Great Economy Class Fares From BA/AA For Europe To Los Angeles

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With a base in LA I’m almost always keeping a close eye on fares from Europe back to California (especially when I start missing the sunshine!) and it looks as if there are some excellent deals available right now from both American Airlines and British Airways. The great fares will require a connection and some will require you to return to a different city to the one you originated in…..but they could save you quite a bit.

The Info You Need To Know

  • Most of the fares originate in Germany but some originate in Dublin
  • The fares vary in price from $396 to around $440 (for roundtrip travel) depending on dates and routing
  • The best fares I’ve noticed are in 2018 but there are still some good deals in 2017.
  • For most of the fares bookings must be made by 15 October 2017.
  • Stopovers are not permitted on most of the fares

The Fares

The cheapest fares appear to be being offered by American Airlines but, as I will show later, some travelers may do better by paying a little more and booking through British Airways.

The ITA Matrix search is the site I used to find these fares….although its worth noting that the fares can be better than the initial search results may show.

For example:

The ITA Matrix shows this for the best fares in May 2018 if booking through American Airlines….

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….but if you dig down into the results you’ll find that the best fare is actually $396.86:

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And yes, the fare is showing up on

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The fares can be marginally more expensive in 2017 but, once again, ITA Matrix shows the fares to be higher than they actually are.

The best roundtrip November fares, per ITA, start around $439…..

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….but if you dig down into the details you’ll find fares closer to $404:

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British Airways is also offering fares in roughly the same price range although the best fare I could find (in my quick search) was this one via Madrid for €354 (~$420):

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But, as I mentioned earlier, it may be worth paying the extra to book through BA.

Which Airline To Book Through?

With the fares being this similar you may be thinking that it really doesn’t matter who you book through so going with the cheapest option is the way to go…..but that’s not necessarily true.

When to book through American Airlines

If you need Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) to maintain/reach AAdvantage status then booking through American is the better option. American Airlines will award 1 EQM per mile flown while, if you book through BA and credit your flights to AAdvantage, you’ll only get 0.5 EQM/mile flown.

If you have American Airlines miles or upgrade instruments you’d like to use to move from Economy to Business Class then you’ll need to book through American Airlines.

If you’re looking to upgrade out of Economy Class using AAdvantage Miles or upgrade instruments make sure you select flights operated by American Airlines.

In the example below I’ve deliberately selected American Airlines operated flights (on the long haul sectors) booked through American Airlines because I would want to try to use my Systemwide Upgrades to put myself into Business Class if I was booking this fare.

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When to book through British Airways

If you’re looking to use Avios to upgrade out of Economy Class you should book through British Airways…..just make sure you book your flights on British Airways aircraft.

If AAdvantage EQM aren’t important but you’d like to maximize the number of redeemable miles (RDM) you’ll earn in the AAdvantage program you should book through BA and credit your flights to AAdvantage. American Airlines will award RDM based on the fare you book (if you book through AA) while you’ll earn miles equal to at least 25% of the distance flown if you book through BA and credit the flights to AAdvantage.

Bottom Line

Economy Class fares between Europe and Los Angeles on full-service airlines don’t come much cheaper than these so they’re definitely worth considering.

If you’re collecting miles/Avios, looking to earn status with one of these two airlines or upgrade out of Economy Class then make sure you check which option will get you closer to your goal – the cheapest option isn’t always the best.



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