Frugal Flights: Options for Cheap Transatlantic Travel Expand

Not that long ago, transatlantic vacations were a luxury available only to the affluent. Today more airlines, spearheaded by European carriers, have expanded the availability of budget transatlantic travel. Most recently, budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has announced it will begin offering fares as low as $65.

The airline, which already operates some flights from the U.S., will expand to locations that do not normally have access to transatlantic flights. Starting June 15, Norwegian Air will offer connections from New York’s Stewart International Airport, Providence’s Green Airport, and Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut to Edinburgh, Scotland. In July, it will introduce flights form Stewart International and Providence to Cork, Ireland.

Competition for low cost flights has intensified due to improved airline profitability in Europe and increased demand resulting from the strong dollar. British Airways’ parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group SA plans in June to establish a long-range discount service out of Barcelona to compete with Norwegian Air. Meanwhile, Air France-KLM is building a budget service to compete with Deutsche Lufthansa, which operates its own transatlantic routes.

Norwegian Air, however, is unique in that it plans on servicing its routes with single-aisle aircraft. The Boeing 737 Max narrow-body aircraft is more efficient than the larger planes that typically make the journey, offering 13 percent lower per-seat costs. This difference allows the airline to be cost competitive while offering lower prices.

The move has met opposition in the U.S., as the main U.S. pilot’s union has requested that President Trump reduce the airline’s access to the American market; however, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Norwegian Air’s hiring of American crews and purchasing American planes represents “huge economic interest.” If the airline succeeds, it may make transatlantic travel more accessible for American consumers.

For more, visit the Wall Street Journal.

Copyright: Photographer, Stock Photo, License Summary.

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