La Tania Flying Guide
All the Ski Flights information you need
Carriers and routes change all the time - Bmibaby, SnowJet, Go, Buzz, Duo, EUJet, BA Connect, MyTravelLite, Excel and FlyGlobespan have all now disappeared. Note that many routes only operate in peak Winter season too.
You're all old enough to realise that schedules change frequently. This is just a guide to assist you and focuses on flights during the main part of the Winter season - many routes don't run in Summer at all and some don't get going fully until January with additional flights at peak holiday times.
Usually you're going to arrive in either Geneva, Lyon, Chambéry, or Grenoble airports. Turin Airport is also possible but at 4 hours and through the expensive Fréjus tunnel it's not really an option. There is also Annecy Airport where you can fly from Paris Orly Ouest and the option of flying in to the Altiport at Courchevel 1850 or Méribel if you're loaded! St. Etienne airport is no longer user by Ryanair from the UK (they fly their from Porto!) and there are occasionally flights to/from Paris Orly Ouest with TwinJet.
For further details of all the airports, their locations, travel times and transfer information including driving directions, car hire, private transfers, bus & rail links etc check out the La Tania Transfer Page.
Comparison Websites - good for checking multiple routes
skyscanner.net to compare the cheap flights on offer. It includes most of the low cost airlines and the map page is very useful in seeing where you can fly from.
travelsupermarket.com cheap flights finder has it's One Search technology to check multiple agents and airlines at the same time.
flightmapping.com displays all routes to everywhere from the UK.
The No Frills Operators - Now generally on sale from the end of March for the following Winter
To Geneva daily from Bournemouth (not Tue/Wed), Birmingham (not Tue), Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Newcastle (not Tue), Belfast (not Tue/Wed), Leeds (not Tue/Wed), Glasgow (Sat/Sun only) and now Southend (Fri/Sat/Sun)
Also to Geneva from all over Europe such as Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Crete, Dubrovnic, Hamburg, Ibiza, Madrid, Mykonos, Nantes, Nice, Malaga, Lisbon, Olbia, Paris, Palma, Prague, Pristina, Sharm El Sheikh, Copenhagen, Stockholme, Tel Aviv, Toulouse and Rome.
To Grenoble from Luton (Fri/Sat/Sun) and Gatwick (daily except Tue/Wed) with Sat (& some Sunday) flights from Stansted, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool.
To Lyon from Gatwick (daily), Stansted (daily except Tue), Edinburgh (Wed/Sat), Bristol (Sat/Sun) and loads of European destinations including Biarritz, Barcelona, Bordeaux and Brussels.
*On 12 Nov 2009 easyJet announced IATA sized hand baggage (56x45x25cm which is up from 55x40x20cm) and on-line check-in for those with hold baggage too.
Flybe (British European) - WINTER 2014 ON SALE FROM 20 MARCH 2013
Direct to Chambéry from Southampton (Sat/Sun), Exeter (Sat/Sun), Birmingham (Sat), East Midlands (Sat) and new for Winter 2014 is Bristol.
Direct to Geneva from Southampton (Sat/Sun), Exeter (Sat), Jersey (Sat), and the Isle of Man (Sat) and new for Winter 2014 is Inverness.
New for 2013/14 - Southampton to Grenoble
New for 2013/14 Birminghamto Lyon
Beware of their ski length restrictions on certain flights:
Flybe may use Bombardier Q400 (78-seat, twin-turboprops) and Embraer 195 planes (118-seat, twin-jet engine) so read the small print - they are sometimes limited in the number of sets of skis they can carry too so always pre-book sports equipment. Note no Debit Card charges and non-direct bookings via Paris, Southampton etc. can also be made.
To Geneva from Leeds/Bradford (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon), Manchester (Sat/Sun), Belfast (Sat) and Glasgow (Sat/Sun).
To Chambéry from Leeds/Bradford (Sat/Sun), Manchester (Sat/Sun), Newcastle (Sat) and Edinburgh (Sat). Some additional flights at peak times too.
To Chambéry (Sun) and Geneva (Sat) from East Midlands
To Grenoble from Manchester (Sat/Sun) and Leeds (Sat)
Welcome back to Monarch - at last serving Ski destinations once again for Winter 2013.
Flying to Grenoble from Birmingham (Thu/Sat/Sun), Leeds (Mon/Thu/Sat), Manchester (Mon/Thu/Sat) and Gatwick (a very useful Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon although all early morning flights).
Note the base prices displayed are without all taxes and fees included - something the other airlines are moving away from.
A later announcement than their competitors but RyanAir will fly to Grenoble from Stansted (Wed/Sat) and Dublin (Sat) for Winter 2013.
They do still fly to St Etienne from Porto (Wed/Fri/Sun)!
