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Europe Travel Thread....


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#1076 Lifesgood

Posted 17 September 2019 - 06:44 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 17 September 2019 - 09:15 AM, said:

You mentioned that you could 'see' the prices but couldn't book them yourself.  I'm assuming you mean you saw those prices on an aggregator website, but couldn't get them via any of the relevant airline websites?
Did I? :unsure: If I saw the prices they were higher than the flatbeds people could get them for.

View Postborn.a.girl, on 17 September 2019 - 05:25 PM, said:

Frequent Flyer Question:


FWIW we have Qantas FF cards with piddling balances (ours go to Virgin).

I have signed up online for Finnair.  If I book tickets with them, is it better to use their FF number that they've given me, or put the Qantas one?

I've no idea how it works with using them, apart from Virgin's with Virgin.
You have to research the conversion rate for points transfer from Finnair to Qantas, compared to the 'earn' rate for Qantas FF points with Finnair and work out which is more valuable for you.

#1077 born.a.girl

Posted 17 September 2019 - 06:58 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 17 September 2019 - 06:44 PM, said:


You have to research the conversion rate for points transfer from Finnair to Qantas, compared to the 'earn' rate for Qantas FF points with Finnair and work out which is more valuable for you.

Ah thankyou, that makes sense.

#1078 eachschoolholidays

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:27 PM

I think you’d be more likely to be able to use qantas points.

ETA Qantas and Finnair are both part of the One World Alliance

Edited by eachschoolholidays, 17 September 2019 - 07:27 PM.


#1079 eachschoolholidays

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:29 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 17 September 2019 - 06:44 PM, said:

Did I? :unsure: If I saw the prices they were higher than the flatbeds people could get them for.
You have to research the conversion rate for points transfer from Finnair to Qantas, compared to the 'earn' rate for Qantas FF points with Finnair and work out which is more valuable for you.
I don’t think you can convert from Finnair to Qantas. You can book qantas flights with Finnair points but you can’t directly transfer them.

#1080 born.a.girl

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:33 PM

View Posteachschoolholidays, on 17 September 2019 - 07:27 PM, said:

I think you’d be more likely to be able to use qantas points.

ETA Qantas and Finnair are both part of the One World Alliance

Yes, that's what it's a bit more attractive flying with Finnair.


Lufthansa's website is appalling.

Loving Finnair's.

#1081 Lifesgood

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:59 PM

Its amazing how much the airline websites vary isn't it? You'd expect them all to have the absolute tippy top standard when it comes to web design but some of them are crap.

#1082 born.a.girl

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:03 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 17 September 2019 - 07:59 PM, said:

Its amazing how much the airline websites vary isn't it? You'd expect them all to have the absolute tippy top standard when it comes to web design but some of them are crap.

Yep.

Lufthansa's asks you to select your flights (from four there, and four back) without telling you how much each one costs, so that's over a dozen different combinations to try, and that's just for one day.


I've just remembered that the flights we'd prefer have a codeshare with Qantas on one major leg each way, so that should help the points.

#1083 eachschoolholidays

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:09 PM

Yes, some airlines’ sites are much better than others.

I mainly just use google flights now. I sometimes use skyscanner or kayak, but google flights does almost everything I want.

#1084 born.a.girl

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:23 PM

I've found the aggregator sites great for getting a feel for who goes where.

Strangely, it's cheaper to go Melbourne - Edinburgh and then Milan to Melbourne, than it is to do a straight London return with Finnair.

I guess part of it would be that ours is a two-stop, with the last leg on the way over from Helsinki to Edinburgh a low cost airline, but I wouldn't have thought that would make $400 difference to the fare.

#1085 born.a.girl

Posted 18 September 2019 - 12:33 PM

Interesting. Google flights only go up to 12th August, whereas Skyscanner is up to the same date in September, as is the Finnair site.

If I waited until the flights we want appear on google flights, they'll be unavailable. They don't last long, I'll have to be quick when they come up.

This feels so weird, all three of our previous long haul trips have been at much shorter notice than this - this years was ten weeks before.

