European airlines, based in major cities, offer more frequent point-to-point service to many more destinations within Europe than do non-European carriers.
Flight times are short, thanks to Europe's compact geography. For example, from Frankfurt it's less than three hours to Athens. From Lisbon, it's 2 1/2 hours to Zurich.
If you plan to fly within Europe, you can usually save money by buying the additional legs of travel as part of your trans-Atlantic ticket.
Before leaving, check with an experienced travel agent who can help you shop the myriad fares and route options. Also ask if airlines offer discount vouchers or low-priced air passes. (Airlines may require that these be bought in the U.S. before leaving.)
A number of European airlines have entered into code-sharing alliances with each other and with U.S. carriers to coordinate interline connections and services.
Airfares within Europe are being pushed down by new European Union policies encouraging competition.
London's Heathrow handles more international flights than any other airport in the world. Frankfurt, Paris's Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam's Schipol and Rome's Leonardo da Vinci also rank high among the world's busiest airports.
Many airports have undergone major expansion and modernization in recent years, including those in Copenhagen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Prague, Warsaw and Zagreb. Munich has an entirely new airport; Oslo's will be completed this year; and Athens, which will host the 2004 Summer Olympics, plans to follow suit.
Note that a number of European gateways enjoy fast, direct rail connections to city centers. At Paris's Charles de Gaulle, arriving passengers can quickly board high-speed TGVs to dozens of cities in France and beyond. Con-struction has begun on a similar station at Frankfurt Airport for high-speed ICE trains connecting to many points in Germany.
For more, return to getting around