Europe, the home of the Matterhorn, Oktoberfest, the Eiffel Tower, the Prado and so many more famous places. Whether you want to visit France, Italy or Sweden, you are most likely going to have to fly there. And so it’s important to know what are the best airlines with which you can fly to Europe.
Well if you haven’t already been to Europe, what in the world are you waiting for? Summer is the perfect time to visit, especially if you were looking for a seaside vacation – I hear Croatia is particularly popular this time of year. But the Swiss Alps are also incredibly appealing if you need to get away from the heat.
Whatever country you choose from, you will be able to find a flight to it from one of the airlines below. The biggest question is, where you are flying from, and when?
Before you book that flight, read about the best airlines to travel to Europe, from anywhere else in the world!
Related: See our big list or Airplane captions for Instagram
Well they all can’t be European airlines, can they?! We’ll check out a couple more airlines that offer flights from all over the world to pretty much everywhere in Europe.
Two things to note: These are airlines whose hubs are not located in Europe, and one of them is an American airline – one of the best choices for any traveler from the US reading this.
Qatar Airways is a little like Emirates (below) as they offer insanely top-notch service (5 star they called it) backed by big money from the oil-rich Arabian Peninsula. The one time I flew with Qatar I was amazed at all the little things they keep in mind like hot towels before and after meals, snacks just when you need them, constant attention to drinks service, top-notch entertainment systems with electronics charging.
And the surprising thing is they are actually not any more expensive than the standard European and US carriers!
The great news is that you can benefit from their flights direct to many a European capital straight from some of the biggest hubs in the USA.
And their destinations in Europe include just about every country you could imagine, including Eastern Europe:
Qatar Airways has similar luggage rules to most of the carriers, which are actually quite generous if you are flying from the USA. The standard check-in for Economy is 25kg (55lb) outside the Americas, but you get 2 pieces (23kg/50lb each) if you from the USA, Canada or Africa.
Hand luggage is always 1 piece limited to one piece (7kg/15lb).
Emirates is a great airline to travel to Europe – if you are not flying in from the US. There is currently one flight to Europe, from New York to Milan, and if you were headed to Italy then great! But generally, you could fly to Dubai (their hub is there), and catch a flight to pretty much anywhere in Europe from there.
Even though they aren’t the best choice if you are flying from the States, they are a great choice if you are flying from Australia or New Zealand, unlike most other European airlines. And their excellent service makes them not only a favorite among frequent flyers but also one of the top airlines in the world.
And they are also one of the safest airlines in the world. There were three reported accidents in the last 15 years that included aircraft from this airline, but none of them were fatal.
To Europe With Emirates From:
As I said, you can pretty much fly to Europe from anywhere in the world, apart from North America. In any case, be sure to check out the map of all of their destinations. It’s pretty cool – you can choose a city that you are flying from, and you’ll see where you can fly to.
For in cabin baggage, Economy Class passengers are allowed one piece of luggage, that doesn’t weigh more than 7 kilos (15 pounds). Business Class and First Class passengers can bring in two pieces of luggage, one carry on bag (the dimensions are below) and one briefcase.
Maximum Carry On Size: 5538 20
Emirates’ policy for checked baggage is another thing that makes them such a popular and loved airline. There are weight limits for each passenger class, but every passenger is allowed to check up to 10 pieces of baggage, provided that they are within that class’ weight limit.
However, there are certain exceptions to that rule, and it doesn’t apply to all flights. But you can read more about their baggage allowances on their website.
For Economy Class passengers, that limit is 30-35 kilos (depending on the fare type), for Business Class passengers the weight limit is 40 kilos, and it’s 50 kilos for First Class passengers.
Of course, this only applies to Emirates flights. If your flight to Europe includes switching airlines at any point, different rules will apply and you should be prepared for that.
Obviously, your best choice is going to be a European airline. That’s because you are more likely to get a direct flight to your destination, even from countries that are as far away as Japan or Brazil. So, we are going to check out some of the best European airlines first, the ones that offer flights to many different non-European destinations and even some budget flights to Europe directly.
