Aeroplan’s Mini-RTW – Part 3 – Airlines with No Fuel Surcharge - Europe

Aeroplan’s Mini-RTW – Part 3 – Airlines with No Fuel Surcharge - Europe
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Aeroplan's Mini-RTW

Through the first two parts of the mini-RTW series, we have taken a look at the rules associated with the redemption as well as how to actually get enough points to redeem for these incredible trips.  Now that you have an idea of the rules and the number of Aeroplan miles you need, it should be pretty easy to book your flight right?

Well yes and no.

If you just went out and looked for flights to your 3 destinations and stayed within the rules of the mini-RTW, you would be able to book a valid itinerary fairly easily but you may be shocked at the price of the ticket due to the extremely high fuel/carrier surcharge, which is known in the industry as YQ.

Today, we look at how we can avoid these high YQ airlines and focus on airlines that can get you to Europe for very little out of pocket cost.  I will focus on other areas of the globe in the next parts of the series as I can fully appreciate that there are many people that would rather travel to places outside of Europe.

Structure

I, like many of you, would rather have as few connections as possible to get to your final destination, so I will be focusing on the finding the best possible route to Europe through each major Canadian city.

In terms of which airline you should fly, it’s going to come down to personal preference and availability.  If you are lucky enough to have a choice of no YQ airlines to fly to Europe, I would encourage you to watch a few YouTube reviews on the airline to see if it’s right for you.

I won’t be going into depth about Fuel/Carrier Surcharge (YQ) but if you want some more background, please refer to my previous post on the subject.

I will go through each major Canadian city and provide some options to get to Europe.  I’m not claiming that this is a complete list but I’ll try to give you some solid options and hopefully, you can extrapolate from there.

I will also refer to cities using their IATA code so if you don’t know them, I would encourage you to learn them but until you do, you can refer to the IATA city and airline lookup tool.

Key Airlines to Europe

The following are key airlines that do not charge fuel surcharge, their IATA code (in brackets) and the cities in North America that they have a direct flight to with Canadian cities bolded.

Brussels_Airlines_logo.svg

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Washington (IAD)
  • New York (JFK)

SAS-Scandinavian-Airlines-Logo.svg

  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Washington (IAD)
  • New York (EWR)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Miami (MIA)

Swiss International Airlines logo 2011

  • Montreal (YUL) 
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • New York (JFK)
  • New York (EWR)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Miami (MIA)

Turkish_Airlines_logo.svg

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Montreal (YUL) 
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Washington (IAD)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Miami (MIA)

1280px-United_Airlines_Logo.svg

 

 

  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Washington (IAD)
  • New York (EWR)

Canadian City Suggested Routings

Let’s take a look at some of the routings that I would look at to get to Europe from each major Canadian city.  I will give a bit of commentary for each city so you understand my train of thought.  We’ll go from west to east and look at the major Canadian markets.  I apologize in advance if I didn’t include your city but hopefully, you’ll start to understand how to think about the problem and look for routes that work for you.

I won’t spell it out for each city but you can obviously connect from your Canadian city to Toronto or Montreal to catch a Brussels Airlines, Swiss or Turkish flight out but you will do so on Air Canada, which will attract fuel/carrier surcharge (YQ).  Depending on whether or not you want to fly the aforementioned airlines, you can make the call as to whether it is worth it or not.

Personally, I would choose any of those airlines over United but that’s a personal choice and I have not had a chance to try out United’s new Business Class product, Polaris, which could be a game changer.

Once you get to Europe, finding flights that can get to your chosen city is pretty easy, so our primary concern is getting across the Atlantic Ocean.

Vancouver (YVR)

If you want to go to Europe from Vancouver, your best bet is to connect to a United hub such as San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH) or Chicago (ORD).  You would fly United all the way but your taxes would be extremely low.

United (UA)
YVR-SFO-LHR/CDG/FRA
YVR-LAX-LHR
YVR-DEN-FRA/MUC
YVR-IAH-LHR/AMS/FRA/MUC
YVR-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO

Calgary (YYC)

This is probably gonna get pretty repetitive but if you are in the west, you are probably best off going with United, though I have flown to Montreal (YUL) to connect to Turkish Airlines on my way to Istanbul.

United (UA)
YYC-SFO-LHR/CDG/FRA
YYCDEN-FRA/MUC
YYC-IAH-LHR/AMS/FRA/MUC
YYC-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO

Edmonton (YEG)

If you live in Edmonton, your choices are limited … very limited.  Luckily, Houston affords many options to the rest of Europe and you can get to Frankfurt (FRA) or Munich (MUC) through Denver.  Connecting through Montreal or Toronto is always an option.

United (UA)
YEG-IAH-LHR/AMS/FRA/MUC
YEGDEN-FRA/MUC

Regina (YQR)

If you live in Regina, you basically have no choice but to connect to another Canadian city to get to Europe.  Your best bet here is to connect through Toronto to get your overwater flight.  Unfortunately, you will be paying fuel surcharge on Air Canada no matter what option you choose.

Air Canada (AC) and Turkish Airlines (TK)
YQR-YYZ-IST

Air Canada (AC) and Brussels Airlines (SN)
YQR-YYZ-BRU

Winnipeg (YWG)

Winnipeg is decently connected to the United network through Denver and Chicago.  Chicago affords more options so you have a lot of options and routes to look for.

United (UA)
YWGDEN-FRA/MUC
YWG-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO

Toronto (YYZ)

Being in the Centre of the Universe affords you a LOT of choices.  In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a better location to be based in Canada.  Not only do you have access to Brussels Airlines and Turkish for a direct flight to Europe, you also have access to United’s network out of New York (EWR), which basically can connect you to anywhere in Europe.

