European Airline Travel

Recently I needed to buy some airline tickets online for getting to the Greek islands from eastern europe, and I’d just like to list my findings of good european travel sites here in case you are in need of the same.

First of all you should know that there is a distinction between the standard airlines (e.g. Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, KLM, etc.) and budget airlines (e.g. Ryanair, easyJet, SkyEurope, etc.).

For the standard airlines, there are two main websites: Odopo, which was created by a consortium of european airlines much like Orbitz was in the US, and ebookers. For the particular route that I was looking for (Belgrade to Thira/Santorini) ebookers did not offer flights from Belgrade. Odopo gave a price of $342 for an Olympic Airlines flight (and $256 for another JAT flight). And a third lesser known site, Airvalues.com, gave an even higher price of $361.

So I checked Kayak.com, which is a great aggregator although sometimes not all that reliable, and they returned a price of $300 for the Olympic Airlines flight. Kayak’s directions were to book directly through Olympic Airlines. I had however previously checked Olympic Airlines for a flight from Belgrade, and they did not allow Belgrade to be chosen as a departure city. I could however pick a round trip from Thira to Belgrade and see that Olympic Airlines did offer a flight from Belgrade to Thira. For $200! Since I couldn’t book this flight online I called the Olympic Airlines reservation office and they gave me a price of $280. I knew there had to be a way around this. I had to hack the reservations system a little to book the ticket online.

For budget airlines, I found that Skyscanner is the best website to determine if low fare airlines service your departures and destinations.

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