Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, SkyTeam member Air France has surprised us with great nonstop fares from Paris to destinations like Montreal, Vancouver or the Caribbean. This time, two American destinations get the nod. While New York at €253 is a good price, San Francisco at €303 is an outstanding offer. Both fares include board service and a cabin bag up to 12 kg. Checked bags must be paid separately.
Worldwide travel restrictions are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. We strongly recommend gathering detailed information about the travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to your desired origin and destination.
A good start is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website. It provides current updates on a country’s immigration policies. Even better, the Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map is one of the most useful tools you can find.
Flights operated by Air France are Boeing 777 services to both destinations, a 3-4-3 seating arrangement awaits you in its economy class cabin. Some flights to New York are operated by Delta Air Lines Airbus A330 fleet (2-4-2).
Search & Book
The fare rules state March 15, 2021 as the last day on which these tickets are sold. It may be withdrawn or sell out earlier. A minimum stay of three days applies. Availability is fairly good, with multiple departures each week available at the lowest fare throughout 2021, except for major holiday seasons.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
Information & Tips for USA
The USA offers many sights, natural wonders and cultural significance. Thanks to numerous airlines offering flights across the Atlantic, it is always pretty inexpensive to get there. Alternatively, you can also cross the Atlantic by boat.
Immigration, ESTA & Visa Requirements
The USA has one of the strictest entry regulations in the world. Most EU citizens, among others, are lucky to be able to participate in the so-called Visa Waiver Program. If you get an electronic entry permit (ESTA) for about €12, you don’t need a visa for entry.
The Best Time to Visit
Due to its sheer size, the perfect time to visit the USA varies greatly from region to region. In winter, Florida is very popular due to the mild temperatures. In the summer the West and East Coasts are flooded by tourists which drives up the prices for hotels and flights and during the Indian Summer in late autumn New England is a very popular destination. The hurricane season between July and September can be dangerous in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida and the southern states are regularly struck by these tropical storms. Blizzards occur from the East Coast to the Midwest during the winter months and regularly put air traffic and public life on hold.
The US dollar is widely used throughout the world and accepted as a currency in most tourist hotspots worldwide. That being said, carrying cash isn’t necessary in the US, all you need is a credit card! These are very common in the USA and are accepted pretty much everywhere without any issues. If you already have a credit card in your wallet, you should make sure that it does not charge a foreign currency fee if possible. Carrying a few dollars in cash doesn’t hurt though. You might need cash e.g. for the bus ticket if you want to buy it directly from the driver. Most of the time you even have to give exact change.
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Information & Tips for New York
It is THE dream destination in the USA. The 5 districts of New York City offer more than any other metropolis in the world. And due to the high number of flights to New York, it is usually the cheapest way to get to the USA.
The Best Time to Travel
The best travel time with moderate temperatures is from April to June and from September to November. Summers can bring heat waves with high humidity. Winters are often snowy and very cold.
From the airport to the city
New York City is served by three commercial airports: John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport in Queens (probably the most famous), Newark Intl. Airport in Newark, New Jersey (which is not located in NYC, but serves the metropolitan area just like the others) and LaGuardia Airport also in Queens (which is closest to the city).
John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport
Public transport: From Manhattan by subway or LIRR to Jamaica (price varies from $2.75 – $10.00), continue with AirTrain to JFK ($6). Travel time 45 – 60 minutes.
Taxi: To Manhattan $52.50 (+ $5.50 toll), 45 – 90 minutes depending on traffic.
Newark Intl. Airport
Public transport: Almost $20 with a combination of AirTrain Newark and NJ Transit to Penn Station. Almost 45 minutes drive.
Taxi: To Manhattan $50 – $70 (+ $8 toll), journey time 35 – 60 minutes depending on traffic.
Public transport: LaGuardia is only served by buses, these are slow and don’t have much space to store luggage, but with $2,75 they are very cheap.
Taxi: To Manhattan $20 – $30, journey time 15 – 30 minutes depending on traffic.
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Information & Tips for San Francisco
The city on the Pacific coast in California captivates with unique buildings like the Golden Gate Bridge but also with the serenity, enlightenment and cultural diversity of the population.
Best Time to Visit
Temperatures in San Francisco are quite warm and moderate all year round. But in winter you have to expect to get more rain. The best months for traveling are April to October.
Top 3 Sights
Golden Gate Bridge: There are only a few buildings that say ‘USA’ as much as the bridge that connects with San Francisco to Sausalito. You can pass the bridge either by car, on foot or by bike. The latter is highly recommended because it is somewhat tricky to get on the bridge by foot. When planning your trip, you should always check the weather forecast, as the bridge is often covered in thick fog. This might be great for taking spectacular pictures of the bridge, but passing it could be rather disappointing due to the limited visibility.
Alcatraz Island: You can reach the legendary prison island, on which Al Capone was imprisoned, by ferry. You can book tickets on the official website. Attention: Other sites that also offer tickets are only re-sellers who charge excessive prices. It is worth to book the tickets in advance because especially during high season the ferry can be full due to the limited number of seats.
Fisherman’s Wharf: An excellent place to start your visit to San Francisco. This old part of town – once the Little Italy of San Francisco – is famous for its shops, restaurants and the beautiful atmosphere by the water. It’s a nice place to walk around and get a taste of the city. It’s also a starting point for tours with spectacular views of the city.
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