Ottawa to France | How To Get The Best Flight Deals
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The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flights To France From Ottawa
|There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on airfares to France. They don't. |
They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there is really only one source of unique prices on flights to France.
This guide will remove the noise and show you what that source is, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.
What are the unique sources of prices on flights to France from Ottawa ?
Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines
There are 14 major airlines that fly to France from Ottawa, and they are: Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Delta, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways.
Where should I look to get the best flight deal to France?
All you need to do is search the major airlines, preferably all at once. My current favorite way to do this would be using Google Flights Explorer because you can just enter 'France' into the 'To' box, and see current airfares from all the major airlines, at one time. Not to mention how easy it is to browse through different date combinations.
Even if you're planning to go for a longer date range than this tool supports (currently up to 2 weeks), it will give you an excellent idea of what the typical bottom price is right now to France, and which airline(s) it can be found on.
You can use Google Flights Explorer as a starting point, and then use a tool with more precise search options, such as...
My second favorite way would be to search using Kayak. It has all the sort and filter options I need, and searches all major airlines. Click on 'Make my dates flexible' and set it to '+/- 3 days'. You may be surprised how often being a little flexible with your dates can result in a better price.
In the 'To' box, enter one of the places listed in the next paragraph as your destination.
Which airport in France should I fly into?
There are 7 places that vacationers most commonly fly in and out of when traveling to France from Ottawa.
- Paris (PAR)
- Nice (NCE)
- Lyon (LYS)
- Marseille (MRS)
- Toulouse (TLS)
- Bordeaux (BOD)
- Nantes (NTE)
Something to note is that Paris has multiple major airports, which are Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY).
Why is this important? When you're using any decent travel airfare search engine, you can search airfares to both of these Paris airports at once by using the 3 letter code of PAR. An airline could be offering cheaper fares to one Paris airport and not the other, so you may as well search both of them at the same time.
What about the thousands of other travel sites that have airfares to France?
This is the noise. There is no shortage of travel sites or brands trying to convince you that they have the cheapest flights to France from Ottawa. The truth is though, there's only one unique source of prices that they're gathering their airfare prices from, and that's the major airlines themselves. They can't offer a lower price on airfares to France than the airlines themselves, as there's virtually no markup.
There's a few reasons why I think Ontario travellers waste an enormous amount of time checking multiple websites, hoping for a better deal than the one they already found (studies show it to be an average of 22 different sites over 10 periods of research!). The first reason is just human nature. We all want to compare prices and make sure we're getting the best deal.
But I think the biggest reason is simply the noise of travel marketing. With so many travel sites and brands competing for your attention, all hoping you'll book through them, combined with the fact that not one of them will *ever* admit to you that their source of prices is the same as everyone else, it's little wonder travelers waste so much time searching.
What about searching the airline's website directly?
There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's usually just a lot easier to search all of the airlines at once, with a better interface using a good search tool. It's amazing how poor many of the airline's search interfaces are. The fares found on any half-decent search engine will be the same as the fares found on the airline's own website.
One thing you can do is just use a flight search tool to scan all the airlines at once, and then go to the airline's own site to book it once you've figured out exactly which flight you want, and what the price is.
Another thing to be aware of is that the more sophisticated travel search engines can combine flights from multiple airlines to find cheaper options, especially on international flights, that you may not find on the airline's website.
What about my local Ottawa travel agency or independent travel agent in Ontario?
They're seeing the same prices you are. Depending on the agency or agent, they may or may not charge you a 'booking fee' on top of the airfare price, for their time. As there's virtually no markup on the cost of flights, they can't offer you a price to France that's any cheaper than from the airline, or from a search tool that properly searches the latest airfares.
When should I book a flight to France to get the best price?
This is never an easy question to answer, as airfares are not 100% predictable. Airlines start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see.
If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.
How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Personally though, I am usually not afraid to watch prices on the major airlines up to about 8 weeks before departure in hopes of a better price without fear of the price rising. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
What about last minute flight deals to France?
Last minute airfare deals to France on the major airlines don't really exist. Typical of most airfares on the major airlines, as you get fairly close to the departure date, if the airline has done their job correctly, and filled most of the seats on the plane, they feel the last remaining seats become more valuable, and often decide to raise the price.
What's a decent airfare price to France?
From Ottawa, flights to France tend to bottom out at around $850-$950 roundtrip after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year.
Airfare prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to France (such as dates when many people in Ottawa have vacation time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.
What about one way flights to France?
One-way flights to overseas international destinations on the major airlines can often be expensive. Sometimes they are even more than roundtrip flights, which may seem strange!
