To the US and Back, our plans for summer 2016
With many teachers and expats leaving the UAE in the summer for obvious reasons (HEAT), flights start to book up early out of the UAE as people plan their summer holidays. Many Americans here have warned us to book our tickets back home as early as possible, especially for a family that needs to travel together, as flights fill up and prices spike. After a few weeks of browsing options, we booked our travel back home planning for stops in Europe each way. Our itinerary will take us to London for 10 days, then to Detroit to spend a month with family and friends in both Ohio and Michigan through mid August. We will then leave Detroit and stopover in Amsterdam for 4 days before heading back to Abu Dhabi. We were able to add on vacations as stopovers in Europe by booking “multi-city” tickets rather than simple round trips. We were intent on stopping over in Europe for a couple of reasons; the first being that we wanted to breakup the flight with the hopes of easing in to jet lag by essentially cut the trip in ½ and giving ourselves the change to adjust to the time difference; and secondly, we wanted to take advantage of time off to explore Europe in the summer.
A great resource for finding flights and comparing prices is Google Flights which allows its users to search thousands of destinations, compare price points, and filter out what is and is not important based on your travel situation. When we started our search we had a lot flexibility in choosing our flights, as details including our dates of travel, origin airport, and stopover airport on both sides, and even the exact number of days we needed to be in our destination were up in the air. Neither did we have any preference as to which airlines we flew for the most part, as we were most concerned about getting a good price on the flights. Having so much flexibility in travel allowed us to search a lot of dates, locations, and times.
For a few weeks we searched around looking at stopovers in Prague, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, and Helsinki. After playing with the best times and dates we went with an itinerary of Dubai – London where we will spend 10 days in the UK with stops booked in London, York, and Edinburgh. We will then fly London-Detroit and spend a little under a month in the US. Returning to Abu Dhabi in August we will fly Detroit – Amsterdam and spend three nights in Amsterdam before finally departing Amsterdam to Dubai to return home in time for Tony’s first day to report back to school. These flights would have cost approximately $7,000 for the three of us had we booked through Delta’s website, however the same flights booked through KLM cost a total of $3,916. KLM and Delta are both Skyteam Alliance members which means that the two airlines codeshare and have access to each other’s databases to book flights. We were able to book our flights directly from Google Flights by clicking on the afflilate link to book with KLM online. While the research up front did take a lot of time, the actual booking process was quick and efficient, we were able to do everything online from payment to seat selection. Most importantly, we were able to find the flights that work best of us at a great price for such extensive travel.