Flight to Spain - what would you do?

Jan 8th, 2003, 09:18 AM
  #1  
Meredith
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Flight to Spain - what would you do?

We're in the early stages of planning our honeymoon to Barcelona and Mallorca in September, and we're not sure what to do about flights. Here's the thing - we have enough USAir frequent flier miles to get us over there, but USAir flies to Madrid, not Barcelona. (And my heart is really set on going to Barcelona!)

Current prices from U.S. east coast cities to Barcelona on other airlines are around $1,200, but I'm sure those prices would drop as we get closer to our departure date. Normally, I wouldn't mind playing the waiting game or being spontaneous. But since this is our honeymoon, I really want to nail down our flights (and, consequently, all our hotel reservations).

So here are my questions: If I don't use the frequent flier miles, roughly how much do you think a flight from the east coast to Barcelona in September would cost me? How long should I wait to make flight reservations? And is it even worth it to consider using our FF miles, since we'd still have to spend money (and precious time!) on flights between Madrid and Barcelona?

I'd love to hear any advice. Thank you!

Meredith
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 11:00 AM
  #2  
Rex
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A lot depends on whether you can afford to buy the tickets with "real money" and keep the FF miles "in the bank" for some future need. FF miles can be much more valuable when you have to fly to Omaha on short(er) notice. Not nearly as good for Europe (still peak mileage requirement in September), especially since you have months to plan.

If you're having trouble finding good fares to Barcelona, don't overlook London or Brussels (and maybe others); there are very cheap flights to spain from both cities.

Check out www.affordablepoland.com also (not just for Poland).

Whatever your decision, congratulations on your new life in marriage.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 11:04 AM
  #3  
xxx
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What about using FF miles for RT to Madrid and looking for inexpensive MAD-BCN-MAD flights? Or train in Spain?
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 11:38 AM
  #4  
canuck
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That is exactly our dilemna..Air Canada only goes to Madrid and we want to start in Barcelona..and we're going in September as well! Are you staying in Barcelona the whole time? I was going to end up in Marbella area and want to check to see if the airline flies thru Madrid to Marbella or Malaga and perhaps flip my trip...I'm going to sit with our travel agent and try and get some options but will watch with interest to the responses here. P.S. I'm going from Toronto.
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 12:04 PM
  #5  
Leslie
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Spain has 3 airlines - Iberia, Air Europa and Spannair. You should check each of those websites, as the three airlines fly between Madrid and Barcelona. You can frequently find tickets in the range of 80 to 150 Euro roundtrip. You can check each of the websites online. My research leads me to believe that the flight schedules either don't change or change minutely, as the Madrid-Barcelona route is also a commuter route for businessmen. Just an FYI, most of these small airlines don't let you book flights more than 6 months from the date of departure. Each of the websites does have a feature to change the language from Spanish to English.

Your other option is to take either a day train or a sleeper train between Madrid and Barcelona.

If you are departing from NYC, Delta Airlines services both Madrid and Barcelona. I may be mistaken, but I believe that the flight departs from NYC to Madrid and then continues onto Barcelona. However, I do know that on the return that the flight number is the same from Barcelona to NYC, and you fly via Madrid. There is approximately a 2 hour layover at Barajas Airport in Madrid before departing for NYC.
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 03:26 PM
  #6  
Christina
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I just came back from spain and I took a flight from Dallas to Paris, Paris to Bareclona and then Barcelona to Madrid. I was not impressed with the airport in Madrid. You can use any major gateway city to Barcelona. There are direct flights from NY to Barcelona. The flight from Barcelona to Madrid was only $120 per person so if you fly into Madrid its not that expensive to get to Barcelona. Just be prepared to be very annoyed with Barcelona and Madrid on getting your luggage back and getting through security.
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 05:07 PM
  #7  
up
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up, for Meredith
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 05:45 AM
  #8  
bobbie
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If you choose Iberia get ready for a "thrilling" flight...long story and if anyone is interested in hearing it will share...has to do with the Madrid-Zurich service which I have used several times, but the first time was the real "thriller".
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 08:09 AM
  #9  
Meredith
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Thanks for the replies, everyone! I think we are going to wait it out a bit to see if ticket prices go down at all. As Rex mentioned, the issue is how much we're willing to pay for regular tickets, if we decide to hold onto our FF miles.

If we can get regular tickets to Barcelona for about $600 or less, we'll probably do that. Do you think that price is possible for September?

Otherwise, we'll use the FF miles to Madrid and pay for the rest of our travel. According to Travelocity, tickets from Madrid to Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona and back to Madrid around about $90 for each leg. So we could do that, or we could buy round-trip tickets between Madrid and Barcelona and between Barcelona and Palma. (Anyone else confused yet? I sure am!!)