#1086 Lifesgood

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:16 PM

What makes you think the flights will sell out bornagirl?

#1087 born.a.girl

Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:42 AM

View PostLifesgood, on 18 September 2019 - 08:16 PM, said:

What makes you think the flights will sell out bornagirl?

Because I've been watching them each day, and generally within a few days of being available, the flight home we want is no longer available at the 'saver' fares.

It's the ones with leg home from Hong Kong - but with Qantas rather than Cathay pacific.




Moot point, now, anyway, Finnair have increased the return flight prices by $200. Always a bit of a mystery with airfares.

#1088 born.a.girl

Posted 19 September 2019 - 10:16 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 19 September 2019 - 07:42 AM, said:




Moot point, now, anyway, Finnair have increased the return flight prices by $200. Always a bit of a mystery with airfares.

Well that's interesting.  Just cleared my cache, go back to the website and the prices are back to what they were yesterday.

I've always understood the idea that prices can be tailored to your own searching to be a conspiracy theory, and I've seen it dismissed by experts.

Complete co-incidence?  It would have been overnight there, so they may just have been tinkering with their website.

#1089 mayahlb

Posted 19 September 2019 - 11:05 AM

Sigh, we have to look at booking flights soon and it's giving me a total headache. According to google flights it's cheaper to go for a 22 day trip then a 30day trip... even if the flights for that day in a different combination such as the 22 day trip are used. I don't really see much point of going to the UK for only 3 weeks and that includes the travel time.

Also Perth sucks with international flights. It really does. Our options include overnight in Perth and catch a flight at stupid hour in the morning, or hand out for 4 hours at the airport and leave on the international flight at stupid o'clock. I have to wait for a week minimum before I do anything regarding flights anyway due to a work colleague taking long service leave that ends right on when I want to fly out - of course she told me she will be retiring as soon as she "returns" from 6 months long service leave anyway... (I already told my manager I plan to take leave then because otherwise I will be losing my mind). And I need DH to talk to his work about approving leave for that period of time.

Why do I get the impression it's just not going to happen next year?

#1090 MooGuru

Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:22 PM

View Postseayork2002, on 13 September 2019 - 12:46 PM, said:



Oh it is expensive normally! it was our fault for looking this late but they either came back 3600 or just under 3000 with about 600 stops (a slight exaggeration but not by much).

Looks like we are not going back UK in nearly 2 years for the ILs golden anniversary so may turn that into a bit longer break and go to Europe again (if DS can have it off school then)

If you are open to going last minute, I few over there in Dec-Jan a couple of years back. I booked 9 days (I think) beforehand and paid $2100 direct just one stop. 3 months earlier couldn't find anything under $3500 for the same time.

#1091 born.a.girl

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:41 AM

View PostLifesgood, on 18 September 2019 - 08:16 PM, said:

What makes you think the flights will sell out bornagirl?


I'm getting good at this.  Good thing I'm retired, though.

Worked out the mystery of the flights appearing then disappearing quickly.


However, at five o'clock this morning, I suddenly realised a problem in booking direct with Finnair.  I made the mistake last year without thinking, because it was all in A$ and put the cost on my Westpac Visa, and the exchange rate added $300 to the cost. At least we got the points.

I was planning on putting these ones on our 28 degrees card, but of course then we don't get the points, but more importantly, we need to put a fair whack of the trip cost onto the Visa to get the free travel insurance that we partly utilise.

Flatbeds are exactly same price as Finnair for same flights, but of course in A$ I won't have the currency exchange cost. I'd always prefer to book direct with an airline, but that's some saving, and they seem to have great reviews.

Edited by born.a.girl, 20 September 2019 - 08:55 AM.


#1092 Lifesgood

Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:47 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 19 September 2019 - 11:05 AM, said:

Sigh, we have to look at booking flights soon and it's giving me a total headache. According to google flights it's cheaper to go for a 22 day trip then a 30day trip... even if the flights for that day in a different combination such as the 22 day trip are used. I don't really see much point of going to the UK for only 3 weeks and that includes the travel time.

