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Cheap Flights to Spain

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Cheap Flights to Spain

...an intercontinental flight taking you from your origin to your destination can be a wonderfully relaxing opportunity to catch up on some reading. I'm a little disappointed, however, that they don't all offer entirely complimentary refreshments."

Posted by The Expatriator

Tagged: moving, flying, flight, iberia, easyjet, ryanair, vueling, spainair, thomson, air

Information about cheap flights and airlines that service Spain. There are many options and potential pitfalls; we provide information based on our personal experience about flying to Spain, and a note about flying into Spain and your legal status.

Whether you’re coming to Spain to visit, to scout out your future home, or Spain’s your final destination, there’s a lot of flight options to consider. Regional low-cost, cheap flight airlines have hit the ground running, competing for your dollar along with the multiple intercontinental airlines that fly to Spain.

If you’re bringing a lot of baggage, ie. this is your “big move” flight, you will want to check the baggage allowances for each of these low-cost flyers. If your flight is intercontinental then you’ll not likely have this issue, but you’re still restricted to 2 check-in pieces without paying heaps more money. Make sure these count by getting luggage big enough to fit everything that’s not going with the movers. They make some very big luggage these days…

A word about flying

intercontinental

on a budget: try not to do it. If you can find a great deal on an intercontinental flight to Spain then great, however this is currently being written on my 5th flight in 36 hours having tried to fit a great flight deal found from Montreal, Canada to Paris, France. Since neither were my origin or destination but it got me over the ocean, I tried to capitalise on the low-cost airlines and cheap regional flights to fill in the gaps. What I’ve realized is two fold:

  1. It’s very difficult and stressful when you have to recheck your luggage between flights yourself and wait in airports for flights that aren’t ideally timed. Also, landing in other countries where you don’t speak the native tongue can be uncomfortable and add to the stress.
  2. It’s very advantageous if you are worried about money (it’s definitely cheaper than most intercontinentals) and/or about having a dated Spanish customs stamp in your passport if you’re not from the EU. *

In any case, an intercontinental flight taking you from your origin to your destination can be a wonderfully relaxing opportunity to catch up on some reading. I’m a little disappointed, however, that they don’t all offer entirely complimentary refreshments.

Vueling is often almost as cheap as Ryanair but without the extra transport to and from the small airfields as they fly into the major centre airports themselves."

Cheap Flights to Spain from the EU

If you’re coming from the UK or anywhere else in the EU, you’re lucky: low-cost flying is an excellent opportunity these days. The following are the low-cost airlines that service Spain:

Ryanair - They’re the cheapest flights around and reknowned for running on time. But they’re also quite often flying out of tiny airfields with a minimum of infrastructure and require a 20€ return bus/train ticket investment to and from the major city nearby (both origin and destination - it adds up). Ryanair’s lowest-cost status seems to bring in a lot of the rif-raf as well. The service is generally excellent though and they make well on their promises. 15kg check-in luggage limit.
Vueling - A new comer that services many important centres in Spain from their hub - Barcelona. Vueling is often almost as cheap as Ryanair but without the extra transport to and from the small airfields as they fly into the major centre airports themselves. Great service, great price, relaxed atmosphere… I hope they continue to grow. 20kg check-in luggage limit.

EasyJet - I still haven’t personally flown with Easyjet, but they seem to be fine as well, flying into most of the major airports as well. Often not as cheap unless booked quite well in advance, but Easyjet covers more destinations and flies into the cities’ main airports, so for a bit higher cost they could be worth it. Recently they opened a base out of Madrid’s Barajas airport, so they should be covering significantly more of Spain with their cheap flights in an attempt to take business from the major flag carrying airlines.
Spanair - I recently had a friend who was held up at the airport for 4 hours, only to have his flight cancelled without rebooking. I won’t get into the details, but he hates Spanair now. I personally have no experience with them yet, but they do offer some good cheap flights within Spain, particularly servicing Madrid, Barcelona and the Canary Islands. Another advantage is that they’re part of the Star Alliance, so you can rack your frequent flyer points up while flying cheap (not common).
Transavia - I recently took a Transavia flight from Barcelona to Amsterdam and found them to be acceptable. The price I paid was barely within the “cheap flight” range, but the service was standard and as be expected. They’re owned by KLM-Air France, but you’re unable to rack up points with the frequent flyer program, Flying Blue (Flying Dutchmen).

Cheap Flights to Spain from the US and Canada

So far there aren’t any direct flights from North America to Spain with any of the cheap airlines. You can, however, manage to wrangle a cheap setup through Aer Lingus. They fly from the eastern US seaboard to Ireland and the UK. From London and Dublin they fly to some of the major hubs of Spain like Barcelona, Alicante and Madrid.

From Canada you can try Air Transat, IgluCanada, and Zoom, although they’re all charter, which means there’s no regular scheduled service. But they’ll all get you from that big mass of cold land to London Gatwick, from which you can get cheap flights on to Spain via EasyJet, Thomsonfly, Monarch, etc.

Unfortunately once you get more than a couple stops or an airport transfer in there your total bill climbs up to the same as some of the flag carriers’ cheaper flight deals.

* If you’re concerned about your potentially lengthy stay in Spain, as many North Americans are - try to relax. Most EU customs welcome North Americans; as long as you’re not from a potential refugee country (Ecuador, Morroco, etc.) the customs people are nice. You’ll face more questioning when you return home (US, Aussie, Canadian and British customs are becoming notoriously thorough).

Last updated 16 12 2011

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Comments

If you'd like to ask a question for discussion, please mosey on over to the Spain Forum. See our posting rules and instructions here.

28/Aug/2011:
kidbonita said:

A friend recently went to Spain via Pakistani International Air. The flight was from Chicago to Barcelona and then on to Pakistan; he and his family deplaned at Barcelona. He said it was close to half the price of a ticket on one of the traditional major airlines.

 

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RyanAir

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Also try these:
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