare, try using a low cost airline from that airport to Denver like Southwest or JetBlue. Twice I have booked from ZRH to PHL and then used Southwest from PHL. You can often find flights from around 200 CHFs per person once you hit the US if you keep checking. Last summer I got 626 from ZRH to PHL and then 221 from PHL to SLC for a grand total of 847 CHFs. It doesn't always work, but it has been the best option for me.

2) Find Europe hubs that fly direct to Denver like CDG (paris) and Frankfurt (FRA) then you can find a cheap way to get to those places and avoid multiple flight hassles. We took the TGV to Paris and hopped on the non-stop Delta flight from CDG to SLC for under 1000 CHFs.

*If you are going NO MATTER WHAT then I would try option 1 and book a flight to an east coast hub airport if the flights get cheap (under 800 CHFs is a good barometer). Then you can deal with the domestic part later.

**Timing is key to getting good flights. Book too early, and the airline KNOWS you HAVE to go. Book too late and they can gouge you for that. 3 months prior is a good time to find flights. The best times to look are late at night (Eastern Standard time) during the mid week. So looking up flights in Switzerland from 7 am to noon will be the sweet spot.


***A good rule for me has always been to have a low point on price where I will book if it hits that price. This way you have a price where you will "pull the trigger" on when it hits.
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Old 10.03.2012, 21:42
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

My son and I flew from Switzerland to Los Angeles last year for $600 each.

First, we booked a cheap ticket on Easy Jet from Geneva to London. Then, I used Expedia to find a flight from London to LAX. Found a flight with 2 layovers for around $500.

Now, from start to finish it took 26 hours to get from Geneva to Los Angeles with over 10 hours in layovers. But it might be worth it depending on how badly you want to save money. When I did this, I was pregnant, traveling alone with my 2 year old son... so if I can do it, I imagine anyone can.
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Old 10.03.2012, 22:01
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Re: Getting to the US and back this summer

Have you tried booking a Summer holiday to say, Breckenridge- and use the flights but ditch the accommodation part of the deal. (I'd look at UK package deals, then as Jenny says, book EasyJet to departure in UK).

We once did that going to Maui, and it was much cheaper than flights only.
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