Also Perth sucks with international flights. It really does. Our options include overnight in Perth and catch a flight at stupid hour in the morning, or hand out for 4 hours at the airport and leave on the international flight at stupid o'clock. I have to wait for a week minimum before I do anything regarding flights anyway due to a work colleague taking long service leave that ends right on when I want to fly out - of course she told me she will be retiring as soon as she "returns" from 6 months long service leave anyway... (I already told my manager I plan to take leave then because otherwise I will be losing my mind). And I need DH to talk to his work about approving leave for that period of time.

Why do I get the impression it's just not going to happen next year?
Make it work, its important. If you go for 3 weeks, that's fine. If you can swing more (from a $$ perspective) then do it. Tell your boss you'll make sure your work is covered, put a plan in place to ensure it is.

#1093 Lifesgood

Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:52 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 20 September 2019 - 08:41 AM, said:

I'm getting good at this.  Good thing I'm retired, though.

Worked out the mystery of the flights appearing then disappearing quickly.


However, at five o'clock this morning, I suddenly realised a problem in booking direct with Finnair.  I made the mistake last year without thinking, because it was all in A$ and put the cost on my Westpac Visa, and the exchange rate added $300 to the cost. At least we got the points.

I was planning on putting these ones on our 28 degrees card, but of course then we don't get the points, but more importantly, we need to put a fair whack of the trip cost onto the Visa to get the free travel insurance that we partly utilise.

Flatbeds are exactly same price as Finnair for same flights, but of course in A$ I won't have the currency exchange cost. I'd always prefer to book direct with an airline, but that's some saving, and they seem to have great reviews.
Are you sure about the travel insurance? My credit card doesn't require any of the trip cost to be paid on it to get free insurance (CBA platinum Visa).

And the savings on international transaction fees/FX rate difference can often outweigh the points benefit on your CC.

So you are planning on using Flatbeds for the booking?

#1094 mayahlb

Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:57 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 20 September 2019 - 06:47 PM, said:


Make it work, its important. If you go for 3 weeks, that's fine. If you can swing more (from a $$ perspective) then do it. Tell your boss you'll make sure your work is covered, put a plan in place to ensure it is.

We will go only with a minimum of 4 weeks. We are appallingly lucky and have family who happen to have a house in northern Wales, so accomodation isn’t much of an issue. Well except for my tolerance of MIL for that period of time... it’s more work. Budgets, staffing that barely covers us at the moment, never mind someone being away for 6months and then basically retiring. The other staff are unqualified casuals.

#1095 Lifesgood

Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:57 PM

80 days until our trip :omg:

Kids and DH asked me what I'm most looking forward to and I said 'flying BC' :blush:  (its my 50th birthday gift)

Honestly the rest of the trip is so overwhelmingly exciting as well that I can't think about it sensibly, so I'm just focusing on the flight at the moment.

#1096 MrsCee

Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:14 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 19 September 2019 - 11:05 AM, said:

According to google flights it's cheaper to go for a 22 day trip then a 30day trip... even if the flights for that day in a different combination such as the 22 day trip are used. I don't really see much point of going to the UK for only 3 weeks and that includes the travel time.

We did a 3 week trip this year. Admittedly, it was only the UK and France, but was the right amount of time for us... but we did travel with a 6 and 7 year old though ;)

Edited by MrsCee, 20 September 2019 - 07:15 PM.


#1097 MooGuru

Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:39 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 20 September 2019 - 06:52 PM, said:


Are you sure about the travel insurance? My credit card doesn't require any of the trip cost to be paid on it to get free insurance (CBA platinum Visa).

And the savings on international transaction fees/FX rate difference can often outweigh the points benefit on your CC.

So you are planning on using Flatbeds for the booking?

A few years ago my card's travel insurance required proof of something like 50 or 75% of costs having been paid using it.

Are you sure re CBA platinum? Again this is from a few years ago but they wanted proof of purchase to make a claim.

That was one of the things my travel agent said they'd heard from people saying the terms and conditions can be changed at any time and they don't need to inform anyone so people had been caught out thinking they were covered then discovering they weren't.  *travel agent sells insurance so has advice was taken with a grain of salt.

