December 05, 2017
Many U.S.-to-Europe travelers on a budget are familiar with low-cost airlines like WOW Airlines, Norwegian Air and Aer Lingus, which have shaken up the market in recent years.
But Philadelphia-based travelers may want to take note of Primera Air, the European budget airline entering the transatlantic scene next spring with one-way flights to Europe for as low as $99.
The Latvian-based airline plans to offer three routes from Newark, New Jersey to London's Stansted Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Birmingham, England. The airline's daily flights from Newark on the new single-aisle Airbus A321Neo begin on April 19.
Tickets are on sale here.
Although the airline isn't flying out of Philly, Newark's proximity to the city – about 90 minutes away by car and roughly two hours with Amtrak – makes it a viable option for Philly-area travelers.
For the most part, the lowest one-way fares of $99 aren't available until flights for next fall. Many one-way routes show prices ranging from $119-$199, while many round-trip prices start in the mid-$300 range.
In a statement announcing the offer, the airline asserted its aim to "make a quick and firm move to become an indispensable name in the transatlantic flight market."
But as with any budget airline, travelers will get what they pay for.
The airline offers upgrade options like the "comfort" package, which includes a carry-on bag, a checked bag, priority seating and a meal for an additional $90. There is also a "Premium Cabin" option with additional perks for another several hundred bucks.
But those who opt for the airline's "light" fare won't get much more than a seat on the plane.
For one, that fare allows customers only one carry-on bag weighing 22 pounds or less. Checked bags cost $45 each way, and the airline also adds a $12 fee for booking fares with a credit card.
Don't think you'll be getting a free meal with the airline's cheapest option, either.
Most dinners will cost $39.99, although a sandwich and a soft drink could be yours for only $17.99. In the mood for a fancier supper and don't mind shelling out the cash for it? "Premium" beef and fish meals will be available for $69.99.
Selecting a seat in advance will also come at a cost, starting at $45 for each flight.
But despite this, Primera may have just given prospective Philly-area travelers who don't mind packing light and the prospect of a no-frills flight across the pond something to ponder.