Booking (Cheap) Flights to Barcelona
Fancy a holiday in Barcelona? Well you're in luck. Over eighty airlines fly to Spain's second biggest city from every corner of the globe, so there's certainly no obstacle getting here on the logistics front. Booking a cheap flight is of course a different matter, but there are still plenty of options with the popularity of Barcelona meaning the budget airlines are always fighting to open new routes.
The most reliably cheap is probably Ryanair, especially if you don't need to check any bags into the hold (for which they charge a particularly fruity premium). Be wary however as the Irish airline is more likely to drop you off at Reus Airport or Girona Airport rather than Barcelona's El Prat Airport. Both are over an hour by bus and a return coach ticket is around 25 euros - so be sure to factor this into your sums! Nonetheless with a vast spread of destinations they are probably the first point of call for anyone looking for a cut-price deal.
Easyjet are also major carriers to BCN with cheap flights to and from London (Gatwick, Stansted and Luton), Bristol and Newcastle as well as the likes of Amsterdam and Paris, and they'll at least do you the courtesy of dropping you off in Barcelona proper!
Other budget airlines operating include Jet2 (from Leeds Bradford), Monarch (from Manchester and London), Wizzair and Germanwings.
One cheap airline that you may not have heard off is Spanish company Vueling, who offer great deals from Barcelona to other destinations in Spain and all around Europe. In 2013 they also added their first routes to the UK, so you can now book a seat to and from London and Edinburgh.
If you're not lucky enough to be in line with a budget route, or you're an old school flyer who demands ample leg room, free drinks and a bad movie on every flight, then you can still shop around the websites of the likes of Iberia, Spannair, British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta, Air Europa, United Airlines and Continental.
Another rogue option would be to look for cheap flights to other locations in Spain. As mentioned earlier Ryanair fly to both Girona and Reus, whilst Wizzair also flies into Girona from East European destinations like Budapest and Katowice (near Krakow, Poland).
Frequent flyers know that booking flights earlier (we suggest looking a minimum of one month, more if possible, before you plan to visit) can mean getting drastically reduced rates, as can flying mid-week, whereas you can get stung pretty bad these days if you leave it to the last minute, and obviously arriving on Friday night and leaving Sunday evening is always going to work out more expensive!
A quick way to save time and money is to use a flight comparison website, such as Cheapflights. They compare prices on conventional carriers, plus agencies like LastMinute.com and Expedia, and even if they don't always factor in all the budget airlines, they let you know at least if Ryanair, for example, flies that route so you can check for yourself. Such sites are particularly handy if you're flying from the likes of the US or Australia, and need to find a long-haul ticket, as prices can vary a lot.
Getting From The Airport(s) to the City
If you've already got your tickets and want more info on airport transfers then check out our article on getting to the city centre from Barcelona airport. You've got plenty of options from public transport like the train and aerobus, to taxis and private vehicles. (Hint: we've also got similar articles on Girona transfers and Reus transfers).
Flew Monarch recently from London. Sensible arrival and departure times and they went from Gatwick which was great. Lots of babies and one stag party meant for two noisy legs, but can't really blame the airline for that. One thing - they charge you extra to book online! So you have to check in at the desk (just need your passport) to get your boarding card, even if you're just carrying hand luggage.
reviewed by Sinclair from United Kingdom on Nov.13.2013