If You Want to Fly to Europe for Cheap, Now's Your Time

Summer's trendiest destination is looking surprisingly affordable, a Going expert explains.

If you spent any significant amount of time scrolling on TikTok or Instagram this summer, odds are you saw at least a few people posting about their European adventures. Whether that meant sipping an Aperol spritz on the overcrowded shores of Positano or eating paella on the bustling seaside streets of Barcelona, a European summer was something of a social status symbol this year. It was also a financial status symbol—flights to the continent were exorbitantly expensive. But as all of those tagged locations showed, there were plenty of people willing to pay.

Andrew Hinkley from Going (formerly Scott's Cheap Flights) describes the current level of demand for Euro flights like this: "For three years, there's been a worldwide ice cream shortage. No salted caramel since 2020. And when it finally becomes available again, there's only a limited amount. Would you be willing to pay considerably more than the last time you had a cone? Now switch 'ice cream' with 'trips to Europe,'" Hinkley said.

But as the Going representative explains, the novelty of the return starts to wear off after a while. Hinkley continues with the ice cream analogy: "Would you be as willing to overpay for your second ice cream cone? Your fifth? Your tenth?" Thinking about it, no you most likely wouldn't. That becomes doubly true for a trip. How many times would you be willing to overpay for an overcrowded experience that you've seen play out through the lens of someone else's camera a million times on social media?

I'd be willing to guess not even once. Certainly not twice. Fortunately, for those of you who still harbor hope to see art in France or sip wine in Italy, airlines know that you won't be willing to keep paying sky high prices for your European airfare.

There's also an increased number of seats available as airlines continue to expand service to European destinations, which has also driven the prices down. Hinkley pointed out that, according to Cirium Diio Mi data, the number of seats available between the US and Europe is up 14% over the next three months when compared to last summer, led by carriers like United and Delta. The increased supply and softening demand means a deal for you.

"Airfare has fallen 11 of the past 14 months. Average airfare today is 27% cheaper than its May 2022 peak. Outside the pandemic, the last time airfare was as cheap as it is today: December 2006 (and that's not even adjusting for inflation!)," Going's expert continued.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Airline Fares in U.S. City Average [CUSR0000SETG01], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUSR0000SETG01, September 5, 202
Federal data shows that the average flight price is on decline for US travelers right now. | Courtesy of FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

With this information, Going has flagged prices to its membership that are gobsmackingly cheap, compared to prices we’ve seen earlier this year. Flights Paris for $230, Dublin for $267, Barcelona for $282, and London for $310. Most of these cheap prices are for fall and winter travel, but some can be found at these low prices for summer 2024 travel.

You can check out Going's flight deals over on its website and check out other ways to save, including Google Flights' latest updates, the best travel deals of the moment, and details on how to book cheap flights during "shoulder seasons" over on Thrillist.

Looking for more travel deals?

Here's our running list of all the cheap travel deals you can book right now, and you can head here for all the latest flight deals plus cheap things to do and savings on hotels, cruises, trains, and more to help you plan for your next trip.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.