Best flight to Nice from the US

Delta/Air France runs direct flights to Nice from JFK in New York, and sometimes from Atlanta, and Washington DC, getting you here in just 6 hours with no plane change and no hassle.

For your return flight, it’s better to change planes in Europe rather than the US, as international flights treat you to free meals, movies, cocktails, blankets and pillows, and domestic US flights have none of these.

Best Cities to Change Planes in 

Munich wins hands down… it’s easy to get around, comfortable, has good restaurants, and doesn’t subject you to annoying passport/security checks.   Least favorites are London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, as are all very chaotic with miles to walk and lots of extra security/passport checks to get through.    All of the above are major hubs, so if these are your only choices and you have a long layover, choose Amsterdam because it has lots of comfy lounge chairs and even a mini Van Gogh museum.

Best Frequent Flyer Program

Air France Flying Blue is the best Frequent Flyer program only because they allow you to use your miles for a one-way ticket at half the mile cost of a round-trip… this is very useful if you are not sure when you want to return or just want to book one leg of a multi-city trip.

Best Seat for Flying into Nice

Nice_airport from the airFlying in or out of Nice, always ask for the left side, seat A, which will normally give you a spectacular view of the entire French Riviera as you approach the Nice Cote d’Azur airport, and a view of Monaco as you take off.

Plug your flight number into SeatGuru and you’ll see the seats color-coded from best to worst.  You’ll never be stuck in a non-reclining seat next to the bathroom again!

Best Way to Find Cheap Flights to Nice

Just go to Google Flights which includes all the airlines (unlike Expedia and Opedo), and gives you suggestions plus tips on whether a day earlier or later would make a difference, then you click the link and book on the airline’s website. One stop shopping.

Not sure when to book?  Plug your itinerary into Yapta to see whether you should buy now or wait until prices drop.  Yapta will even continue to track your flight after you book, alerting you if the price drops: some airlines will give vouchers for the difference if it’s over $250.

TravelZoo‘s Find Deals feature is also worth checking, and while you’re at it, sign up for Airfare Watchdog or FareCompare‘s Fare Alerts to be notified when prices drop to Nice.

Air France has fares as low as $500 rt in the off-season, and although the cheapest flights change in Paris, for a little more you can book the direct daily flight to Nice from JFK.  British Airways is also worth a check as they can have similar deals, but the rub is that you have to deal with a long layover at the massive Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.

  • Trap to Avoid:  Sometimes the great deals are to Paris, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt but not to Nice, and it can be tempting to take the great fare and then book a low-cost airline for the last hop to Nice.  Just know that your bags will not be checked through so you will need at least a 3-hour layover to be sure to claim your bags, leave security, wait in line to recheck-in, and pass back through security.  And, your bags must be really small and light to match the low-cost policy or you will pay a hefty fee for the overage.  Check out The Lowdown on using Low-Cost Airlines before you book.

Best Cheap flights to Nice from within Europe

Nice has the largest number of low-cost flights in France, but big travel search engines like Expedia and Opedo do not include them!  Google Flights includes them all, so you get the best fares from the majors as well as the low cost airlines, plus tips on whether a day earlier or later would make a difference

There is a search engine that specializes only in low-cost flights within Europe: check out WhichBudget which lists all low-cost routes available from Nice.  Click here to see an up-to-date list of the lowest fares from Nice.

To fight back against all these budget upstarts, Air France has made Nice a hub, which means many more flights and destinations, and at much lower prices, including new routes from Venice, Athens, and Naples, with seats as low as 50€ each way.

Not to be outdone, low-cost leader EasyJet has also made Nice a hub and has 23 destinations from Nice and counting.  They offer the same flights for an astounding 34€ each way (although with EasyJet they add extra fees for everything, so in the end you’ll be at almost 50€ anyway).   In each case you need to book well in advance, and since EasyJet’s low-cost comes with low-service, book Air France if the fares are even close.    See related page on The Lowdown on Low Cost Airlines.

The great news is that the fare wars will only continue as EasyJet and Air France battle it out adding new destinations a new low fares.   The Nice Airport is even building a Terminal 3 to deal with all the low-cost traffic!

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Photo credits:  Nice Travel Poster available from Zazzle.com

 

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