Travel to Europe for Less
No-frills carriers give U.S. travelers more options for overseas getaways.
Taking a few days off to jet to Paris is more feasible now that more low-cost airlines are expanding their horizons. U.S.-based carriers such as Spirit and Frontier offer limited international travel to Mexico and other countries in Latin America, but Norwegian Air Shuttle and Iceland’s Wow Air are promoting ultralow fares from select U.S. cities, including Boston and Los Angeles, to Europe.
These carriers take a no-frills approach: attractive base fares with amenities paid à la carte. Thrifty travelers can avoid extra fees on short flights by packing light and skipping a meal, but you might have trouble escaping checked-baggage fees and other charges on long flights. To be sure you’re getting a deal, include your must-have extras when comparing fares. We found a nonstop flight on Norwegian from Los Angeles to London in February for $546 round-trip, without frills. Bundling in checked baggage, meals and a seat reservation brought the cost up to $708.
Even if the price is right, however, limited schedules and fewer comforts might make no-frills flying unappealing for long distances. Check out seating options and more at www.seatguru.com or www.seatplans.com.
For now, long-haul, low-fare flights for U.S. travelers mainly exist between the continental U.S. and Europe, although Asian carriers Jin Air and AirAsia X are each launching service to Hawaii. To discover which airlines serve your location or destination, Brett Snyder, of CrankyFlier.com, recommends starting with an airport’s Wikipedia page (usually a more up-to-date starting point than an airport’s own Web site), then booking directly through the carrier’s site, where you can prepay for extras.