Not only is the Star Alliance offering great dealz to Canada for less than €300 but they are also offering cheap tickets to some destinations in the USA. Houston is a particular highlight, as this tends to be an expensive destination. You can get the roundtrip (without luggage) for only €306. You can depart from various European countries.
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.
This deal is for a Light fare. Star Alliance Gold members will be allowed to check in a suitcase without having to pay a surcharge, but all other passengers would need to pay another €100 to book the Basic fare if they want to fly with a suitcase.
We found cheap flights to Houston from the following countries:
- Ireland: €306
- Poland: PLN 1,401 (~€310)
- Denmark: DKK 2,345 (~€315)
- Czech Republic: CZK 8,599 (~€338)
- Norway: NOK 3,602 (~€357)
- Hungary: HUF 119,900 (~€341)
- Croatia: €332
- Sweden: SEK 3,535 (~€350)
- Italy: €358
We expect further shakeups in the airline industry over the following months. Some services might be cancelled, aircraft changed or downgraded. The schedule we describe may very well change.
- Lufthansa: Boeing 747 on
FRA - IAH
- United: Boeing 777 on
FRA-IAHor Boeing 767 on
MUC - IAH
In our oppinion, the best choice is either Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 or United’s Boeing 767. Aircraft changes may, however, still be made by the airline.
You can also often fly with a second layover in Chicago, in which case you’d be flying on a Lufthansa A350 on the long-haul flight, and on a Boeing 737 between Chicago and Houston.
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The fare rules do not state until when this deal will remain available, but it is clear that your trip needs to start before May 31st, 2021. There’s a minimum stay requirement of six 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.
The booking class is K. At Miles&More, you’ll get revenue-based miles (900 – 1,300, depending on your status) and roughly 2,900 status miles (twice as much if you hold a status).
The credited mileage varies at the other programs, depending on if you’re flying with Lufthansa or United. If you’re flying with United via Munich (e.g. from Dublin), the entire roundtrip will get you:
- 5,650 Points on SAS EuroBonus
- 5,400 Miles on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 5,400 Miles on EVA Infinity MileageLands
- 5,400 Miles on Avianca LifeMiles
- 5,400 Miles on Azul TudoAzul
- 5,400 Miles on TAP Miles & Go
- 5,400 Miles on Asiana Club
- 5,400 Miles on Copa ConnectMiles
- 5,400 Miles on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 5,400 Miles on EgyptAir Plus
- 5,400 Miles on Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- 5,400 Miles on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 5,400 Miles on Aegean Miles+Bonus
- 5,400 Miles on South African Voyager
- 5,400 Miles on Air India Flying Returns
- 5,400 Avios on Aer Lingus AerClub
- 4,350 Kilometers on Air China PhoenixMiles
- 3,750 Miles on ANA Mileage Club
- 2,700 Miles on Singapore KrisFlyer
Lufthansa flights have far fewer crediting options. Should you, for instance, fly from Warsaw via Frankfurt with Lufthansa, the entire roundtrip would get you:
- 3,460 Miles on ANA Mileage Club
- 2,880 Award Miles + 570 PQP on United MileagePlus
- 2,860 Points on SAS EuroBonus
- 0 Miles on Asia Miles
This is a Star Alliance fare that does not include check-in luggage. Additionally, some other disadvantages may apply, especially when flying with United:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
Lufthansa Group airlines call this fare Economy Light. You can select your seats during the check-in process. While these airlines still allow Star-Alliance-Gold customers to bring one 23kg bag, it is said that this benefit will soon be eliminated without much warning.
The long-haul United Basic Economy allows Star-Alliance-Gold customers to fly with 2 x 23 kg luggage, or even 3 x 32 kg if you’re a MileagePlus frequent flyer. Nevertheless, there are other restrictions:
- You cannot reserve your seats. Even at the time of check-in, you’ll be automatically assigned a seat, which you cannot change.
- You’ll be the last one to board the plane (except if you’re a frequent flyer).
- Additionally, if you’re a MileagePlus-customer:
- No free Economy-Plus upgrades
- Only 50% PQM instead of 100%, and only 0.5 PQS per flight
- No modifications (e.g. Same Day-Changes) possible
- Upgrades are not permitted
On flights with Air Canada, there is also a Basic Economy, but it is not quite as restrictive as United’s. If you have a Star-Alliance-Gold-Status, you can give up a 23 kg luggage, and Air-Canada-Altitude status holders can even be allowed up to 3 x 32 kg.
Other restrictions include:
- You can reserve seats, but at a higher price than usual for Economy.
- For Air Canada Altitude customers:
- 25% miles for transatlantic flights, none for domestic.
- Upgrades are not permitted.
- From Prestige 25K onwards you can select your seats.
If you feel that these restrictions are unbearable, you should book over Lufthansa.com or United.com and select the rate that includes luggage for roughly €100 more.
Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange