Here at Flynous, we are always on the lookout for the cheapest flights for you. We help travellers from across Europe to find the best deals on the market, as soon as they show up. With dozens of great finds every week, we strive to help everyone find a trip that’s perfect for them. We know that many of you may have somewhere special in mind. You can find yourself waiting for a post from your nearby airport to that dream destination. But what if you don’t have to wait for a deal from your airport to fly away? Well, then you should take advantage of a flight deal from elsewhere!
The European connection
Europe has a lot of airports, yet some have a disproportionate amount of offers and sales than others. You could wait six months for a discounted route from Amsterdam that you want only for the dates of availability not to work out.
Meanwhile, in that time, London may get cheap flights coming up three or four times with booking conditions that suit you perfectly. Sadly, with airline sales, there is rarely any rhyme or reason to include or exclude airports from promotions. So instead, make your own rules and fly out from London anyway!
Some deals that we find are for costs well below market averages. In 2019/20 we regularly found *return* flights from Spain to the USA under €200, with some going for as little as €121! If you are based elsewhere in Europe, getting to the U.S. for under €300 may not be possible.
Taking a continental journey for under €100 to/from Barcelona before and after flying out to New York could work out cheaper than flying to the Big Apple from your local airport. Plus you can stay in a world-class city like Barcelona! And that’s only one example!
As with all cheap flight finding, a valuable tool you can have for the lowest price is flexibility. When you take advantage of a flight deal from elsewhere, such as an airport that’s not close to you, flexibility is vital. You will need to travel an extra one or two hops on top of the flights mentioned in a deal.
This can be seen as a negative. But, you can also view this as turning your trip into a multi-city break for a low-low price. It’s not impossible if you have set dates, but you may need to extend or trim a day or two at the start or end of your trip to accommodate your extra departure.
Don’t limit yourself to thinking solely of flights for these ‘non-local city’ deals. Compared to other continents, Europe is incredibly well connected, and you can travel for very little by road or rail too! If you are in Milan and you see a hot Air France deal from Lyon, those savings will be wiped out by taking a flight. Even if you found a budget flight, you may still be stuck with baggage fees that cost more than your ticket!
Instead, check out what prices are for a bus or train journey. At the time of writing, a bus is available from Milan to Lyon for €11.99 each way while a flight is €69. The benefit of a bus or train is that checked luggage will be included in the price.
Another transport method that includes bags is to travel by car. When travelling as a group or family, the fuel cost is for the entire party and not per-person. If you are driving, then you also have the benefit of being able to spend as little or as long in the departure city as you would like.
Get there days before the departure flight and enjoy being a tourist before your trip. Or aim to arrive a few hours before your scheduled departure. You can then rest from the long drive by sleeping on the plane!
If you are flying to take advantage of a flight deal from elsewhere, an alternative option is to treat your extra city as a self-transfer layover. This means you would fly from your local airport to the departure airport of the flight deal. This option comes with a risk if your first flight gets delayed as you could miss the second flight.
To mitigate this, it’s good practice to have several hours between your landing time and your departure time. As you would be travelling on multiple tickets, the airlines have no obligation to wait or re-book you if you miss your flight due to a delay. If you’re happy that you have enough time between flights, even with a delay, read on.
Check-in as usual at your ‘home’ airport, remembering your first ticket is to the ‘departure’ airport, not to your final destination. You would then arrive, and if you have any checked bags, you’d need to pick these up from the carousel. Afterwards, head to the check-in/bag drop desk and check your luggage onto the next flight.
Your trip will continue as if you had just arrived at your regular local airport. If you don’t have any bags, and you’ve checked-in online, you can instead follow the ‘Transfer’ signs in the terminal. Look out for the departure gate and terminal for your next flight. If you’re unsure, ask at an information counter for advice. On your return leg, you follow the same steps at the same airport.
Found a deal with a layover in your home city? Use Throwaway tickets!
Flight prices can be a strange thing to understand. Because airlines don’t charge per mile, you can sometimes find that a deal departs elsewhere and transfers through your local airport. For example, you may live near London and see a flight from Manchester to Vancouver via London Heathrow. The same journey from Heathrow to Vancouver may cost hundreds of pounds more even though it’s travelling the same transatlantic route with fewer domestic miles.
There is a method which allows you to benefit from the lower price but not flying the entire journey called throwaway ticketing. In our example, you would need still to get to Manchester to board your flight to Vancouver. But on your return journey, you don’t transfer at Heathrow. Instead, you would leave the airport and ‘throwaway’ your ticket from London to Manchester.
If you miss any leg of a booking, airlines automatically cancel the rest of the trip. As the skipped segment is your last, this won’t affect you. This technique works best when travelling with hand luggage only. It is possible to ask at check-in to ‘short-check’ your bag. This lets you claim it at the layover city (London, in this example).
Airline rules vary for this request as they are aware of this trick. It is perfectly legal but not encouraged by airlines. They know frequent travellers can take advantage of a flight deal from elsewhere. However, people can have perfectly valid reasons to request this. Meeting friends at the airport with gifts, picking up an item that can’t go in hand luggage, or changing into a suit for a business meeting, for example.
Extra costs and considerations
If you’re reading this, then chances are you are already looking for the cheapest way to fly. When you take advantage of a flight deal from elsewhere, you can save you a lot of money, but there are additional expenses to consider. The obvious cost is getting to the other city. This could be a plane/train/bus ticket, or fuel and/or car hire charges.
Remember to check the price of luggage if you are planning to fly, especially when booking with a budget airline. If you’re staying over in the departure city, then you will need to pay for accommodation too. If your accommodation isn’t nearby to the airport, then you need to factor in the price to travel there also.
Despite these extra charges, you can still save a lot of money if you choose to fly from another city! So next time you see a deal to somewhere you’d like to go, or a price so low you can’t ignore it, but the departure city isn’t your closest airport, don’t rule out the trip!
Check the information in this post and see how feasible it would be to get to the departure airport. You could unexpectedly find yourself flying on the trip of a lifetime for a lot less than you’d think. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page if you make use of this – we’d love to hear your success stories!