Lufthansa is a German airline that has been operating since the early fifties. In the 60+ years that this airline has existed, they have certainly learned from their mistakes and really made sure that the service they provide is top notch (you might even get some freebies like a hot towel or face mask).
It’s one of the few European airlines that offer flights to nearly every country in the world, with flights to over 193 international destinations – not even counting the flights to European cities.
One of the cool things about Lufthansa is that they haven’t had a fatal accident since 1993 – excluding the Germanwings 2015 accident, even though Lufthansa is their parent company.
Bottom line, Lufthansa is probably the safest European airline to travel with.
To Europe With Lufthansa From:
You can check out the entire map of places they fly to on their official website.
In Economy and Lufthansa Premium Economy classes, you are allowed to bring one piece of carry on luggage (up to 8 kilos or 17 pounds) free of charge. In Business Class and First Class, you are allowed to bring two such pieces of luggage for free.
Carry On Max Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
For checked baggage, the rules are a little bit different.
If you are flying Economy Class, then you are allowed one piece of checked luggage (up to 23 kilos/ 50lbs). In Economy Premium Class and Business Class you can bring along two such pieces of luggage, while the First Class allows you to bring three! And obviously, if your checked suitcase exceeds the 50lb limit, you will have to pay some additional fares.
And there is also the Economy Light class, which will interest you if you are flying from North America. Basically, this class offers the cheapest tickets from the USA and Canada to Europe, but with the baggage rule that you can bring only one piece of carry on luggage for free. If you want to check even one larger suitcase, you are going to have to pay about 23EUR for it.
Turkish Airlines is another huge European company. They offer flights to over 300 destinations, but half of those are in Europe. And they have won Europe’s Best Airline Award 6 times in a row, which has to count for something.
In terms of the safety of the airline and the statistics, they aren’t as safe as Lufthansa. The last fatal passenger crash of this airline was in 2009, which isn’t that long ago.
However, most passengers on that flight survived, which can’t be said for the ones who were in the 2003 crash. The last fatal crash of this airline, which included no passengers (cargo plane), was just last year.
But, you have to keep in mind that this is one of the most popular airlines in Europe and even wider. A crash 9 years ago is certainly not a reason to avoid them, especially when you consider how many of their planes land safely every day to places all over the world.
To Europe With Turkish Airlines From:
Unfortunately, there are no flights to Europe from Australia and New Zealand. Anyway, you can see the map of all the destinations they fly to on their official website.
Fun fact about this airline – they do not have a First Class option, only Economy and Business!
So, there are fewer baggage rules, and they are pretty straightforward. And, I should also tell you that most of their baggage rules depend on where you are flying to. Some flights apply the baggage kilo concept, and others apply the baggage piece concept. The latter allows you to bring more luggage with you, so opt for that one!
You can bring along one carry on in Economy Class, and you can bring two in Business Class. Provided that they weigh less than 8 kilos each.
Maximum Carry On Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
Obviously, it’s a little bit different when talking about checked baggage. Turkish Airlines also has a specific set of rules about flights to and from the US, in which they allows two pieces of checked baggage per traveller, both in Economy Class and Business Class.
The main difference? If you are flying Business, your suitcases can weigh up to 32 kilos. If you are flying Economy, then your checked luggage shouldn’t exceed the 23-kilo limit. Cruel, I know.
For other international flights, there is that kilo-piece of baggage difference. If your flight applies the kilo concept, you can’t bring along more than 20 kilos of luggage in Economy, and 30 in Business Class.
On the other hand, if your flight applies the baggage piece concept, you are in luck – the rules are pretty much the same as the ones for US flights. Passengers from both the Economy and Business Class are allowed two pieces of checked baggage each. The maximum weight limit for a single piece of baggage is 23 kilos for the Economy Class, and 32 for the Business Class.
