2

As the title suggests, I am looking into the option of recurring roundtrip flights every weekend. Friday outbound, Sunday inbound. From Vienna to Paris and then back. To be with my family.

I found that AirFrance has the best deal (as can be seen from Google Flights) and it is a non-stop flight.

It cost around 130 euros. That is 520 euros per month, 4 weekends.

My question goes like this: is there a way to buy weekend-tickets in bulk for months ahead, or have a deal with the airline company to make some discount for a frequent customer like this? That is around 48 trips per year, 6240 euros. AirFrance does have a FlyingBlue loyalty program, but that does not seem to be worth it.

Alternatives for the above:

  • Taking a bus is cheaper but I cannot stand 17 hours in a bus. Unless it is possible to do work on-board.
  • From the same bus link above, going by train is a good option but cost the same as airline. Although by train one can be productive and get some work done at least.
  • By car is a good option but it is time, energy and fuel consuming. Plus there is the risk of accidents on the road.

Distance is 1000 KM so I am looking for the optimal method: cheapest and consistent with no horrendous time spent. Preferably one that allows on-board working/reading if it is a lengthy duration. I would repeat this method each weekend.

If answers do not provide an optimal method then that is an indicator for me to tackle my problem differently.

  • rome2rio is actually not a good site to investigate the cost and duration of train travel in Europe. A good place to get actual times and prices is trainline.eu. But by train you would lose a day each way. My suggestion would be to go every second weekend, and go for a long weekend. No matter which way you slice this, this is going to be costly. – Krist van Besien Aug 27 at 14:09
  • 1
    contact airline (maybe the one based on Paris and on Vienna), or some travel agents. With many flights, you may get bulk discount. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 27 at 14:30
  • 1
    If you fly that much, please do not forget to donate a lot of money for environmental projects. – guest Aug 27 at 15:20
  • 2
    I am currently in a similar situation. What I did was negotiate that I only need to be in the office 3 days a week, and can do home/mobile office 2 days a week. So I spend mondays and fridays travelling, and work on the train. Apparently it is possible to travel from Vienna to Paris by train fro 59,- euro, if you book in advance, and follow the hints here: seat61.com/international-trains/… – Krist van Besien Aug 27 at 15:47
  • 1
    One option is to book longer segments which overlap, these are often significantly cheaper than the normal "businessman-style travel" which you are trying to budget. Eg buy flights with 3 weeks between the outward travel and return travel, but buy a new one each week, travel on one tickets outward, and another tickets return for that week. – Moo Aug 27 at 22:23
8

You are looking for a flight pass; various airlines offer these, sometimes directly but often in collaboration with a specialist vendor, Optiontown. That's the case for Air France, for whom the product is branded as 'Le Pass'. I'm more familiar with their product for BA, but they seem to work in broadly the same way. There are various parameters you can tune; the more flexible you want it to be, the more expensive it will work out on a per trip basis. In particular:

  • You specify how many flights you want up-front. The more you commit to, the greater the discount per flight (but clearly it's only a saving if you use almost all of them).
  • Those flights can be shared across a number of named passengers (so if occasionally a family member wants to travel with you, they can use some of 'your' quota; but the more people listed, the greater the price).
  • The cheapest passes will be for a single route, but you can also request larger geographic regions (generally more useful if you're trying to travel regularly for business across Europe than visiting family, but perhaps you have friends / relatives at another destination too and the combined pass would be worthwhile.)
  • Having the freedom to book truly last minute will be very expensive; you can save by agreeing to book (that is, exchange flight passes for actual tickets) by various cut-off points such as at least 30 days before departure. There's usually some fine print here as to exactly which flights you're allowed to exchange for - a cheaper pass might not have 'last seat' validity and instead require availability in a cheaper fare class.

Crucially, you don't have to book in all your flight dates at the time of purchase of the pass, you can book on a rolling basis as you firm up your plans, despite locking in the price earlier (the downside being you've also locked in a certain volume).

Unfortunately, it seems Le Pass cannot currently be purchased, presumably due to COVID concerns, so I can't compare the price to those you've found. But it looks like you should be in the cheapest possible case - one passenger, one route, weekend stay, dozens of trips - so it should be favourable especially if you can cope with booking significantly in advance.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thanks for the info, had no clue about this – Fattie Aug 28 at 13:45
  • 1
    Thank you! This is what I am going for. In addition to Krist's comment. 1. Use Le Pass on a regular basis 2. Fallback to 60 euro train ride with on-board remote work – recurring_traveller Aug 28 at 16:41
3

You should look into buying overlapping roundtrip tickets - you use the outbound leg this Fri, and the return leg Mon in a week (10 days later). For the returnthis Monday, you get a second ticket (reversed directions), and use it equally spread.
This is often substantially cheaper.

| improve this answer | |
  • I would check carefully to make sure this is not against the airline's rules. Such ploys often are. – Nate Eldredge Aug 28 at 0:38
  • 4
    No, it's completely legal and allowed. No rule states that you cannot fly with an airline while you have an open return ticket. – Aganju Aug 28 at 1:25
  • Highly appreciated! – recurring_traveller Aug 28 at 16:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.