More Basic Economy Fares Are Coming to Transatlantic Flights
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
We've seen historically low prices for transatlantic flights over the last year or two. With fares consistently below $350 to many European destinations and the rapid expansion of low cost-carriers like WOW and Norwegian there seems to be a race to the bottom for prices.
Now Aer Lingus, the Irish flagship carrier, has introduced a "Saver" fare class to transatlantic flights. Saver already applied to some of its intra-Europe fares, but it's the first time we've seen it on the carrier's long-haul flights. Saver fares don't include a checked bag, seat selection, headphones or a blanket. Aer Lingus becomes another full-service carrier, including Delta and TAP Portugal, to introduce a basic economy-type fare to its transatlantic flights. Saver fares are now available to purchase for travel starting after October 1.
While not as bare-bones a fare as Norwegian or WOW, which both charge for food (and WOW charges for carry-ons), it's definitely a bit surprising. You'll now have to pay $45 for a checked bag, $25 for a standard seat, $60 for a seat toward front of the aircraft, $80 for an exit row seat and, according to The Sun, €3 for headphones and €5 for a blanket — all prices are one-way. When buying a saver fare you'll still be able to bring a full-size carry-on, receive a free meal, collect Avios and earn tier credits toward status.
According to a search from New York (JFK) to Dublin (DUB), it would be worth it to buy a "Smart" fare instead of buying a saver fare and adding a seat and bag individually. You'd save $40 when buying the Smart package.
Aer Lingus currently serves 9 destinations in the US and will be starting nonstop flights from Dublin (DUB) to Miami (MIA) on September 1.
On Monday, Don Casey, American Airlines' SVP of revenue management, said that the airline is considering basic economy fares for its own transatlantic flights which could be introduced as early as next year.
You can still book Aer Lingus flights with British Airways Avios points for just 26,000 miles round-trip from five US cities to Ireland during off-peak times. That's one of the lowest mileage redemptions to get to Europe. Chase Ultimate Reward points are transferrable to British Airways — and the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are both offering a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
The British Airways Visa Signature Card is also available, which offers 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening, plus another 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening.
H/T: Wandering Aramean