A fun fact about this airline is that they were taken over by Lufthansa a few years earlier. And, just like Lufthansa, they are one of the safest airlines in Europe, with no fatal accidents in the last 17+ years. In fact, the last fatal crash of this airline was all the way back in 2001, which seems like a lifetime ago.
Obviously, this is a Swiss airline. And just like anything Swiss, they are pretty close to being perfect. But their very attractive prices are actually very un-Swiss of them! Yes, you can get a great deal for any popular country in Europe, especially if you book in advance.
To Europe With Swiss International Air Lines From:
Generally, SWISS operates in Europe, Asia and the Americas. They offer no flights to and from Australia and New Zealand, and you can check out all the places they fly to on their webpage.
Unlike Turkish Airlines, SWISS offers first-class tickets, which also means that they have a few more luggage rules.
In the Economy Class, you can bring one piece of carry on luggage inside the cabin. In the Business Class and First Class, you can bring along two carry ons, provided that they don’t exceed the 8 kilo limit.
Maximum Carry On Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
The rules are somewhat different when looking at checked baggage. First of all, there is an Economy Light class on select flights, which offers really cheap tickets but doesn’t allow a single piece of checked baggage for free – only carry ons.
In the regular Economy Class, each passenger is allowed one piece of checked luggage, that weighs up to 23 kilos. In the Business Class, you can check two suitcases that weigh 32 kilos each (so 64 kilos max), while the First Class allows three pieces of checked baggage, as long as each one weighs up to 32 kilos (96 kilo max).
If you are planning on moving to Europe, I would definitely suggest you splurge out for the First Class ticket – the baggage fees alone would make it worth it! :>
Naturally, the best airline for flying from the US to Europe is going to be an American airline. Actually, it’s the airline – if you are traveling from the United States to Europe, your best option is flying with American Airlines.
They might not be the safest airline out there, but they haven’t had any serious accidents in the last 15 years, and no fatal ones since the horrible event in New York in 2001. There were a few minor incidents, but no passengers or crew members were killed or seriously injured in them.
Obviously, the airline operates mainly in the US, so most of their flights are from the US or to it. There are very few flights that go from one non-US country to another, and you can see an entire map of their flight destinations on their official page.
This particular airline offers several different passenger classes, all of which have their own baggage rules. If you are flying as a Basic Economy passenger, you are allowed to bring in one personal item and nothing else.
Personal Item Dimensions: 45 x 35 x 20 cm
Maximum Carry On Dimensions: 56 x 36 x 23 cm
Passengers of all other classes are allowed to bring in one personal item, along with one carry on.
When it comes to their policies regarding checked baggage, they are a little bit more complicated. I would definitely advise you to check out the entire thing, because different rules apply to different countries and different passenger classes. Sometimes you won’t be charged a fee for checking three bags, but other times you will have to pay a fee for your second bag.
But generally when flying transatlantic (from the US to Europe), the first bag you check is free (unless you are flying Basic Economy). The second bag is another $100, third and all other are $200. And of course, you have to stay within the weight limit of your class, which is 23 kilos for Economy (Premium Economy and Main Cabin), and 32 kilos for Business and First Class.
I don’t know what your Europe itinerary is – do you want to fly into Paris or Madrid and stay there for a week, or do you plan on exploring as many countries as possible? If it’s the latter, then I have to tell you about Wizz Air – the cheapest airline in Europe. And probably the safest, since they have never had a fatal accident.
Maybe you are already familiar with them, maybe not – if you are from the US then probably not, since they don’t fly there. This airline operates mostly across Europe, with a few flights to destinations in Africa and the Middle East. And if you were planning to fly from one European country to another anyway, they are your cheapest option.
Why are they the cheapest? Well, the ticket includes a seat and one carry on and that’s it. You have to pay additional fees for everything else, including food and beverage. But honestly, do you need anything else on a 2-hour flight? I don’t think so. And just imagine all the money you could save!
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.