There were an estimated 34.4 million flights in 2023, so it’s no surprise that choosing the right airline can be challenging. For any given destination, there may be dozens of flight options.
You may have difficulty finding the best deal if you’re unfamiliar with many of them. After all, choosing a flight isn’t always about getting the cheapest price—you need to balance the quality of the service with your preferences to determine which deal is best. Sometimes, that means going through the checkout process to see how much airlines charge you for extras like choosing your seat, baggage, or a meal.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours looking up each airline because this guide is here to help! In it, we’ll share the best airlines to fly with on your trip from the USA to Europe. Learn what sets each one apart and get help selecting your next flight by reading the information below!
Getting Started: Key Factors in Choosing the Best Airline
Everyone is different, so what another person thinks is the best transatlantic airline may not be the right choice for you. If you prioritize comfort, you probably won’t be thrilled with your experience on a low-cost airline. But, if you want to maximize your shoestring budget, you may not mind sacrificing a few hours of comfort for the new adventure that awaits you at your destination.
The bottom line is that the best airline for you depends on your unique needs as a traveler. As you begin your quest for an airline, consider what factors matter most to you. Later, these will help you identify a good fit when searching for flights.
- Comfort: Consider seating arrangements, extra legroom, and cabin layout. Some airlines offer several classes, so you can choose one with the right comfort level without going over budget. Many long-haul flights also offer lay-flat seats in their most luxurious class. These first-class flatbeds are designed for those who want optimal comfort.
- Amenities: A seat-back entertainment system with a wide range of movies, shows, and music can make a big difference on a fifteen-hour flight. Watch five or six movies, and you’re practically at your destination! Nowadays, in-flight entertainment options and power outlets are standard, and WI-Fi is usually available for an extra cost. Providing a wide range of amenities is a sign that an airline cares about its passengers’ travel experience and makes the flight a lot more enjoyable.
- Pricing: Ticket prices can vary drastically across different airlines, especially if their pricing isn’t all that transparent. The base price might look great, but after you get through the check-out process, you may have to tack on hundreds of dollars in fees. It’s essential to consider this and the actual price before selecting an airline.
- Value for Money: The lowest-priced ticket isn’t always the best deal since they may lack some amenities that come with higher-priced fares. Better service, fewer layovers, free bags, or priority boarding are some of the perks that may make spending a little extra a good idea.
- Reliability: Not every airline is known for punctuality, safety, and in-flight service. You can read each airline’s customer satisfaction rating online to learn more about their track record. Friendly service, friendly gate agents, and accommodating flight attendants make traveling with an airline an easy experience.
- Frequency of Flight Schedules: Smaller airlines may offer great promotions but may not have the flight schedule you want, including nonstop routes. If you’re looking for direct flights, you’ll likely need to use a larger airline to have more flight options.
The Best Airlines to Europe from the USA
Now that you have a better idea of what you’d like from an airline, let’s look at some of our top choices.
Remember that the best airline for you may also depend on your destination. If you’re flying to England, British Airways may have the best deals. Delta is ideal for flights to Amsterdam, where it operates a hub. Meanwhile, American Airlines may be best in Spain thanks to its partnership with Iberia.
So, save this article if you plan on traveling often! It will help you pick an airline every time you travel to a new European city.
This Atlanta-based airline is renowned for exceptional service and commitment to serving the needs of all its passengers. From their competitive basic economy seats to the luxurious Delta One class, there really is something for everyone on Delta flights. Their business-class fares are in the middle, offering seats with footrests and extra amenities while staying within an affordable price range.
Customers positively review the airline’s customer service, especially since it provides numerous ways to get in touch, including online chat and text messages.
Moreover, Delta has an excellent track record of on-time flights and passenger safety. They even have safety and health protocols backed by science and enforced by each crew member.
Flying with them may be a good idea if you plan on departing from one of their hubs, which include:
- New York (JFK & LGA)
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Minneapolis (MSP)
- Detroit (DTW)
- Boston (BOS)
Most of their routes are within North America, but they have ample daily flights to many European countries, especially to their hubs in Amsterdam, Paris (Charles de Gaulle), and London (Heathrow).
