American Airlines May Start Selling Cheap, No-frills Fares to Europe
No-frills flights aren’t a big deal when you’re traveling domestically — but complimentary food and beverages can make a huge difference on a lengthy, transatlantic flight.
According to Skift, American Airlines is looking to introduce a “basic economy”-style fare for transatlantic flights as early as next year.
These budget-friendly but totally stripped-down seats may not include a checked bag or seat selection, much like the airline’s domestic basic economy product.
Bare bones transatlantic flights aren’t something new, however. Skift points out that travelers have already shown enthusiasm for the model — especially if the price is right.
In January, for example, Icelandic budget airline WOW Air announced $69 flights from the West Coast to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, and Bristol, England. (That could mean nine hours in a plane without a meal before a layover in Iceland.)
And those prices returned this week, with WOW Air resurrecting $69 flights to Europe from cities all across the U.S.
Norwegian Air, too, is known for its ultra-cheap international flights — and more low-cost carriers are entering the market every day. This summer, the new long-haul airline LEVEL began operating flights between California and Spain for only $149 one-way.
For the time being, American Airlines is trying to lower prices in economy while still including incentives that these budget airlines have trimmed away, like complimentary checked luggage. Right now, all travelers who purchase a transatlantic flight with American get one free checked bag.
But American’s senior vice president of revenue management, Don Casey, said in a discussion that “over time, [American] would have a form of this product on the transatlantic [routes].”