Charter airlines are where you'll find the best one way prices (50-60% of the roundtrip price), but unfortunately there are not any charter airlines currently offering flights to France from Ottawa. Montreal would be the closest city with charter airline options. You may want to read the guide: Montreal to France | How To Get The Best Flight Deals - to learn about possible options.
Or, you could consider taking a one way flight from Ottawa to another city in Europe using a charter airline, and taking another one way flight from there. You could look at Ottawa to London on Air Transat for example, combined with a cheap flight from London to Paris (or take the Chunnel).
You may want to read the guide: Ottawa to Europe | How To Get The Best Flight Deals - for other ideas.
What about direct flights to France from Ottawa?
There aren't any airlines currently offering direct flights to France from Ottawa. The fastest flights are typically in and out of Paris, with 1 stop each way, for 45 min to 2 hours. An example of this would be using Air Canada, with 1 stop in Montreal each way.
The total flight time to France from Ottawa, including layover time, with 1 stop flights such as those listed above, is around 8-10 hours each way.
The distance from Ottawa to France is approximately 5,600 km (3,500 miles).
The time difference between Ottawa and France is 6 hours. France is 6 hours ahead of Ottawa.
What about a multi-city flight? Such as into Paris and out of another city in France?
Searching for multi-city flights to France is still a bit of a pain. Even Google Explorer currently can't handle it, as there's too many possible combinations. I'm sure eventually someone (likely Google) will put enough processing power behind it and create something useful for searching multi-city fares.
But for now, you're stuck with searching one departure date at a time when it comes to multi-city fares and experimenting with different destination combinations. Most of the decent travel sites will offer a multi-city option (it should be right next to 'one-way' and 'round-trip').
Kayak would be my preferred option here. Just click on the 'multi-city' option and in the first box, enter in Ottawa to Paris (PAR), or whatever airport you want to fly into, and then in the second box, enter Nice (NCE) to Ottawa, or whatever airport you want to fly out of.
You never really know what you're going to get with a multi-city fare. It can often be around the same price as a typical roundtrip fare to the same destinations (or an average of the two). Sometimes it can be slightly more. In rare cases it can even be cheaper. Of course, you're still left with figuring out the cost of getting between the two airports.
One little trick I've learned with Kayak is to keep it on the 'roundtrip' option, and make your dates flexible (3 days before and after). And then in the 'To' box, enter up to a maximum of 4 destinations, using the 3 letter airport codes, separated by commas.
For example, you could enter: PAR, NCE, LYS, MRS into the box to search multi-city airfare combinations between Ottawa and Paris, Nice, Lyon, and Marseille.
This will search flights to all 4 of these popular French destinations at once, and look for cheap multi-city combinations into one city and out of another. Many of the results will just be the typical roundtrip flights, but when you scroll down the results, look for the airport codes that are highlighted in pink. These are the flights involving two different cities.
To use this method effectively, you need to get to know the 3 letter airport codes for the destinations you're interested in. Just Google the name of the city, followed by 'airport code' and you should be able to find it quite easily. (Google usually shows it at the top, or on the right hand side of the page).
What about finding a cheaper flight to France from Montreal?
Montreal has some of the cheapest flights to France from anywhere in North America. You may wish to read the guide Montreal to France | How To Get The Best Flight Deals to help you decide if they're cheap enough to be worth the drive from Ottawa for your dates.
What about low-cost flights to France from U.S. airports within driving distance of Ottawa?
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. airports within driving distance of Ottawa, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from a U.S. airport to France that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than from Ottawa.
How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each airport, to be worth the drive.
From Watertown, New York (ART)
I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from Watertown to France that's at least $250 less per person than a flight from Ottawa.
Typically though, international flights from Watertown are not usually cheaper than from Ottawa, as it is a smaller airport, and it's strengths are serving U.S. destinations.
From Syracuse, New York (SYR)
I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a flight from Syracuse to France that's at least $350 less per person than a flight from Ottawa.
It can definitely happen on occasion, with Syracuse airport serving a decent number of U.S. airlines. Typically though, flights to France from Syracuse are not significantly cheaper than they are from Ottawa.
I think I've found a great deal on a flight to France!
Excellent! Please share it with your fellow Ottawa travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YOW Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of travelers from Ottawa are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.
Why should I trust this Ottawa flight guide to France?
|The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other. |
The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so vacationers can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.
But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YOW Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!
I think I have some info that could help improve the Ottawa - France flight deal guide!
Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, make a comment below, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.
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