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I want to travel to Poland in a month or so to visit sick relatives. Like the title says, I'm an Epileptic and to stay safe I can only travel during waking hours. I go to bed at 10pm every day. I live in Chicago so what I've always done is travel to London, England during a day flight, spend the night to start adjusting to the time, then travel on to Poland from there. For the return, I buy a direct flight from Krakow to Chicago leaving at noon and arriving at 3pm local (10pm for me since I'll be on Polish time). The problem comes up that I buy this as a multi-city ticket when using an online page and cost really racks up because of that first night I have to spend in London. I think they treat it as a separate trip. Last time I had to do this the tickets alone cost me more than $3,000.

Any advice on how to save money here would be greatly appreciated.

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    I wonder whether this is something where talking to an actual travel agent would be beneficial. I've had to have weird itineraries in the past and a real life TA has always come through for me. For direct easy to plan flights an OTA is usually cheaper, but for the weird routes try talking to a TA.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 2:47
  • Nice mystery you gave me. travel.stackexchange.com/questions/174610/…
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 5:29
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    Did you ever try the route via Madrid? It's longer, but could be cheaper.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 12:13
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    @Midavalo Travel agents are hugely helpful in cases like this. They know all there is to know about how this works (as well as having access to all the same cheap travel websites you do) and can often persuade airlines to make slight accommodations in cases like this. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 13:12
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    Have you considered going via Warsaw? Fly to Warsaw and then either fly or take a train to Kraków. I am not sure about this, but my gut tells me there will be many more flights in. In Warsaw itself it's only a short metro ride from the airport to the intercity train station. Adds a few hours but might save you a fair bit of money.
    – jaskij
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:30

4 Answers 4

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Try booking two separate tickets. The first ticket is Chicago > LHR > Chicago. The second ticket is LHR > Poland > LHR.

But the temporal flight order is this:

  • Chicago > LHR (the first flight on the first ticket)

  • LHR > Poland (the first flight on the second ticket)

  • Poland > LHR (the second flight on the second ticket)

  • LHR > Chicago (the second flight on the first ticket)

Purchasing two separate unrelated itineraries may generate more attractive ticket prices than the multi-flight four-leg itinerary you've found to be too expensive.

And do keep in mind that airline tickets are really expensive now; some of the high prices you've already seen may be due to the general high level of prices.

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    But keep in mind that since the flights are on separate tickets, the traveller needs to transfer checked luggage themselves in London and is on their own if there are any delays or cancellations. It would probably be good to stay the night on the way back as well in this case.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 8:20
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    If we are overnighting in London on the way back too which we should then this answer probably should be updated to use LON - KRK - LON for the second ticket because it's a given low cost airlines will be cheapest. Even more so than usual on this route: only one traditional airline (BA) flies this while all three of the big low costs (easyJet, Wizz, Ryanair) do and competition, as always, drives prices down.
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 16:38
  • @jcaron That's often true, especially if it's different airlines in different alliances, but it's often possible to through-check bags across multiple tickets depending on the airline(s) involved. I've done it multiple times. This is much more likely to be possible when it's the same airline, but it's also often possible when airlines are in the same alliance or even just if they have an interline agreement with each other.
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 16:42
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    While through check is a possibility I would still not do a tight unprotected BA-BA connection here. If the BA bird in Krakow has any problems, you won't get to London any time soon. Krakow is a focus city for Ryanair and Wizz so the chances of them finding replacement or parts necessary is much higher in such a case but BA has nothing. Careful with this. Unprotected tight connections are risky especially so when the second flight is going to be very expensive to rebook on spot. I still concur with jcaron to overnight in LON on the way back -- and if you do so then go with an LCC for cheaper
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 17:58
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Yes. And anyone who books unprotected tight connections this summer in European destinations is an even bigger fool. European airports suffer from strikes and staffing issues. Delayed and cancelled flights are rampant.
    – Abigail
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 13:40
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Edit: I will keep this but this is not the most comfy way doing it, see my other answer.

While ITA Matrix is an excellent tool (the extension code -redeyes was made for you) it can't help here by itself: you have restricted your request to something not bookable on a single ticket because you nailed down you wanted to fly AA90 on the way out and LO9 on the way back and that's not the same alliance so you can't book a single ticket.

I tried to change the route out and that doesn't work so we need to give up on the Krakow-Chicago direct flight and fly another route.

Once we do that, life is super easy, I hope this link works for you. If not:

Origin: ORD
Destination: KRK
Routing codes: F F (both directions)
Extension codes: -redeyes

I guess you want to pick "See calendar of lowest fares". Alas, July is the most expensive season to fly, July 26 to Aug 7 finds ~2000 USD fares, typically with transiting Helsinki on the way back, the Finnair flight lands at 3:20PM. At later dates this becomes even cheaper:

enter image description here

Once you found a flight, on the result screen select all, copy-paste the results into https://bookwithmatrix.com/ and there you are.