American Airlines is the largest airline in the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the most popular airlines for transatlantic travel.
Thanks to their partnerships with several European airlines, they have a huge selection of flights operating daily to Europe. Even if you’re traveling to lesser-known European destinations, you can likely get a connecting flight with one of these partners:
- British Airways
Of course, American Airlines is also well-known for its great service and range of fares. Like Delta, they have lie-flat seats in their Flagship first class. There are also business and premium economy classes that give passengers more amenities. Even those in the main cabin can select seats with extra space for an additional fee.
Travelers flying from one of the following American Airlines hubs may find the best deals and direct flights to European cities. These include:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Chicago (ORD)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York (JFK & LGA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- Washington (DCA)
Many of these cities offer direct routes to Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
United Airlines is another American-based airline with a major place in the industry. Thanks to its extensive routes and services, those seeking a premium travel experience often select United. The airline’s main hubs are located in:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Denver (DEN)
- Guam (GUM)
- Houston (IAH)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Newark (EWR)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD)
If you prefer traveling from the above airports, you can likely find good deals to Frankfurt and London since these are two of United’s key airports within Europe.
The airline also offers three classes—basic economy, premium economy, and Polaris. The latter is United’s first class, which has lie-flat seats, WiFi, DirectTv, and fine dining.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is based in the Netherlands, but it has a global network that makes it possible for travelers to book round-trip flights from the USA to European cities.
KLM is especially attractive for passengers seeking a business-class experience. It eliminates the middle seat, so you always have window or aisle access. On long-haul flights, the airline also offers lie-flat seats. A Dutch chef designs all the meals, which you’ll enjoy along with champagne and other complementary beverages. One of the nice touches KLM offers is a miniature Dutch house souvenir, an iconic symbol of the Netherlands that will remind you of your lovely trip with KLM.
From their hub in Amsterdam, they serve 163 destinations in 70 countries, so it’s an excellent option for travelers who want to go beyond mainstream tourist destinations.
Lufthansa is a leading German airline based in Frankfurt. Anyone who has ever flown with the airline knows it has a modern fleet, excellent service, and comfortable seats, no matter what class you fly. Even in the economy class, you’ll be offered personal care products, a hot towel, and a delicious meal. These perks make the airline stand out as one that satisfies passengers’ expectations on every flight.
Of course, there are premium economy, business, and first-class experiences for those who want to go beyond the basics on their trip to Europe.
The airline flies direct from over a dozen cities, including Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Orlando, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, and more!
Of course, these five airlines just scratch the surface! There are plenty of other options if the ones mentioned above don’t serve your destination or meet your needs. At Business Class Experts, we work with a handful of other airlines, including:
- British Airways: This sophisticated airline partners with American Airlines, but booking directly with them for flights in and around Europe is often cheaper.
- Air France: Based out of Paris, this French airline can connect you with cities like Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse, or Montpellier. They also travel to many other European cities that may be harder to book directly from the United States.
- Air Canada: For travelers departing the U.S., Air Canada often has a layover in Canada before crossing the Atlantic. Yet, their prices and quality service make it an excellent choice for all sorts of budgets.
- Virgin Atlantic: Passengers interested in innovation and unique service enjoy Virgin Atlantic flights, which can be paired with tours of some of the best destinations in Europe.
- Swiss International Airlines: Based in Zurich, Swiss Air is sophisticated and connects passengers to more than 100 destinations!
- Alitalia: Travelers flying to Italy may find Alatalia’s diverse offerings appealing. Whether you’re headed to Florence, Palermo, Trieste, or Milan, hop on an Alitalia flight to get there in style!
- Turkish Airlines: Gaining popularity in recent years, Turkish Airlines is a hospitable and charming airline. Most of their flights to Europe have layovers in Istanbul, but if you’re headed that way, this is likely the best option.
Soar Across the Atlantic with Business Class Experts
Now that you know more about the best airlines to Europe from the USA, it’s time to start searching for fares! Search the airlines’ websites that stood out to you in this article or use a flight search engine to compare them all at once. Remember to use the tips on our blog, as these can help you score the most affordable prices.
Whether you’re set on a specific airline or open to any, Business Class Experts can help you find the best deal. Contact us today for a personalized quote!