February 23, 2024


A passenger walks in the hallway of Terminal 2 of Charles de Gaulle airport on the northeastern outskirts of Paris, with Air France planes in the background, amid a strike by air traffic controllers, September 16, 2022.

Julian DeRosa | AFP | Getty Images

Flights to Europe will be plentiful this summer. Cheap air tickets? Not that much.

From June to August, airlines scheduled a nearly record 51,000 flights from the US to Europe, according to airline data firm Cirium. The number of reserved seats is the highest since 2018.

Despite the increased capacity on both sides of the Atlantic, fares have surged as airlines test passengers’ appetite for international travel. The average U.S.-Europe round-trip fare is $1,032, up 35% from last year and 24% from 2019, according to Hopper. By contrast, the average U.S. domestic fare is down 15% from a year ago to $286 a round trip, roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels.

Executives of long-standing European service operators such as deltaNewcomers like jetblue airlinesas well as budget upstarts like North Atlantic Airlines and Play, are betting big that after seeing the worst of Covid (and the travel restrictions that come with it) in the rearview mirror, travelers will pay to travel More international travel.

Airlines and airports have been in a hiring race, hoping to avoid last summer’s chaos.

“European travel definitely went up last summer,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC in late March. .”

JetBlue is flying from New York and Boston to London’s two largest airports, and plans to launch a service from New York to Paris in June.It plans to add services to Amsterdam this summer.

Delta plans to offer a record number of U.S.-to-Europe seats, a 20% increase over last summer. The airline will serve 69 markets in Europe, a spokesman said.

Airline summer flights to Europe

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“If you’re traveling during the peak summer season, you need to book now,” said Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist.

In order to avoid the highest ticket price during the National Day, she suggested taking a ride in the middle of the week.

Some airline executives have recently noted that travelers are returning to more traditional booking models, which drives up fares during peak periods. While airlines often reduce capacity during less popular times of the week or year, it’s still possible to offer some more palatable prices. Airlines’ flight schedules from late March to the end of October show they will offer a record number of seats during that period, suggesting they may expect strong demand in the off-season, according to OAG data.

Berg also recommends keeping an open mind about connecting travel and being careful not to filter only through flights.

Icelandic low-cost carrier Play’s flight stopped at its home airport in Reykjavik, asking passengers bound for other destinations to transfer. The airline is growing rapidly with its fleet of Airbus A320 and A320neos. The company said it served 39 destinations this month, up from 31 in December.

“We are very optimistic about the year,” said chief executive Birgir Jonsson.Nearly 36% of Play’s passengers connected to other destinations via the Icelandic capital last month, the airline said. explain.

Other low-cost carriers are increasing service between the U.S. and Europe, including North Atlantic Airways, which operates Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The airline serves London Gatwick, Berlin, Paris and Oslo, Norway, and plans to start flying to Rome from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport next month. It also plans to start a London Gatwick service from US cities including San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.

Norse Atlantic’s senior vice president of communications, Philip Allport, said fares on its US-to-Europe route were higher than usual, but the airline was still “at the cheaper end of the spectrum compared to our direct competitors.” Norse, which departs on July 1 and returns a week later, costs nearly $1,300 round-trip between New York and Paris, less than Delta’s standard economy fare of $1,804.

Here’s how traditional and non-traditional airlines differ in terms of service and price for a standard economy ticket: