Son Traveling to Paris to Study---Fare Info

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by SteveHookEm, Apr 22, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    My son has been accepted to study for 6 weeks at the The University of Paris--Sorbonne starting May 31st. He is a Vocal Performance and French major at Carnegie Mellon. This program will be a French emersion program and also allow him vocal training at one of the world's most famous classical music schools! It will count toward both majors.

    The cost of the program with tuition and board will be about $8000. That does not include airfare. He has applied for every scholarship available. But he won't be notified about whether he received any of them until around mid-May. Too late for airfare I'm afraid.

    We need some help! Any ideas on how to fund this on such short notice? I can't believe how much higher the fares are from 2009 when I traveled to CDG. Almost double! I'm looking at IAH to CDG on May 31, returning July 12th. He has miles on almost every program but United is our most frequent carrier. Fares are looking like $1790 RT! Even with stops! Unfortunately, his dates aren't flexible unless he gets a hotel for the extra days. Which usually negates to fare differences.

    Any help and suggestions appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Steve
     
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  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Those are some seriously scary fares!

    How many points do you have, and in which programs?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
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  3. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    United: 44,500 miles. I thought it was more but I know we used some to get a ticket for him to fly to school in August. Still checking on other carriers. He has Air France miles and AA miles--but not many. Probably 3000 on AA. Maybe 10000 on AF.

    Also, scholarships---including donations of miles---are tax deductible! haha
     
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  4. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    That wouldn't be enough for a roundtrip but that is enough for an one way ticket if you can find saver award space available on either dates for the outbound or the return.
     
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  5. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    When I check one way fares, they are FAR higher than round trip. Starting at $2200!
     
  6. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    Is it possible to use some miles for one leg of a roundtrip?
     
  7. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    FWIW, AF charges $1707 for the same r/t tkt.
     
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  8. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    Right, I see that. And it would be nice to go non-stop. However, for a little more money and one stop we'd go with United to get the miles. This trip would bump him to Elite status with United. But if I could use miles and reduce the fare significantly, I would do that first!
     
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  9. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    There is a popular site amongst backpackers and tweens called couchsurfing.org It pairs people looking for free couches and folks who have one to spare. This way you could look for tix one or two days in advance, of start date of the course, and few days after it ends.
     
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  10. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    1. UA, AA, BA, and others offer one-way awards. Consider mixing and matching. If you can find space one way, you could ticket the outbound now and deal with the return later. That also gives you some time to get some credit card signup bonuses for the extra miles you may need.
    2. While hotels in Paris proper could quickly eat up the fare difference, why limit yourself to Paris? Fly in or out of Brussels, Amsterdam, or pretty much anywhere else in Europe. Make more of a trip of it. Alternatively, just get out of Paris - there are plenty of cheap hotels in the 'burbs, a short train ride away. Quite seriously, if you're already going to be buying a transatlantic ticket, consider making the most of it and extending the trip.
    3. Or use hotel points in Paris.
    4. Or hostels.
    5. Could he fly from Pittsburgh without coming home first? That might open up some additional award options.
    6. Student loans. This likely won't qualify for subsidized loans, but if the program is that worthwhile, perhaps he will want to take on even more debt to fund it.
    Keep in mind that Paris is a very expensive city. $1800 is expensive for an economy ticket, but if that sum is really giving you fits, I worry that you may not be setting aside enough for incidentals.

    And prepare for pickpockets, especially in the Metro and near tourist sights. They are very, very aggressive.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  11. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Also look at flying to Dublin - around $750 most days (via ORD usually.) He can then fly (separate ticket, so allow plenty of leeway - maybe a day) to Paris for around €130, or cheaper on Ryanair or their ilk (but watch out for baggage charges that negate the fare savings.)
     
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  12. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    I would love to do that! Where are you seeing $750 to Dublin? I must not be searching correctly. All my IAH to Dublin trips start at $1200!
     
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  13. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Look at Expedia, IAH-DUB, May 29 (guessing a date.) $780 all in - IAH-ORD-DUB, Aer Lingus codes on United metal.
     
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  14. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    Yes, I see that. But that's one way! I thought you meant a round trip from IAH-DUB for that price. That really isn't a good deal. The round trip from DUB to Paris will be $300. The return from DUB to IAH is $900! Grand total: $2000 minimum.
     
  15. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    My bad, I thought you were looking for a one-way ticket, then using miles coming back.
     
  16. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Have you looked to see which leg is the driving force behind the high cost? Perhaps you could mix a one-way award with a cheap(er) paid ticket.
     
  17. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I'm not sure if US will ever have another 100% bonus on purchased miles again, but I highly recommend making a US Air account for your son and yourself in case they do. If you get lucky, you might be able to get a Business Class award ticket for roughly ~$2K per person if they do this promotion again... Just note that award space has to be available during your timeframe as well.
     
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  18. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    I checked out BA OpenSkies which flies direct from EWR to Orly - dates may 28-July 19 for $1,354.14 total -not sure of positioning flight to get there - you may still be at $1700. When I priced out tickets for my niece and I in June coach was over $2k each! Luckily I found BA seats to use my travel together 2-4-1 as the fares are insane.


    Now for hotel look at Mama Shelter a bus ride from city or look at flats from airbnb there were many interesting options when I checked -mid June hotels are more than double for the Paris air show and I found no points options
     
  19. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    When my kids did their year abroads a few years ago, there were student fares on Lufthansa and through a student travel website, student universe. Maybe these are still around?
     
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  20. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Here's one alternative which would actually make for quite an interesting trip ( I at least as a teenager would jump at an itinerary like this:))
    Fly to Dublin by whichever means.
    ITA currently shows both US and AC r/t fares about $1020 IAH/DUB for your required timeframe.

    Then take Irish Ferries overnight from Dublin to Cherbourg (they also run from Rossclare to Roscoff)
    The one-way on the ferry when I last checked is about 50 euro.
    Train to Paris should be about 20 euro.
     
  21. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Here's another option... use miles to Paris...

    Get to Copenhagen or Oslo somehow and take Norwegian Air back to USA... They have decent prices. :)
     
  22. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    You may need to get creative here. I think your best bet is going to be to quickly and suddenly wreck the global economy. That should get prices down in a hurry.
     
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  23. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    It's not wrecked already?
     
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  24. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    If people are paying $2K for airfare to Europe, no.
     
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  25. SteveHookEm

    SteveHookEm Member

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    Looks like the best deal is to fly the A380 via FRA. Not the best price but for just a bit more--it's the A380!
    $1800 RT
     

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