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What to Watch Out for When Buying Those Cheap Flights to Europe

What to Watch Out for When Buying Those Cheap Flights to Europe
Jeff Edwards

Airfares between North America and Europe are nearing historic prices, but consumers are wise to keep the ”buyer beware” maxim in mind before pulling the trigger on some super cheap tickets.

Competition from long-haul ultra-low cost carriers has major airlines on both sides of the Atlantic offering deep discounts on airfare between destinations in North America and Europe, but in some cases, it isn’t just the low fares legacy carriers are copying from the no-frills rivals. New transatlantic “basic economy” fares could end up costing international travelers much more than they bargained for.

This summer, WOW! Airlines is advertising transatlantic airfare for as little as $99 each way.  Meanwhile, Norwegian Air Shuttle is offering fares of less than $200 one-way between dozens of destinations in the U.S. and Europe. Of course, there are more than a few uncomfortable tradeoffs that come attached to those super-cheap fares.

WOW! has made headlines after a string of incidents in which the budget carrier had a hard time getting paying passengers to their destinations and at the same time being infamously resistant to giving refunds or any sort of compensation to stranded flyers.

On that $109 Norwegian flight, passengers could end up paying as much as $200 extra per checked bag and up to $45 each way to reserve seats together.

Legacy carriers have no intention of being undersold when it comes to the business of operating lucrative long-haul international routes. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have all introduced “basic economy” fares on many transatlantic routes in an attempt to price match their ultra-low fare rivals.

While the ultra-low fare class has many of the same restrictions as budget carriers like WOW! and Norwegian with a slightly higher price point, the on-time performance and customer service resources of flying a major airline offers something of an enticement to many international travelers wary of flying a budget carrier.

Of course, the summer price war hasn’t only lowered the cost of bare-bones fares. Right now, economy class, premium economy and business class sales are being touted by American, United, Delta, Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

View Comments (3)


  1. southpac

    July 4, 2018 at 6:01 am

    most people on legacy airlines find out their checked baggage allowance & then pack up to that limit, so they often take twice the clothing etc. they actually need. Learn to travel light & save money. If you don’t, stop complaining. It costs money to transport your heavy bags & means less freight can be carried & sometimes westbound, less passengers.

  2. chx1975

    July 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Pay attention to food. Hot food is simply not alone on the ultra low carriers unless you prepaid for it.

  3. regiswa

    July 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Good deals to travel this summer :) But be careful in plane, sometimes foods are not free ! Must paid for this. I know this, not one time ^^ Good holidays for all ;)

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