We're not experienced International travelers, so I want to reach out for some help. We
Mre having trouble finding direct flights from Chicago to Düsseldorf. Our travel dates are from 4/15 to 4/27.
Our friend from Holland takes a direct flight every August, but they seem to be almost nonexistent now, except for 1 from KLM, and that's a little pricey. My concern is that flights with a stop have a travel time of 11 hours, and sometimes much more, and I'm not sure how well my wife would handle that. A direct flight would be about 8 hours, and even that might be a bit difficult for her. We found a round trip fare of $740 per person with one stop, and the KLM direct flught would add close to $1000 to the trip, which is hard to justify for saving 3 hours of travel time.
Point is, I'm wondering if anybody out there could find any other direct flights that we may have missed somehow. Maybe something closer to $800? Any other ideas would be appreciated too.
I could not find anything better on Google flights or Trip advisor or FlightNetwork.
Have you considered a stop-over somewhere for a night or two. I like to do that to break up long journeys & I get to see a little of a city I might not otherwise see. More expense of course with the hotel but one or two nights less at the destination.
Off subject a little but I have just discovered hotel room that are actually in the airport that can be had by the hour. I did that at Beijing & it was a great way to get a good rest & break the journey. Expensive again.
Düsseldorf hardly has any intercontinental flights at all. I think I recall flying AMS-DUS-ORD a decade ago with Lufthansa / United, but that direct service between Düsseldorf and Chicago seems to have ceased. Wikipedia says American Airlines is the only one with that route right now, on a "seasonal" (winter-only) schedule, but even that I can't find back for this year.
The difference between 8 and 11 hours is not that big. That is, coming to Europe, the 8 hours will be an overnight flight regardless, and a horrible experience because of that, with jetlag hitting hard the next day. Having to wait at an intermediate airport upon arrival to then catch the final leg from Amsterdam or Frankfurt to Düsseldorf, is not going to make the experience significantly worse. (And since you'll arrive in the morning, first going to a hotel and then travelling that final leg the next day is also not very advisable.)
You could consider taking the ICE (fast train) from Frankfurt or Amsterdam to Düsseldorf - for some connections that might be faster, and it's definitely a more pleasant way to travel - but the main problem with that is that a delayed flight would make you miss the train, and ICE tickets are valid for a specific time, so you couldn't just hop onto the next one. (And only buying the ticket after arrival would make you pay way more than necessary for that train ticket.)
So, basically my advice is to just take the flight with 1 stop, prepare for a bad experience, and plan sufficient time after arrival to recover from it.
...of course, you mention a friend from Holland, who flies via Düsseldorf. If that friend is who you're visiting, and lives just over the border (say near Venlo?), then I'd actually recommend not flying on Düsseldorf at all, but instead flying on Amsterdam, and taking regular Dutch trains from there to Venlo. Those don't need to be booked in advance to get a reasonable price, and go frequently enough that it'll still be less travel time total. (Or the friend might even be willing to pick you up from the airport directly.)
Thanks for the responses, suggestions and ideas. We'd be staying in Tilburg with our friend, so any hotel stays, though appealing, would add to the cost of the trip. Düsseldorf seems to be the most economical option We're really trying to do this trip on the cheap, and it looks like our options are limited. We even looked at summer options, but fares are higher, and still practically no direct flights. Oh well, I guess it comes down to how the wife feels about the long flights. Maybe we're just not meant for international travel. 😮
The fastest trip I get is a SAS flight (with a stopover in Copenhagen) for 782 euros (arriving 16th of April, after leaving in evening at Chicago). I am using a Dusseldorf al the time, because I live just across the border in the Netherlands. You can get to the airport by train. From e.g. Venlo you can use a regional train (slow) going to Düsseldorf If you want. Online booking on the website of the Dutch Railways: NS International
But from Tilburg, you might actually rather consider flying into Brussels in Belgium , there are several direct flights, starting around 880 euros or indeed Amsterdam (starting at 921 euros). Momondo is not giving the actual name, but states Major US Carrier. Both airports are actually closer to Tilburg, but also bigger.
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Dec-2015, at 01:28 by Herr Bert ]