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What's the Deal? Look to Unfamiliar Airlines for Deals

Carol Sottili

Don't forget smaller foreign carriers when searching for deals to Europe. Not all offer service out of Washington, but even those that fly out of other hubs often offer codeshare agreements. And some sales are so good that it may be worth it to fly out of New York or Boston.

For example, BMI , just announced a sale from Washington to Brussels, Edinburgh and Glasgow for travel Sept. 3-March 25. The fares aren't dirt cheap - $951 with taxes, for example, to Brussels - but anything less than $1,000 round trip to a destination other than London (usually cheaper) is a good deal.

Other carriers to look at include Scandinavian Airlines, Icelandair, Finnair, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, Swiss International Airlines, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines, Iberia, Eurofly and LTU.

By Carol Sottili |  June 20, 2008; 6:44 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili , Deals , Europe
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A colleague recently went to Paris from Boston on Icelandair for something like $600. He needed to spend a day or two in Reykjavik, but it was still a great value and he said that the layover was a lot of fun.

Posted by: More Cowbell | June 20, 2008 8:41 AM

fyi - on icelandair you can choose to stay over in iceland for no added cost, but you dont have to stay

Posted by: ami | June 20, 2008 10:23 AM

That's cool - now how about recommendations for Asia?

Posted by: Hemisphire | June 20, 2008 10:38 AM

Alitalia is quite possibly the worst airline I've ever flown with regards to customer service. Our flight from LaMezia to Milan was cancelled, and we were lucky to get on another flight 4 hours later that took us to the wrong Milan airport.

When I got back to the States, I attempted to contact their customer service as under EU regulations we were entitled to compensation, only to discover that Alitalia doesn't have stateside customer service. They have a fax number in NYC. No phone, no email, just that fax number and a phone number in Rome.

Posted by: Liz | June 20, 2008 10:44 AM

We flew on Austrian Air last month and were amazed at their customer service. Not only were we served a snack on a 45 minute flight, but when the crew found that several of us might miss our connections due to a late departure, Austrian Air had a vehicle meet us at the plane and take us to the terminal, wisk us through security and got us to the plane with about 5 minutes to spare.

I did write a note of thanks to the airlines. I sure wish I had thought to get the names of those who assisted us.

The second flight was just as good as the first one. Dinner was served with complimentary wine. Nice.

Posted by: peapod | June 20, 2008 11:54 AM

BMI (British Midland) is the airline of my dreams. Or at least it was back in 2002. The blankets were fleece throws rather than the usual crummy airline blankets. They served hot breakfast on the 50 min shuttle from Manchester to Heathrow. The food was infinitely better than my previous flight on either American or United - I had bad experiences with both and will never fly US carriers overseas again. The plane was newish and in beautiful shape. The entertainment selections were vastly better than whichever US carrier and Air Canada had provided (my two previous flights).

I'd fly them again in a heartbeat. So much better than British Airways, which I always end up on for price.

Posted by: MB | June 20, 2008 12:07 PM

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