Best international multi-city airfare?
January 15, 2006 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Chicago, Paris, Stockholm, Venice, Chicago. What's the best way to book flights for this sort of multi-city route? Orbitz doesn't seem to allow for more than three cities. What's more, I'm not at all certain that an online broker is the way to go for something like this. Any jet-setters who can offer advice would be appreciated!

I'm attending a wedding in Paris, visiting with my parents and extended family in Stockholm and with a friend in Venice. It'd probably be cheaper were I to rearrange the order of the flights a bit, but I'm afraid there's not a lot of wiggle room there.
posted by aladfar to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (16 answers total)
I'd say buy a return from Chicago to Paris, then look for the European flights on carriers such as RyanAir. They tend to fly to airports that are, um, not technically in the cities they claim to be, but there's a direct RyanAir one-way from Beauvais to Skavsta (for Stockholm) or Treviso (for Venice).
posted by holgate at 12:42 PM on January 15, 2006

Response by poster: I've heard that buying a return ticket is cheaper than a one-way. How does one go about doing that?
posted by aladfar at 12:49 PM on January 15, 2006

Alternatively, STA Travel is pretty good at multi-city tickets (with student/young-person discounts), and they're especially good at finding fares where you can adjust the dates and times. You might also look at the SkyTeam Europe Pass, which combines an intercontinental ticket with 3 or more coupons on Air France-KLM and Alitalia among other airlines.
posted by holgate at 12:49 PM on January 15, 2006

I've heard that buying a return ticket is cheaper than a one-way. How does one go about doing that?

Not on discount carriers such as RyanAir or EasyJet.
posted by holgate at 12:51 PM on January 15, 2006

Be warned: it is not possible to buy an RyanAir or EasyJet ticket on the internet with a US credit card while you physically in many European countries. You may be able to buy them at the airport when you get there, I don't know.
posted by fshgrl at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2006

Travelocity lets you do multi-city routes.
posted by MsMolly at 1:06 PM on January 15, 2006

Find a discount travel broker where you can talk to a real person. I have a couple of names I have used in the past with success, if you want to email me - one in New York and the other in Boston. Or look up travel agents in the Chicago yellow pages and talk to a couple.
posted by darsh at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2006

Airtreks worked well for us on our RTW trip. Their price looks about USD$1236.
posted by arruns at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2006

Try Skyscanner for cheap stuff. Wikipedia has a page on cheap Eurpean airlines with links

You could get a Chicago-Paris round trip & use Ryanair to go Paris-Stockholm then Stockholm-London-Venice then Venice-Paris.


You are likely to arrive at Charles de Gaul or Orly and Ryanair fly from Beauvais. 48 miles out of Paris. EUR 150 in a shuttle to CDG.

Getting to Stockholm shouldn't be a problem as they fly to 2 airports there - Skavasta & Vasteras - but both are about 50 miles out of the city.

You'll end up at Treviso airport in Venice which is 'only' 19 miles from the city - EUR 10 return on the bus.

That's the problem with low cost airlines - being a bit out of town. Check this part of your itinerary because you may end up doing a lot of extra travel if you're not careful. The alternative is to try a the major carriers for the country you're flying from or to.

Air France will get you to Stockholm for about $100 and SAS will get you to Venice for about $110. Venice to Paris might be a bit pricey as is Alitalia's way. I had a quick look and it was over $300...
posted by i_cola at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2006

I used a US credit card to buy tickets on Ryanair in 2003, though I did have to pay an extra €5 booking fee.

One thing to keep in mind is that Ryanair might not be the best choice if you absolutely have to be there at a certain time, since they do occasionally cancel flights and don't guarantee connections with other flights. I'm not sure how other carriers compare, though you might want to look at whichbudget if you're thinking of the budget airline route.
posted by komilnefopa at 2:58 PM on January 15, 2006

Visit a travel agent. Not online.
posted by cribcage at 3:41 PM on January 15, 2006

Book it as a Chicago -> Paris, Venice -> Chicago open jaw flight, then with two one-ways, Paris-Stockholm, Stockholm-Venice.
posted by eriko at 3:44 PM on January 15, 2006

I used AirTreks for a set of significantly more complex tickets; give it a whirl.
posted by aramaic at 4:08 PM on January 15, 2006

I was just in Europe in November and flew on SkyEurope, Ryanair and Easyjet, and had absolutely no problems whatsoever with my American-issued Visa debit card - I just booked online, handed them my passport at check-in, got a boarding pass, and got on the plane. As you know, it's probably cheaper flying on a random weekday at an inconvenient time than on a Friday night.

Going from Paris to Beauvais is NOT 150 Euros (maybe in a taxi); more like 15 Euros on the Ryanair bus-shuttle, or maybe 20 euros on a Paris-Beauvais train and then a taxi across Beauvais (which is pretty small) to the airport. Also, if you're going to a wedding, perhaps someone can give you a lift if they're heading back in that direction?

Flying from Paris to Copenhagen, then taking a train to Stockholm over the Oresund bridge/tunnel might save you some money and be almost as quick - just a random thought.

Someone mentioned SkyScanner; I'll mention DoHop, which is very similar and lets you see prices in USD. Also, even though everyone's hootin' and hollerin' about the low-cost airlines, sometimes the majors can swing you a deal, so don't neglect them entirely.

Finally, here's a list of low-cost airlines serving Sweden, which makes sense since you're flying to and from there.

Have a fabulous time.
posted by mdonley at 6:27 PM on January 15, 2006

If you HAVE to have these flights all on one PNR, try out ITA Software (free login required). ITA has been able to build me ridiculously difficult itens that span the world for dirt cheap. Be careful, ITA will do whatever it takes to get you from one city to another, regardless of what is actually possible or wise. It will find a way to get you from Beijing to, say, Buenos Aires, but with a 30 minute connection in LHR, a 12 hour NYC layover flying out of different airports, or a 52 hour total flight time. Also, you will have to go somewhere else to book (it's purely a search engine). It's a great tool if you know what you're doing; I was able to beat the price of an Airtreks quote by a significant percentage (esp. if your dates are set and you don't need flexible tickets).

Otherwise, try out STA (if it is available to you) or work the low-cost angle separate from your transatlantic segments.

It is not always cheaper to buy a return ticket. In fact, many of my "open jawed" tickets (e.g., fly into Barcelona, fly out of Malaga) have been considerably cheaper than a return, since you can cherry-pick the cheapest airport to fly out of (where there may be availability on cheap flights).
posted by soda pop at 9:11 AM on January 16, 2006

I would second AirTreks. I have had nothing but good experiences with them.
posted by jasondigitized at 9:13 AM on January 16, 2006

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