We Found $1 Flights to Europe. But There’s a Catch

Déjà vu time: Last year, I wrote about finding impossibly cheap $75 deals to Europe but during the past couple of days, I had no trouble whatsoever finding fares for $1.

That’s right, fares for Newark-London in February on two major U.S. airlines for one dollar round-trip. There’s a catch, of course: $1 was the base fare. The total price of the airline ticket – $681.86 – included hundreds in taxes and fees.

LISTEN: Rick says super-deals are out there. He tells you where.

$1 Flights to Europe + Taxes and Fees

The one buck fares were found on Delta and American Airlines. What follows is American’s Newark/London fare breakdown (found Jan. 19) for a Feb.16-26 itinerary; Delta’s breakdown was identical.

$1 Fare Breakdown
$1 Fare Breakdown

Fuel Prices Down but Surcharges Remain

The largest amount of the ticket goes for “carrier-imposed fees” ($458) which has always meant the fuel charge. So airlines (some, anyway) continue to add fuel surcharges despite the fact that the price of oil has dropped below $30 per barrel (as of Jan. 19).

Why Airfare Prices Haven’t Dropped

As USA Today notes, airlines are expected to report “record-breaking profits” later this month partly because of the low cost of fuel. So why were fares a little more than 1% higher this Jan. 1 compared to last Jan. 1? Even though oil fell about $20 during that period? Because airlines don’t have to drop prices; the supply of seats is limited and demand remains good.

Do Real Airfare Deals Still Exist? Yes

You can still find great fares; our Deals Blog is loaded with them including Wow Air’s recent sensational fares to Paris for under $300 round-trip. You may not find dollar deals but you can still find good deals.

We have a bunch of tips in our recent post on finding affordable fares even when you’re broke but here are two of the most important rules:

  • Always compare airfares: No single airline always has the best price.
  • Let the deals come to you: It’s simple to set airfare alerts and allows you to see deals to favorite destinations the instant they’re available.

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Updated: January 28, 2016