APEX Insight: This year has seen a marked increase in the number of transatlantic flights being offered by both low-cost and legacy carriers in Europe and North America. Based on a series of airline announcements for next year and beyond, this trend is set to continue, with many benefits in store for both passengers and airlines.
For travelers hoping to make the jaunt across the pond, there’s never been a better time to fly. Many airlines are adding more transatlantic flight options to their itineraries, bringing North America and Europe closer together and driving down travel costs for consumers.
In March, Ryanair announced a five-year expansion plan that will see the airline offering flights from Europe to the United States for as little as £10, a cost comparable to the enviable costs of flights between European nations. Departure points include London’s Stansted Airport, Berlin Schönefeld Airport and Dublin Airport, which will offer flights to numerous American cities including Boston, Chicago, Miami and New York.
For Canadians, more affordable transatlantic flight options are becoming more available as well. Next spring WestJet begins offering direct flights to London’s Gatwick airport from six airports across the country: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and St. John’s. WestJet’s new flight paths offer consumers more affordable European travel options, with airfares set to cost between just $199 and $299 one-way, taxes in.
Meanwhile in Quebec, Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport will open the province’s first gateway to Iceland in Spring 2016. An increasingly popular tourist destination, Iceland is also a common stopover for Canadians traveling to the United Kingdom and vice versa. Icelandair will provide seasonal service between Reykjavik and Montreal beginning May 19, 2016. Budget Icelandic airline WOW air recently launched a promotion offering a limited selection of direct flights from Reykjavik to Washington for £99. Although ancillary fees for everything from extra baggage allowance to early booking priority will drive up costs for most consumers, it’s still a great deal for travelers looking to visit the United States on a budget.
A more diverse array of transatlantic travel options for consumers means competition between airlines will increase, driving airfare costs down.
The benefits of these additional transatlantic are numerous. Direct flights reduce travel time, giving passengers more time to spend at their destinations, and fewer layovers mean less passengers missing flights, reducing the need for rebooking – a win for airlines, too. Less time in the air reduces passenger stress, and with faster flights, jet lag won’t be as much of an issue. A more diverse array of transatlantic travel options for consumers means competition between airlines will increase, driving airfare costs down.
The air industry is set to benefit from more transatlantic flights as well. Besides the simple fact of being able to offer customers a greater variety of options and increase revenues via a boost in ticket sales, direct flights reduce opportunities for booking glitches, which can cost airlines hundreds of dollars per seat.