OK, one final question. Anyone know if Iberia, Air Europa or Spanair have toll-free phone numbers from the United States? I couldn't find any on their websites. Thanks again!

 
Jan 9th, 2003, 08:26 AM
  #10  
Sam
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On US Air site it is possible to book flights to BCN, probbaly on a code share. Why can't you book to BCN?
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 08:37 AM
  #11  
Meredith
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A USAir rep told me I could book a ticket to Barcelona through them, but I'd have to switch from a USAir flight to one of their partners in Madrid. And my FF miles would only cover me as long as I was on a USAir flight. After that, I'd have to pay.
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 09:23 AM
  #12  
Bobbi
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Perhaps if you used your FQTV miles to London and picked up one of the low cost carriers from there?

Good Luck,

Bobbi
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 06:35 PM
  #13  
Marcia
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Just did some of this. Madrid airport is a little funky, but we had no problems there.

Train to Barcelona from Madrid is about half the cost of air (in tourist class), and we enjoyed the scenery, but it is a long haul - 7 hours, plus the hour you need to get to Chamartin Station from the airport by Metro. The Metro connection to central Madrid is great, and a real bargain at 1,10 Euro - it's just long. It worked fine for us. We just did a 3 week trip in Spain, with a week in Barcelona, air to Granada, train to Sevilla and one day train trips to Jerez and Cordoba and then AVE train to Madrid. The train was very very relaxing, even the long ride to Barcelona.

So, don't have a solution for you - but do have a "heads up" warning. If you decide to try to do the London round trip and then book cheap flights out of London - beware! Many of the bare bones flights from London to the continent, which are real deals, do NOT fly from Gatwick or Heathrow. You will have to transfer to Stanstead which is almost 2 hours by bus from central London. There may be direct bus shuttles from Gatwick or Heathrow to Stanstead, but I'd be very certain of this before booking.
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 07:08 PM
  #14  
Vita
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Personally, I think I'd just schedule some time in Madrid, but that's just me.

Seriously though, I think I'd look into the time and cost for a train from Madrid to Barcelona. Then weigh the time and cost and see if the extra hassle is worth it too you. The flight to Barcelona may not be much more convenient depending on your connections. If the miles don't expire and you think you'll use them again, it's your honeymoon. Enjoy it. I'm sure the prices will go down.
 
Jan 10th, 2003, 12:51 PM
  #15  
J.D.
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I just bought these tickets.

We were going to Mallorca first, then to BCN. So I bought a R/T on British Airways from IAD (my airport) to LHR. Then I got a ticket from bmi (British Midland) to Mallorca. We figure we'll take some sort of ferry or boat over to BCN.

Based on my recent research, I'd suggest trying Expedia and Travelocity first, then start fiddling with the reservations by going to the individual airline sites.

I'd save your USAirways miles and use them through United (codeshare partner) to go to HAWAII instead - 1st class baby!
 
Jan 11th, 2003, 01:24 AM
  #16  
Andre
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Meredith,

USAir flies into London Gatwick South Terminal. From there you can fly EasyJet to Barcelona. No change of airports or even terminals!

However you will have to go through immigration, pick up your luggage and check in for your EasyJet flight in London, so schedule about 2.5-3 hours connection time to be on the safe side - EasyJet check in closes 30 min. before departure.

Not as convenient as a nonstop, direct or connecting flight on a single carrier, but definitely the cheapest option.

Hope this helps,
Andre
 
Jan 16th, 2003, 01:50 PM
  #17  
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Try looking at Bestfares.com I just got a companion fare deal so the two of us are going in March for about $750 RT on Lufthansa. It says $295 from Chicago to Madrid or Barcelona but with the tax and all... also, it was showing $560 for each of us on the Lufthansa website
 
Jan 23rd, 2003, 05:22 PM
  #18  
karolina
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Hate to say it, but me too! We have enough FF miles on USAirways for two tickets to Europe. We originally wanted to honeymoon on the Amalfi coast. The problem that has yet to be mentioned in this thread is that USAirways only flies to 8 or so cities in Europe and it's virtually impossible to get seats. Our honeymoon isn't until October and when I called in December to make reservations to Rome they pretty much laughed at me. Apparently people know exactly how many days in advance the FF seats are released and call before midnight the day before and keep the rep on the phone until the stroke of midnight. There wasn't anything to Rome, nothing to London. So we ended up booking seats to Madrid, thinking we'll pay for wherever we want to go from there. I really had my heart set on Capri, but I don't know if that's really doable. I was actually doing some research on the topic when I happened across this thread. Are there resorts on the coast of Spain that are comprable to those on the Amalfi Coast?
 

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