Looking for somewhere new to vacation? New airline routes are making the world feel smaller than ever, and the rising tide of competition means even the small roster of U.S. airlines is diversifying its destinations.
Here are the most buzzworthy new airline routes to emerge this year, and how you can take advantage.
Editor’s Note: For the latest version of this story, see 12 New Airline Routes for Cheap Flights in 2019.
Germany’s capital has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most affordable modern cities—and it’s about to get even more affordable to get there on a direct flight. American Airlines is expanding to Berlin, offering direct seasonal service between Philadelphia and Berlin’s Tegel Airport next summer, in addition to a host of other European hot spots including Croatia and Italy (more on that below).
Editors’ Note: Primera Air announced on October 1, 2018, that it would cease operations immediately, and has therefore been removed from this story.
You don’t have to be on the West Coast for Hawaii to be a direct flight away anymore. Hawaiian Airlines just claimed the title for longest domestic U.S. flight route with its Boston to Honolulu service. The longest American route ever to exist, it launches in April 2019. The journey will take 11 hours and 40 minutes to get to Hawaii, and 10 hours and 15 minutes to return.
On the West Coast (and in the more distant future), Southwest will begin selling flights from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento to Hawaii’s Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue airports next year.
Thanks to a codesharing partnership with Korean Air, Delta’s new airline routes have opened up Seoul to the U.S., including service from Midwest and East Coast hubs like Minneapolis/St. Paul and Boston. The nonstop transpacific routes to high-tech Incheon Airport will begin in April of next year for Boston, but the launch date for Minneapolis hasn’t yet been announced. Korean Air also flies to Seoul from New York (JFK), Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle.
Low-cost, high-comfort carrier JetBlue is expanding its international service with Mexico City routes from Boston and New York City (JFK) this year. The flights will operate once per week beginning October 25, 2018, and airfares start at around $150 each way. The airline calls Mexico City “the largest city JetBlue flies to,” and it’s worth noting the schedule starts just in time for Dia de los Muertos festivities.
The only nonstop flight route to Dubrovnik from North America now belongs to American Airlines, which is expanding across Europe in 2019 including to the aforementioned Berlin. Dubrovnik flights from American’s Philadelphia hub will begin in June 2019 and run until September 21.
San Franciscans can now fly Down Under to Melbourne nonstop with Qantas, Australia’s sleek national carrier that often ranks as one of the world’s best airlines. The flights began in September 2018 and will operate four times per week to partially replace the frequent Melbourne service Qantas also offers Los Angeles via LAX.
Canada on a Budget
Canada has long lacked affordable airfare options for Americans, but that’s about to change thanks to ultra-low-cost Canadian carrier Swoop, which is expanding its routes into the States. Seven new airline routes kick off in October 2018 with Las Vegas service, followed by six more launching later that month.
The provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia will now connect with major American hubs thanks to Las Vegas routes to Edmonton, Hamilton, and Abbotsford; Phoenix to Edmonton; and Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa) to Hamilton. Abbotsford is an hour outside of Vancouver, Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and Hamilton offers natural beauty on Lake Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment.
Take a break from freezing temperatures in Denver next spring with a direct flight to the Cayman Islands on Cayman Airways, which will begin operating the first nonstop Caribbean service from the area on March 2. Twice-weekly flights will run through the spring and summer months until they reduce frequency in September.
Forget flying through massive Rome for your Italian getaway. American Airlines is launching direct flights to Bologna, one of the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2018. The new airline route is the Italian food haven’s only nonstop U.S. flight as of now. The flights will begin operating April 2 from the airline’s Philadelphia hub.
Asheville, North Carolina
If you’re up for ultra-cheap flights sans a carry-on bag allowance, Spirit Airways’ expansion into North Carolina from Florida could open up your budget travels. Floridians can now fly nonstop to a hipster haven in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and North Carolinians looking for a Florida getaway can take their pick: Spirit is adding Asheville and Greensboro service to three Florida cities: Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.
If you’ve ever flown Spirit, you know the budget airline charges for everything from seat selection to overheads bins, so it pays to book multiple seats on one reservation and to pack light.
Low cost carrier Norwegian Air is betting big on its own new airline in South America, Norwegian Air Argentina, with 153 new domestic and international routes emerging in the coming years. The new airline launches in October, and U.S. routes to Buenos Aires from New York and Los Angeles have been announced, though it’s unclear when exactly they’ll begin.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 7 Plane Seat Hacks to Boost Comfort on Long Flights
- 11 New Air Routes for Cheap Flights in 2018
- Could These 3 U.S. Airlines Shake Up U.S. Travel?
SmarterTravel Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Instagram at @shanmcmahon for travel insight and more.