Una compañera vuestra me pidió consejo sobre si es mejor volar a Málaga, a Granada o a Madrid. La consideración que todos acostumbramos hacer es la del precio, pero también hay otros factores como número de vuelos en el viaje y cambios de avión, hora de llegada a España, aeropuertos de tránsito, etc. A continuación encontraréis mi respuesta a su pregunta. Como verán esta compañera va a salir de Portland. Las cosas cambian algo si se sale de Seattle pues existen otras combinaciones. En general los que salen de ciudades más grandes, como San Francisco, Los Angeles o Chicago tendrán mayores oportunidades y quizá disfruten de mejores precios. Los que salen de la costa este lo tienen mucho mejor también.
Your only other real option besides flying straight to Granada or flying to Madrid and then taking the bus to Granada is flying to Málaga. It is located south of Granada at about 1:45 hours by bus. Its airport is a busier one since Málaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol, a major European tourist destination. In the past some students have found good flights to Málaga. You will find information about traveling to Granada from Málaga in the website: http://projects.ups.edu/granada2008/ilaca/index.htm
In terms of price, it is usually cheaper to fly to Madrid and then ride the bus down to Granada. It also minimizes oportunities to lose your luggage!
You may want to consult with STA Travel 1503 SW Park Ave Portland, OR 97201 (503) 228-1900. WWW http://www.statravel.com/ They specialize in cheaper flights for students, though a quick search I made on their website yielded prices to Madrid similar to the ones found in Orbitz.
I did a couple searches on Orbitz and found out that it is cheaper to fly to Málaga (1,243) than to Granada (1,554) by 200-300 hundred dollars. You also save one connection since it seems that flying to Granada requires that you first get to Madrid.
However the cheapest option by far seems to be flying to Madrid from Portland on Continental or US Airways. Continental can get you to Madrid at 9:20 am on Jan 4 for $1,180 and US Airways at 10:10am for $1,194.
Another factor to consider is time of arrival. It is wiser to arrive in the morning. Some options to Málaga and Granada have you arrive in the late evening, at 7:30 pm or later. That time is fine for a direct arrival in Granada but not so for a Malaga arrival since you would still have about 3 or more hours of travel left before getting to Granada.
An additional factor is the time left to change planes during connections. Heathrow is a nightmare of a place. If you know the drill and have enough time there is no problem. However, if Heathrow is going to be a new experience you are bound to be a bit stressed out. You need at least two good hours to insure you do not miss your connecting flight. The option I found below gives you only 1:35 hours. Also, Heathrow has a draconian rule about hand luggage. You are only allowed 1 (one) piece of luggage as you transfer from your USA flight to your flight to Spain. They mean it. If you have more than one they will make you go back and check it: a true nightmare!
Finally, there is Chicago… Its inclement winter weather often leads to flight delays. I tend to avoid it during that time of the year.
I hope this helps!!
SAMPLE FLIGHT SCHEDULES
MADRID 1 - Leave Thu, Jan 3
Continental Airlines 485 Depart: 7:30am – Arrive: 3:37pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Newark, NJ (EWR) 1 stop
Change planes. Time between flights: 4hr 28min
Continental Airlines 62 Depart: 8:05pm – Arrive: 9:20am
Newark, NJ (EWR) Madrid, Spain (MAD)
Total duration: 16hr 50min
MADRID 2 – Leave Thu, Jan 3
US Airways 264 operated by AMERICA WEST Depart: 8:30am – Arrive: 4:30pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Philadelphia, PA (PHL) 1 stop
Change planes. Time between flights: 4hr 20min
US Airways 740 Depart: 8:50pm – Arrive: 10:10am
Philadelphia, PA (PHL) Madrid, Spain (MAD)
Total duration: 16hr 40min
MALAGA 1 - Leave Thu, Jan 3
United Airlines 722 Depart: 8:35am – Arrive: 2:26pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Chicago, IL (ORD) 2 stops
Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 52min
United Airlines 958 Depart: 4:18pm – Arrive: 5:55am
Chicago, IL (ORD) London, United Kingdom (LHR)
Change Airline. Time between flights: 1hr 35min
British Airways 6982 operated by GB Airways Depart: 7:30am – Arrive: 11:20am
London, United Kingdom (LHR) Malaga, Spain (AGP)
Total duration: 17hr 45min
MALAGA 2 - Leave Thu, Jan 3
United Airlines 1171 Depart: 3:30pm – Arrive: 5:12pm
Portland, OR (PDX) – San Francisco, CA (SFO) 2 stops
Change Airline. Time between flights: 2hr 18min
British Airways 286 Depart: 7:30pm – Arrive: 1:40pm
San Francisco, CA (SFO) – London, United Kingdom (LHR)
Change planes. Time between flights: 2hr 5min
British Airways 6984 – operated by GB Airways Depart: 3:45pm – Arrive: 7:35pm
London, United Kingdom (LHR) – Malaga, Spain (AGP)
Total duration: 19hr 5min