When we discovered that we’d need to leave Germany ahead of schedule, my first order of business was finding flights home. We ended up flying home on British Airways and American Airlines on a basic economy ticket, though booking the tickets turned out to be an incredibly complicated endeavor.
Thank You American Airlines: Cheap One-Way Ticket From Europe To USA
Our usual preference for a return flight is a non-stop flight from Zurich to Los Angeles on SWISS. During the pandemic, however, SWISS is not operating this service. Flights to San Francisco are operating sporadically, but we needed to leave on Tuesday or Wednesday and the next flight wasn’t until Sunday. Furthermore, my miles are being depleted at an alarming rate.
One option that looked promising was flying KLM from Basel to Los Angeles via Amsterdam. The flight duration was only about 14.5 hours, making it by the far the easiest return option. Mileage seats via FlyingBlue were also available at 29,000 miles and 100EUR each. Still, I kept searching.
Searching for flights on Google Flights, an option on American Airlines caught my eye. It was only 277CHF (about 300USD) for a one-way ticket from Zurich to Los Angeles via London and New York. Yes, the extra stop was annoying. Yes, this was a Basic Economy ticket that would not even earn any elite miles.
But, I liked the idea of $300 tickets and there was upgrade space available. Who knows if I’ll have other uses for my eVIPs (systemwide upgrades) on American Airlines, so this seemed like the perfect flight combination. American now allows upgrades even on Basic Economy (“B” fare) tickets.
Booking it, however, was not so easy. I’m going to lay out the trials and travails of booking this ticket in a future post, but just note that American Airlines was of no use at all. This was a point of sale issue, AA’s Swiss and British websites errored out, and I ended up having to book the ticket through Expedia’s UK site. By the way, I tried to pay a bit more to earn elite miles, but AA made it impossible. Their loss on what turned out to be empty flights…
And then the infant ticket turned out to be a nightmare among nightmares, which requires another extended post of its own.
We made it back it one piece, despite two stops. Quite honestly, the itinerary was much better than it looks because we were able to leave mid-day on both days and did not feel rushed. My point is to alert you to check out American or British Airways for cheap one-way fares from Europe. We could have traveled nonstop from London to Los Angeles even cheaper on BA (about $225), but no upgrade (or baggage allowance). There are some great deals out there right now if you are traveling light.
image: American Airlines