FARE WAR

Airfares from the US to Europe are ridiculously cheap right now, but act fast

Obsession
Getting There
Obsession
Getting There

It has gotten even cheaper to fly from the US to Europe this summer, and you can thank airlines’ struggles for that. But you’ll want to act fast.

Roundtrip airfares from US airports to Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and Rome averaged as low as $616 on July 16, the cheapest at any point at least the last three years, according to the airfare-tracker Hopper. But they’re already creeping back up again: The average fare had risen to $642 by Monday (July 18).

The best bargain of the bunch is to Dublin. Roundtrip fares from the US averaged $585 on Monday, up from a low of $524 just before the weekend. Roundtrip fares to Rome averaged $675 on Monday, up $10 from Friday, Hopper said.

Despite the higher prices, fares are still historically low and a third cheaper than last year alone.

You can thank cheap fuel for the bargains, in large part, but airlines wouldn’t be so generous if they weren’t also facing challenges. Carriers had recently added more flights but overestimated demand (paywall). The truck attack in Nice last week (July 14), as well as a failed coup attempt in Turkey less than a month after a deadly attack at Istanbul’s main airport, are putting a damper on summer travel. The surprise outcome of a vote in the UK last month to leave the European Union also has carriers worried about demand.

The result of all this disruption? A fare war, as airlines scramble to fill their planes.

The bargain prices have been a boon for backpackers, but they won’t last forever. Some airlines have said they will cut some flights this year to reduce the slack, though that could also mean higher fares.

But for the time being, it’s a travelers’ market, so now’s the time to plan a trip. While you’re at it, ask your hotel for some free breakfast.

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