#1098 born.a.girl

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:29 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 20 September 2019 - 06:57 PM, said:

80 days until our trip :omg:

Kids and DH asked me what I'm most looking forward to and I said 'flying BC' :blush:  (its my 50th birthday gift)

Honestly the rest of the trip is so overwhelmingly exciting as well that I can't think about it sensibly, so I'm just focusing on the flight at the moment.


That's the fantastic thing about BC, you don't dread the getting there and back.

#1099 Lifesgood

Posted 20 September 2019 - 09:52 PM

View PostMooGuru, on 20 September 2019 - 07:39 PM, said:

A few years ago my card's travel insurance required proof of something like 50 or 75% of costs having been paid using it.

Are you sure re CBA platinum? Again this is from a few years ago but they wanted proof of purchase to make a claim.

That was one of the things my travel agent said they'd heard from people saying the terms and conditions can be changed at any time and they don't need to inform anyone so people had been caught out thinking they were covered then discovering they weren't.  *travel agent sells insurance so has advice was taken with a grain of salt.
I'll double check.

View Postborn.a.girl, on 20 September 2019 - 08:29 PM, said:

That's the fantastic thing about BC, you don't dread the getting there and back.
Not only not dreading it, looking forward to it!

#1100 born.a.girl

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:21 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 20 September 2019 - 06:52 PM, said:

Are you sure about the travel insurance? My credit card doesn't require any of the trip cost to be paid on it to get free insurance (CBA platinum Visa).

And the savings on international transaction fees/FX rate difference can often outweigh the points benefit on your CC.

So you are planning on using Flatbeds for the booking?


This is from the Westpac complimentary travel insurance site, in the very fine print:

“trip” means:overseas passage by the cardholder as a paying passenger (not as a pilot, driver, or crew member etc.) in a licensed plane, bus, train or ferry authorised pursuant to any statute, regulation, by-law or the equivalent thereof for the transportation of passengers for hire, provided that before the passage commenced the cost of the passage was charged to the cardholder’s eligible credit card account
Then further down:

You spend at least $A500 on your prepaid travel costs (i.e. your travel costs that you pay for before leaving Australia) and you charge these costs (e.g. cost of your return overseas travel ticket; and/or airport/departure taxes; and/or your prepaid overseas accommodation/travel; and/or your other prepaid overseas itinerary items) to one of your following eligible credit cardsissued by Westpac:

Because I accidentally paid our airfare with the Visa earlier this year I didn't have to think about it, but it's only $500, however it is a requirement.  I use 28 degrees overseas.


I hope to be able to use flatbeds.  I did a search on their website and it came to the same figure as me to the cent. (Obviously not the real return date, which isn't up yet.)

I then sent an email asking what percent they charge for Visa, and got a reply that they didn't charge anything, and asked me for basic details.  I gave them all my info (dates, time of day) and got told approx $6600 to $7200.   (Finnair $5990).   I then got back to her clarifying the specific flights again, and was then told Finnair didn't fly to Edinburgh, 'but they'd get me in via Manchester or London'. Again, I said, no, we're going to Edinburgh, I've actually got the flights just wanted to know if you were cheaper. Then she said that Finnair had seasonal fares so if they were operating over my travel dates they could get me on Finnair the whole way.  Um, I know, I've got all of that information myself.  In the end I felt we were going around in circles and just said I have the airfare, when the appropriate dates are up I'd let them know to see if they could beat it.  That's where I've left it.

If I book through flatbeds the transaction is presumably with them, to an Australian bank.  I will be confirming that, but interested to know what your experience was.

That covers us both for the insurance aspect AND gets us Velocity points, plus the flight gets us Qantas points.

The exchange plus cc fee amounts to $480, so even if that's what it saves, that's worth it.

I'll have to make allowances for the fact that any changes through them cost more than changes direct with the airline, but it's always a cost/benefit juggle.

Edited by born.a.girl, 20 September 2019 - 10:34 PM.





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