- Airlines are adding US-Europe flights in hopes that the international travel boom will continue.
- Carriers that add flights range from major airlines like Delta to upstarts like Play and Norse Atlantic.
- Fares for international travel have been increased, while domestic fares have remained moderate.
A passenger walks down the corridor of Terminal 2 of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport with Air France planes in the background, in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, on September 16, 2022, amid a strike by air traffic controllers.
Julian DeRosa | AFP | Good pictures
Flights to Europe will be plentiful this summer. Cheap airfare? Not so much.
Airlines have scheduled 51,000 flights from the US to Europe from June to August, according to airline data firm Sirius. The number of scheduled seats is the highest since 2018.
Despite increased capacity across the Atlantic, fares have risen sharply as airlines test passenger appetite for overseas travel. According to Hopper, roundtrip flights from the US to Europe are going for $1,032 on average, up 35% from last year and up 24% from 2019. The average domestic U.S. airfare, by contrast, is down 15% from a year ago to $286. A round trip, roughly in line with pre-epidemic conditions.
Longtime operators of European service like Delta, newcomers like JetBlue and budget high-end carriers like Norse Atlantic Airways and PLA are all betting big that travelers will take more international trips — with Covid and accompanying travel restrictions. Glass.
Airlines and airports are racing to fill jobs, hoping to avoid last summer’s chaos.
“European travel was definitely higher last summer,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in an interview with CNBC in late March. “I think a lot of people didn’t fly last year and now they want to fly this year.”
JetBlue flies to London’s two largest airports from New York and Boston, and plans to launch service from New York to Paris in June. It plans to add service to Amsterdam This summer.
Delta plans to offer 20% more seats from the US to Europe than last summer. The carrier will serve 69 markets in Europe, a spokesperson said.
Airlines Summer Flights to Europe
“If you’re traveling in those summer months, you should book now,” said Haley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist.
To avoid higher fares, he recommends flying mid-week, away from national holidays.
Some airline executives have recently noted that passengers are moving back to traditional booking methods, which drive up fares on peak days. While airlines typically reduce capacity during less popular times of the week or year, there may still be opportunities for some tasty fares. Airline schedules for the period from late March to late October show a record number of seats offered for the period, data from the OAG show, an indication that they can expect strong demand during the shoulder season.
Berg recommends keeping an open mind about connecting trips and cautions against filtering out nonstop flights.
Icelandic low-cost airline Fly’s flights stop at its own airport in Reykjavík, requiring passengers to transfer flights to other destinations. The carrier is growing fast with its Airbus A320 and A320neos. It serves 39 destinations this month, up from 31 in December, the company said.
“We are very positive and optimistic about this year,” said CEO Birkir Johnson. Last month nearly 36% of Blei’s passengers were connected to other destinations by airlines from the Icelandic capital said.
Other low-cost airlines, including Norse Atlantic Airways, which operates Boeing 787 Dreamliners, are increasing service between the US and Europe. The carrier serves London Gatwick, Berlin, Paris and Oslo, Norway, and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport plans to start flights to Rome next month. It also plans to offer London Gatwick service from several US cities including San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Los Angeles and Washington, DC in the coming weeks.
Norse Atlantic’s senior vice president of communications Philip Allford said its fares on US-Europe routes are higher than usual, but the carrier is still “at the cheaper end of our direct competitors.” A round trip on Norse between New York and Paris was $1,300 one way departing on July 1 and returning a week later, just under $1,804 on Delta, each on standard economy tickets.
Here’s how traditional and non-traditional airlines differ in their services and prices for standard economy tickets:
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