I am facing a dilemma.
I had decided that when I go to Europe next summer, I will take a flight to Amsterdam, and then a train down through Brussels, and finally into London.
I have mentioned this before, so I assume you remember this whole bit.
Now, here is the catch. While it would be cheap to fly to Amsterdam this summer (about $1,000-$1,100 on Delta), it would cost twice as much on Delta next summer. I can get around this, however, by apparently flying on a myriad of airlines, through a few different countries.
The time frame for when I plan to travel is not yet available for making reservations, so I am not sure exactly what path I will have to take. But from checking for cheap paths for earlier in the month I will travel, I have learned I can fly to Amsterdam fairly cheaply by suffering through multiple layovers — as long as I fly on anyone except Delta (there goes the plan to use frequent flier miles to pay for part of the plane ticket).
One path would have me flying, for $1,200, to Toronto on United, and then to Reykjavik, Iceland, on Icelandair, then taking another Icelandair flight to Amsterdam.
Another option, for about $1,450, is to fly Continental to Newark, New Jersey, and then flying TAP Portugal to Lisbon, Portugal, where I would catch another TAP Portugal flight to Amsterdam.
Who knows what paths will pop up, or close up, when my travel time frame finally opens up for reservations. At one point, Amsterdam via Warsaw, Poland, was an option, but it has closed up now.
Either way, I get to claim I have set foot in yet another European country that I was not originally planning to visit. Either way, I have to fret over handling a layover in a foreign country, which speaks a language that I cannot speak.
And here, I was already having to learn to speak Dutch (which is amazingly similar to speaking English with a heavy Germanic accent, by the way).
So, assuming that things don’t change dramatically in my favor, I can expect to be flying a truly international route to Amsterdam next year. It’s not preferable. I would rather fly non-stop directly to Amsterdam, from Atlanta, but that doesn’t appear to be affordable.
So, now I have to prepare myself to either make a big arch around half the world (while skirting the Arctic Circle), or I’ll just have to zig-zag my way halfway across the globe.
Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.