Star Alliance members Lufthansa, Swiss, United, Air Canada, Brussels Airlines, and Austrian are selling very cheap flights from Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, and Tallinn to an enormous number of destinations in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Luggage, however, is not included in this fantastic deal.
You can fly (almost) daily without being limited to a specific travel period.
Here are some of the numerous possible destinations (price from Tallinn):
- Toronto: €288
- Vancouver: €291
- Edmonton: €295
- Washington DC: €298
- Calgary: €298
- Montreal: €300
- Quebec: €300
- Portland: €301
- San Diego: €301
- Fort Lauderdale: €301
- Philadelphia: €301
- Seattle: €301
- Chicago: €306
- Atlanta: €306
- Houston: €306
- New York: €311
- Los Angeles: €311
- Miami: €311
- Boston: €311
- Austin: €311
- Dallas: €311
- Denver: €311
- San Francisco: €311
- New Orleans: €313
- Las Vegas: €316
- Aspen: €316
- San Antonio: €316
- Salt Lake City: €316
- Mexico City: €322
- Halifax: €340
- Canadian Rockies: €376
- London: €379
- Charlottetown: €381
- Nanaimo: €381
- Kamloops: €381
- Thunder Bay: €383
- Sault Ste Marie: €383
- Victoria: €384
- Regina: €388
- Saskatoon: €390
- Kelowna: €391
- Prince George: €391
- Winnipeg: €393
- Moncton: €396
There are many different ways to reach your destination. You could fly with Lufthansa via Frankfurt, or with SWISS via Zurich. You could also fly with Air Canada via Montreal, among other options. Many destinations will require to layovers.
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.
Search & Book
This deal will apparently expire on June 15, 2021, but the availability may run out before then. Your trip needs to be at least 6 days long, and from what Google Flights shows, you can fly (almost) daily without being limited to a specific travel period. You can then either book directly on Lufthansa’s website, or use our Travel-Dealz flight search to search for the cheapest OTA, which would usually save you roughly €40.
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 tickets are issued in booking class K. To give you an example, flying from Tallinn to Dallas (and back) with Lufthansa via Frankfurt would get you:
- 3,620 Miles on ANA Mileage Club
- 3,020 Award Miles + 600 PQP on United MileagePlus
- 2,810 Points on SAS EuroBonus
- 740 Award Miles + 2,810 Tier Miles on Miles&More
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