For a long time, the only specialist low-fare airlines flying the Atlantic were charter affiliates of large tour operators, mostly European carriers hauling vacationing Europeans to the Unites States. Only a few airlines tried low-fare transatlantic flying without package-tour-market backup, including PeoplExpress and World Airways, but none lasted. Now, however, as the giant legacy airlines hike up their cheapest tickets, low-fare start-ups might again have a price "umbrella" under which to thrive, and a few are trying it out.
Currently, most low-fare transatlantic flights are still on European airlines affiliated with tour packagers. Two lines, however, are doing it without a built-in tour-market base. And more will probably follow. Here's a roundup of some of your primary low-fare transatlantic options, with notes on plane types, fares, and routes.
Test fares shown are in U.S. dollars, for round-trip travel in July on airlines with less-than-daily frequencies. Keep in mind that on some carriers, flying a few days later or earlier could make a difference of several hundred dollars in your fare. Also, on nonstop routes, competitors may offer lower fares on one-stop-connection itineraries. Except where noted, major OTAs and metasearch engines include flights on these low-fare airlines.
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