Travel Log: Cheap Flights to Europe? There aren’t any

June 8, 2011

I’m a consumer trying to save money like everyone else so when I was cruising the Internet recently and found a site titled Cheap Flights to Europe, I logged on immediately.

The promise that caught my eye was a $680 flight to Europe.

As I have a wife and two children and will be flying to France this summer, I did the multiplication in my head. Four times $680 is $2720.

If you are a frequent transatlantic flyer as I am then you know this is a price so good that it is frankly too good to be true.

I plugged in my information – two adults, two children – one 12 one 10 – dates of travel (we’re going in August) – Boston to DeGaulle to Nice and back.

It took about 30 seconds or so and then the answer came up on the site: I could have those four tickets for only $1350 each.

I did the multiplication in my head.

The true figures for the cost of the tickets I need is $5400 not $2720.

And I don’t believe the $5400 figure includes fees and taxes.

So much for the cheap flights I was hoping for.

So what about the cheap flights offered?

Where are they?

How do I find them?

Or do I just forget about them because they frankly don’t exist?

My wife, who is British, constantly reminds me that in America, the price listed for the service is simply not the price one pays in the end.

In England, and in most of Europe, if the price for an item for sale is listed at 288 Euros, that is exactly what you will pay – 288 Euros. Buy a washing machine, a television, even an automobile and the price is as listed.

Two weeks ago, I saw on the Internet that I could lease a brand new VW Jetta station wagon for $179 a month.

I went directly to the dealership offering this lease at that price, sat with a salesman (he was nice enough) who told me he’d work up a final price for me based on the trade in value of my automobile and my credit score (which isn’t the best).

The following day I got a call from the salesman/

“I’ve got your price for the lease,” he told me.

I eagerly awaited his next comment.

“The monthly payment will be $380,” he said. “How’s that sound?”

I told him it sounded as bad as the prices for cheap airline tickets I was hoping to buy.

Anyway, I’ve been told by airline officials that the longer I wait to make my reservations to go to Europe, the more the tickets are going to cost.

As one airline official said to me: “We have fewer flights now to Europe compared with years past. We don’t fly with vacant seats anymore to the extent that we used to. That $1350 ticket to Paris and then to Nice will probably cost $1500 in another month – and sooner than you think – the $1350 price you recently turned down will sound much cheaper to you than $1500.”