Or with Chrome you can try https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ita-matrix-powertools/menecfddnlmanmpadcalononkolnplpp?hl=en but this only works with https://oldmatrix.itasoftware.com/ for now. However, it allows you to book with the airline directly which is strongly recommended. Do not get too excited: many flights Matrix finds can't be booked any longer. A little trial and error will get you there.

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I need to give a second answer because it is fundamentally different from my first.

You could buy the following three tickets:

  1. Chicago-London/whatever-Chicago with Oneworld (AA/BA/AY). Use ITA Matrix to search for this, see below.
  2. London-Krakow with Wizz/Ryanair/maybe easyJet. Use skyscanner for searching this.
  3. Krakow-Chicago with LOT, possibly fudging it with a similar Krakow-Chicago/Chicago-whatever return flight. Or Krakow-Chicago/whatever-Krakow. However, unlike with #1 I can't seem to find a good way to lower the price of this. You can try ITA Matrix here as well but it might be necessary to just pay for the LO9 flight in itself.

and just forget about the return part of #1 (and #3 if you bought one).

What's this lunacy? Ah, the wonderful world of traditional airlines!

  1. It used to be the case that return tickets are cheaper than one ways. This is not necessarily the case any more but with transatlantic flights it still often is.
  2. However, flying out from the United Kingdom has very steep fees and since we do not want to fly anyways we can just pick another airport which has cheap flights to Chicago...

Flying out on July 26 costs 809 dollars:

enter image description here

but if we pretend to fly back on November 15 from Paris that's only 696 USD:

enter image description here

There's just no problems not showing for the Paris-Chicago flight.

ITA Matrix allows you to search multiple cities and five days in a single search example. Then just go to Kayak or the airline to book it.

Note there is a danger in #2 because if your flight from Chicago is so late it comes the next day then you can miss it and the cost of booking another flight at last minute might be relatively high: a same day LON-KRK booking currently is 127GBP (but I have seen it going slightly above 150GBP, too), next day is 76GPB, one more day is 45 GBP. But it's not like you are risking rebooking a transatlantic flight which runs into the thousands of dollars.

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    I already commented on the question, but seeing as you got quite invested in this question I'll comment here as well. At the beginning, I was quite shocked that it's so hard to get a flight, as I know there's a large Polish expat community in Chicago. Then I realized, OP is asking about KRK. I have a gut feeling that ORD-WAW is a much more popular route (although I'm not familiar enough with flying to check). In Warsaw it's a short metro hop to an intercity train and then anywhere between 17 to 60 USD for a three hour train ride to Kraków.
    – jaskij
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:40
  • There are very few daytime flights from the United States to Europe so the ORD-LHR route is pretty fixed. Going back you might want to fly from WAV... but WAV-ORD is a *A route so you can't still book it together with ORD-LHR and then why bother? I am reasonably sure this second answer is the best comfort wise and not at all unlikely to be cheapest too with some time invested in searching ITA Matrix for #1 returns.
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:44
  • And of course I got invested in the question, the last time I had this much fun figuring out a good, cheap booking was back in the flightfox days! I love me a good challenge.
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:45
  • Who doesn't love a good challenge! So, the issue here was the flight being day-time, not the destination airport? And yeah, if it doesn't allow for better flight, going through WAW doesn't make sense (you seem to have a typo in your comment).
    – jaskij
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:48
  • Yes, the challenge here and a very big one is we need to cross the Atlantic day time and as far as I am aware every single one of those land at London Heathrow. i.imgur.com/wXdKj5f.png
    – user4188
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 19:54
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I feel I need to post a third answer even if it is a negative one just so no one else wastes time searching this.

One trick would be breaking the trip in Iceland instead of London and while there is a daytime flight from Boston to Keflavik, unexpectedly you get stumped there because you can't get anywhere near Krakow from Keflavik with the 10pm curfew restriction. https://azair.me/!4kKx

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  • "you can't get anywhere near Krakow from Keflavik with the 10pm curfew restriction": not even with a change or two? Is there no morning flight to some city where one can catch an afternoon flight to Krakow?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 10:52
  • I looked into that, there's an option with a transfer in Helsinki on Finnair (leaves at 7:30AM arrives 5:20PM to Krakow) but now we are looking at three transfers on the way out which sucks: Boston, Rejkjavik, Helsinki. With two transfers only it might be worth it because all the flights are shorter and cheap. But I am loath to recommend a trip with three transfers.
    – user4188
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 15:54

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