Get in early and they still sometimes have those 1p each way flights plus at least £35 of taxes, charges, fuel supplements, additional insurance, security charges, airport upgrade fees etc etc then add on the hold baggage charges (an unreasonable 15kg limit or buy a more expensive 20kg limit), advanced boarding, exit seats reservations, manual check-in charges, ridiculous credit & debit card charges (£12 per return flight), food & drink and ski, snowboard & boots carriage fees. Oh and forget to print out your boarding pass and that's another £60. Hand baggage has a 10kg limit last time we checked and they do get stroppy about exact cabin bag size, which is 55x40x20cm and not the IATA standard of 56x45x25cm.
However playing the game by their rules and we did manage a GBL - EMA on the No Taxes promotion. €3.75 ALL IN (hand baggage only, on-line check-in, Ryanair Cash Passport etc ) on a Saturday in 2009. Understand the rules, accept what you're getting and some great prices are available.
Turin from Stansted could be an option if you're desperate - it's a 4 hour drive via the Fréjus tunnel (about another €25 each way if we remember rightly).
New for Winter 2013 from Stansted is a useful Wednesday night 7:30pm flight to Grenoble with plenty of £22 fares one-way it could be useful for a long weekend (plus £6 debit card or free with Ryanair Cash Passport). Of course optional baggage, ski transport, priority boarding, seat reservations, insurance, cabin bag purchase, car hire, hotels etc are the extras you need to avoid purchasing unless necessary!
Sep 2012: Latest baggage charges:
Now at the airport at peak times (like Christmas) 1st 15kg Bag £100, 2nd Bag (boots!) £135, Skis £60 and then if you hadn't printed your boarding pass more than 4 hours before your flights another £60. Now that's each-way, per person so for 2 return that would be a massive £950 extra you'd be charged at check-in.
For comparison off peak, booked on-line, take one 20kg Bag £25 & Skis £50 (and print out boarding pass!), the costs for 2 return would therefore be £300. Of course you can hire a canny pair of skis for £100 a week....
Thomson Flights which merged with First Choice Flights now really focus on charter flights. They had scheduled ThomsonFly services to Grenoble from Bournemouth and to Geneva from Doncaster and Coventry but basically they only fly to the Med, Canaries and Red Sea. There are lots of Thomson Charters going in to Chambéry now and flight only fares may be available.
Hapag-Lloyd Express - fly to Geneva from Cologne/Bonn. They fly to Cologne/Bonn from Manchester or possibilities exist to use in conjunction with GermanWings from Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh or Air Berlin from other parts of Europe.
With all of the budget airlines you've got to get in quick to get the cheap fares! Occasionally there are sales but easyJet will refund (with a voucher) any difference if their fare gets cheaper.
Major Scheduled Airlines Options - Usually bookable about a year in advance
fly from London several times a day to Geneva from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airport. Also to Lyon from Heathrow (daily). Winter 2102 prices started from Gatwick-Geneva at £49 one-way including taxes.
Can often be cheaper that the no frills lot when booking at short notice or for flights on Saturdays a year in advance. They don't charge for seat reservations, credit cards, advanced boarding, hold baggage, manual check-in, snacks and skis / boards / sports equipment - although may do now on some routes.
SWISS International Air Lines UK - fly to Geneva from London City (6 daily - 4 daily from 10 Jan 2010)) and Manchester (Sat/Sun) with prices from under £100 return if booked early enough. From 10 January 2010 Swiss will operate daily Heathrow - Geneva flights up to 6 times a day. Also from London City, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham & Dublin daily via Zurich.
Always worth checking out their prices.
Air France UK - fly to Lyon from Heathrow & Gatwick direct. Decent fares also available via Paris from many regional UK airports. Can sometimes use a combined rail/air ticket using the fast Paris/Lyon connection.
Generally Air France domestic flights purchased in advance are a good deal (Paris - Lyon from £33 each way even on Saturdays for example). However not so competitive internationally - can be worth a cheap easyJet to Paris and then onwards via Air France for a good deal.
Blue Islands - Fly direct to Geneva from Jersey (Mon/Wed/Fri).
Lufthansa - via Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt from Birmingham and London.
KLM UK - via Amsterdam from some regional airports.
Etihad Airways - the national carrier for the UAE have started flying from Sydney to Geneva via Abu Dhabi. Very useful for all those Aussies who don't have to make that extra European connecting flight.
Matair used to fly (very small planes!) direct from Southend to Courchevel 1850 Altiport in 2000/2001 - Their London type taxi is still in 1850 but the service isn't advertised anymore.
Holiday / Travel Agent Sites
- massive travel site with special offers on scheduled airlines and now searches charter deals too.
- consolidator with more offers on scheduled flights.