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My New Favorite Route from Europe to the US

favorite route
Written by Charlie

I think I found my new favorite route from Europe to the US and it certainly fills all my preferences for this kind of a trip!

Whenever I fly from Europe to the US, I normally have a very tight schedule and need to pick flights that will get me there quickly. However, an upcoming trip gives me some leeway so I looked for different options. What I found is my new favorite route from Europe to the US!

My New Favorite Route from Europe to the US

There are certainly many options for travel from Europe to the US, including some that are a little unconventional (like this one written about by One Mile at a Time). Since I have my own system for combatting jetlag on such trips, I normally like a trip that will let me have some hours in the air so that I can sleep pretty much from takeoff.

My Normal Preferred Route

This has normally meant flying through Istanbul on Turkish Airlines and leaving out on their early morning flight from Istanbul to JFK. It departs at 6:45am and arrives at 10:45am in New York (11 hours) – perfect for getting on US time quickly. It also helps that Turkish’s business class is pretty good!

Favorite route

My typical favorite route from Europe to the US – Turkish Airlines in their business class

But, I wanted to try something different. Also, I did not want to use miles. The reason is that fall flights from Greece to the US are normally cheap enough that using miles is a really bad value (below a penny per mile after taking taxes into account). I wanted something interesting, preferably in a cabin I have not flown before.

Going the LOONG Way!

It is actually possible to purchase business class tickets from Athens to the US on Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar that go through each of their hubs. That is certainly a long trip and the business class prices are much cheaper than if you started out of the hubs. But, paying the $1,600 for the one-way business class tickets was much more than I wanted to spend so I kept looking.

My New Favorite Route – Europe to the US

My new favorite route – Athens to Doha to New York | Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Finally, I took advantage of a weekend sale that Qatar Airways was running and put together a roundtrip ticket that included business class going to the US and economy returning to Greece. By doing this, I was able to chop off several hundreds of dollars on a roundtrip business ticket and even hundreds of dollars off a one-way business class ticket. The return timetable does not work for me so I do not plan on using it anyway.

So, my new favorite route is Athens – Doha – New York which is a total distance of 8,500 miles and will give me a long-haul flight on Qatar’s new A350 in business class (14 hours) while also helping me to earn almost 20,000 AA miles as an EXP flyer.

Why is this my new favorite when I haven’t even flown it yet? Because there have been many wonderful reports of their A350 business class product and it gives me plenty of time to sleep as well as work and arrive in New York at 9am ready to get a full day in. It also lets me leave Greece at almost 9PM the night before so I get a full day in there as well.

All in all, I am really excited to try this new route (to me) from Europe the US, especially since it ticks all the right boxes for my route preferences:

  • Good business class
  • Long-haul for maximum sleep
  • Great departure and arrival times
  • Cheap!

In the end, this ticket was under $1,000 which is a pretty decent deal for business class on Qatar Airways to the US. Also, it gives me exactly what I was looking for in a flight so I am pretty happy about that!

favorite route

The cost if I just flew Doha to New York instead of starting in Athens!

Have you ever flown to the US from Europe via the Middle East? What airline and cabin did you like the best?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I’ve done it once. I used Alaska miles to fly Emirates in First from AMS to DXB to DFW. Really long and super amazing trip. I mean I got two showers and got to try the most expensive liquor in the sky. When I checked in at AMS the agent told me I couldn’t possibly fly the route I was on. I said well I’m booked and I expect to go. She typed away and finally printed out the tickets. She asked me why I would want to but then cut herself off and said well I guess if you’re in first class it doesn’t matter how long the flight is. I agreed.

  • I’ve been looking at something similar but noticed that many of the QR fares now carry a no-show fee around 450euro which makes turning it into a throwaway a non-starter. It also makes it a tougher sell since I don’t live in a QR gateway

    • Is that fee charged to you or is it taken from the credit on the ticket if you rebook? It would seem that it would be that way, especially if you skip the ticket from the start. Still, good thing to point out!