International airline tickets are priced much differently than their domestic counterparts. They tend to have four or five distinct travel departure windows throughout the year that can vary in price dramatically.
As you might suspect the pricing is based on demand and the seasonal calendar (summer, fall, winter, spring) – with summer being the most sought after (most expensive) and fall being less sought after and thus cheaper.
Certainly historical weather patterns play an important role in demand for airline tickets to Europe, but other factors are at play including families having the time to travel for a few weeks, college students heading out on their first grand adventure and thousands of organizations both big and small across the country planning specialty trips across the pond to sample the culture, enjoy the food and checkout history you just can’t find in the “new world”.
Current trends in the volatile world of airline ticket pricing are an important factor in finding a good deal and recently I wrote an analysis on how summer air travel to Europe seat prices are changing, which is worth a quick look (yes prices are high but trending slightly down but up off their decade lows last year) .
Let me also suggest that you follow some basic cheapskate air travel shopping tips which while not earth shattering are certainly a good foundation for making better ticket buying decisions especially for expensive international coach seats.
One of the best tips specifically for Europe travelers is to pick your departure dates that the “cheaper edges” of those seasonal price breaks.
This is where our huge database of worldwide current and historical ticket prices comes in handy — take a look at this chart which shows the average cheapest nonstop roundtrip prices on the most popular trans-Atlantic airlines (based on week of departure, purchased today):
The chart clearly shows that those departures in very late August are when hefty summer ticket price points drop (usually by several hundred dollars). Also note the next price drop in mid-October.
This means that a person leaving one day after another is paying hundreds less – the important thing is to pick those dates properly which means you have to be flexible (yes that is always tip #1 in finding a great airline ticket deal).
A quick way to see price drops on your favorite route is to simply use the search box on the FareCompare.com homepage.
We fill in the cheapest possible price on all the airlines that file airfares on that route for each day in the drop down calendar making it easy to see exactly which days are potentially the cheapest travel as well as showing you seasonal boundary price break points (just type in your city pair and click in the departure date box):
Don’t forget that the Euro is down 20% compared to last year and hotels are still struggling in Europe — so even though airline tickets are up, your total trip cost could be comparable to last years bargains.