Star Alliance carrier United is offering great fares for flights from Paris to the one of the busiest American destinations. You can fly nonstop to United’s hub in Chicago for €263. The fare is available for weekday departures, starting in November 2021 and extending into March 2022. A checked bag of 23 kg adds €100 when booking on Lufthansa’s website.
Lufthansa allows you to alter your booking without additional change fees. You’d still have to pay the fare difference, which can easily be several hundred Euros. In contrast, United waives the change fees for basic economy tickets only for 2021 flight dates. Rebooking in 2022 will be even more expensive.
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.
Our availability calendar shows you all available roundtrips at the lowest fare for trips up to 28 days. It will forward you to lufthansa.com, where you have slightly better cancellation conditions and will spare €1 compared to United’s prices.
This fare will only include one piece of carry-on as well as a personal item. If you want to add checked luggage you can do so on the carriers’s website for an extra €100-120 per round trip.
All promoted prices are Star Alliance fares without checked luggage allowance. Especially when flying United, you will also have other cutbacks:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
On flights with Lufthansa Group carriers, you will be able to select your seat for free at the time of check-in. Star Alliance Gold member can currently bring one checked bag (23 kg). But it is not sure how long this will be possible.
When flying United you can still bring two pieces of checked luggage (23 kg each) as a Star Alliance Gold member, MileagePlus frequent flyer can even bring three pieces (32 kg each). But there are other disadvantages:
- No seat selection. You will be assigned a seat during check-in and can’t change it anymore
- Lowest priority while boarding
- For MileagePlus members:
- No complimentary Economy+ seats
- Only 50% tier miles (instead of 100%)
- No same-day changes
- No upgrades
Air Canada’s Basic Economy fare isn’t as restricted as the one from Lufthansa and United. Star Alliance Gold members can still bring one piece of checked luggage (23 kg), and Air Canada Altitude customers can bring up to three pieces (32kg each).
- Altitude members:
- Only 25% earning rate for international flights, no miles for domestic
- No upgrades
Flights will be operated by a mix of United’s Boeing 767 and 787 aircraft. These feature a 2-3-2 (767) or 3-3-3 (787) seating pattern with video on demand in every seat back. Food and drinks are included.
Search & Book
According to the fare rules, this offer will be available until September 27, 2021, however, the deal could still be over any time.
You can find the cheap tickets between November 2021 and March 2022, with a blockout around Christmas. You’ll have to stay for at least six days or one night from Saturday to Sunday; maximum stay is 3 months. Please remember that your ESTA will only be valid for 90 days.
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.
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