Open skies agreement offers plethora of Europe options

If you're planning a European vacation in the near future, you'll now be spoiled for choice: The open-skies agreement between the U.S. and Europe is set to take effect on March 30, deregulating route restrictions and letting a host of providers take part on a variety of routes between the two continents.

Currently, restrictions require that flights across the Atlantic be regulated between the two countries involved in a given route, with airlines limited to certain airports. Now, as the New York Times puts it: "British Airways flights bound for the United States had to originate in Britain. And only two United States carriers were permitted to land at Heathrow Airport, near London: American and United. When the open-skies agreement kicks in next week, those restrictions will be lifted, essentially letting the open market dictate all trans-Atlantic routes between the United States and Europe."

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So in the past, you would have had a limited number of flights, airlines, and airport choices available on any given day. Now, however, expect to see a lot more options as the airlines jostle for space in this ever-popular market. And with competition typically comes lower prices, so that will be a welcome by-product as well. Check our airfare page for the latest deals and promotions, as we'll be reporting on each sale as it's announced.

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