by , SmarterTravel Staff
The Church of Hallgrímur, Reykjavik, Iceland (Photo: Jack Steadman, Staff)

Although no U.S.-based low-cost carriers fly into Europe, those planning to head across the Pond should keep their options open, as Air Berlin, Meridiana fly, and (soon) Iceland Express all offer direct flights from the U.S. to their respective European airports, where passengers can then connect to other destinations. Iceland Express will begin service from New York to Reykjavik in June, creating competition for Icelandair. Air Berlin offers seasonal service to Dusseldorf from Ft. Myers, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and will add flights from San Francisco this spring. Currently, Meridiana fly offers nonstop flights to Naples and Palermo from New York.


I compared flights to several European destinations to see if the low-cost carriers beat the fares offered by other major airlines:

Route Airline Stops Price
Los Angeles-Dusseldorf Air Berlin 0 $1,000
Los Angeles-Dusseldorf Delta 1 $1,283
New York (Newark)-Reykjavik Iceland Express 0 $532
New York (JFK)-Reykjavik Icelandair 0 $573
New York-Naples Meridiana fly 0 $1,170
New York-Naples Alitalia 1 $1,347

Fares were found on the respective airlines' websites and include taxes and fees. Los Angeles to Dusseldorf fares based on travel from September 13 through 20. New York to Reykjavik fares based on travel from June 8 through 15. New York to Naples fares based on travel from June 24 through July 1.

Although prices in general are higher than the previous comparisons, the legacy airlines are again outmatched by the low-cost carriers on each of the routes I checked. If you're planning a vacation soon, be sure to research all your options to make sure you get the best price possible.

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