Brussels Airlines (SN)
YYZ-BRU

Turkish Airlines (TK)
YYZ-IST

United Airlines (UA)
YYZ-DEN-FRA/MUC
YYZ-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO
YYZ-IAH-LHR/AMS/FRA/MUC
YYZ-IAD-DUB/MAN/LHR/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/FCO/MAD
YYZ-EWR-OSL/ARN/GLA/EDI/BFS/DUB/MAN/BHX/LHR/HAM/TXL/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/MXP/VCE/FCO/BCN/MAD/LIS

Ottawa (YOW)

While Ottawa does not have any direct flights to Europe, it is well located so you can get there with one connection.  Both Toronto and Montreal are quick flights if you want to pay a little bit of money in taxes to fly with Swiss, Turkish or Brussels Airlines.  If you are okay with United, you are blessed with choice.

United Airlines (UA)
YYZ-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO
YYZ-IAD-DUB/MAN/LHR/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/FCO/MAD
YYZ-EWR-OSL/ARN/GLA/EDI/BFS/DUB/MAN/BHX/LHR/HAM/TXL/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/MXP/VCE/FCO/BCN/MAD/LIS

Montreal (YUL)

If you are based out of Montreal, you have the good fortune of being able to fly with Swiss Airlines or Turkish directly to Europe.  Both airlines are amazing and I would jump at the chance to fly either to Europe.  If you can’t find availability, you can always connect through Chicago, Washington or New York and get pretty much anywhere in Europe.

Swiss Airlines (LX)
YUL-ZRH

Turkish Airlines (TK)
YUL-IST

United Airlines (UA)
YUL-ORD-LHR/AMS/BRU/CDG/FRA/MUC/FCO
YUL-IAD-DUB/MAN/LHR/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/FCO/MAD
YUL-EWR-OSL/ARN/GLA/EDI/BFS/DUB/MAN/BHX/LHR/HAM/TXL/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/MXP/VCE/FCO/BCN/MAD/LIS

Halifax (YHZ)

As much as I hate backtracking, it makes a lot of sense if you live in Halifax … also, you don’t have a choice unless you want to pay fuel surcharge with Air Canada.  Your best bet here is to fly with United to New York (EWR).

United Airlines (UA)
YHZ-EWR-OSL/ARN/GLA/EDI/BFS/DUB/MAN/BHX/LHR/HAM/TXL/AMS/BRU/FRA/CDG/MUC/ZRH/GVA/MXP/VCE/FCO/BCN/MAD/LIS

St John’s (YYT)

Unfortunately, if you live in St John’s, you are very limited in what you can do to get to Europe.  There are no United flights in or out of St John’s so you need to fly Air Canada to Toronto or Montreal

Air Canada (AC) and Turkish Airlines (TK)
YYT-YYZ-IST

Air Canada (AC) and Brussels Airlines (SN)
YYT-YYZ-BRU

Air Canada (AC) and Swiss Airlines (LX)
YYT-YUL-ZRH

Air Canada (AC) and Turkish Airlines (TK)
YUL-YYZ-IST

Conclusion

I hope you are starting to see that there are a lot of options to start your mini-RTW if you want to get to Europe.  Each Canadian city has its options and access to many routes without fuel surcharge.

As I have preached through my other posts, getting across the ocean is the most important aspect of piecing together your itinerary as it is the toughest leg to find availability on due to the limited number of daily flights.  It should be the first thing you look for as you are putting together your itinerary as the connector flights within Europe are infinitely easier to find.

I know that this post strictly talks about finding the first leg in your route to Europe but hopefully you can now start to see how many choices adding a connecting city like New York (EWR) provides you.  Keep that in mind as a backup option.

Up Next

In the next post, we’ll examine how to get to Asia using the same methodology for getting to Europe.  I am on the fence right now for whether or not to provide as much detail for continents like Africa, Australia or South America so let me know in the comments if you really want this level of detail for those continents.

Series Navigation<< Aeroplan’s Mini-RTW – Part 2 – PointsAeroplan’s Mini-RTW – Part 4 – Airlines with No Fuel Surcharge – Asia >>

Also published on Medium.

6 Comments
  1. Yes, Please cover Africa and South America for the RTW. Any way Australia/NZ can be included in an Aeroplan RTW? Been wanting to go to Australia/NZ forever. I did sign up for the MBNA Alaska card using your link 🙂

    1. Hi Roshan,

      Thanks for signing up for your Alaska card with my referral! It really helps out the blog.

      I will try to cover off Africa and South America for you guys. Cheers

      Jayce

  2. The bold is missing: “The following are key airlines that do not charge fuel surcharge, their IATA code (in brackets) and the cities in North America that they have a direct flight to with Canadian cities bolded.”

  3. Hi Jay, I started reading this redemption series on Mini-RTW again as i successfully accumulated desired points (160k) through your links as well as other recommended links.
    No matter how many times i reread the MPM post, i am still getting confused may be becoz of the destination (VTZ).

    Basically my actual destination is VTZ (India) and origin is YYZ (Toronto) and Dates are Dec 7th to Jan 14th (Not sure if its too late to find the J class but taking my chances for this time period).

    My first dilemma is to find an itinerary via west coast route (NRT due AC no YQ fees) or east coast (Brussels, Turkey due to no YQ).

    I am flexible with dates and open for any stop over /Lay overs to maximize the value of the trip as long as i can stay at my VTZ destination from Dec 15th to Jan 14th).
    I am not able to come up with decent itinerary without breaking the MPM and not sure why i am not able to understand.

    Really appreciate if you can through some sample itineraries from where i can start searching for award space.
    Thanks in advance

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