Low-cost carriers help make trips back to the states easier

Low-cost carriers help make trips back to the states easier

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Your dad’s milestone birthday. A cousin’s wedding. The birth of your first niece. The need to be with friends in family in times of crisis or celebration. Being based in Europe has advantages to be sure, but at times the gap from loved ones can feel as vast as the sea.

While there’s nothing to be done about the distance, a pair of low-cost airlines have gone far in reducing the hit to our finances in recent years, meaning a short hop across the pond for that special occasion has a greater chance than ever at becoming a reality.

Norwegian Air Shuttle, the fifth largest low-cost carrier in the world, was founded in 1993 and began operating as a low-cost carrier in 2002. Over the past five years, it’s steadily expanded in the trans-Atlantic market, and it continues to launch new routes and establish new bases in Europe, the U.S. and beyond. The U.S. cities served by the airline include Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, New York, Oakland-San Francisco, Orlando, Providence-Boston, Seattle and Tampa. The airline offers three basic fare options, and on its long haul flights, it has a premium cabin with two fare options. Norwegian’s hubs are in Oslo and London Gatwick.

A route of potential interest to U.S. military members in Europe might include the one between New York (EWR) and Munich. From Berlin, travelers can take direct flights to Los Angeles, Miami, New York or Orlando. And flights from Prague fly directly to Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando.

Granted, most of Norwegian’s European destinations aren’t close to our communities. However, our savvy, thrifty travelers know how to fly across the European continent with ease. This means that, with a little creativity, a traveler could fly from Providence-Boston (PVD) to Dublin, Ireland on Norwegian for as little as $113.90, and pair that with a flight from Dublin to Stuttgart on Ryanair for 16.99 euros. (These were actual fares pulled up for a theoretical booking of one-way flights in March 2019.)

Other airlines worth checking out when searching for low transatlantic fares might include Aer Lingus, Icelandair and Level. The online travel agency Kiwi is a great resource for discovering low-cost carrier offerings and creative pairings of flights on airlines that don’t generally coordinate with one another.

Could the time be right to ditch that heavy bag and fly on over to meet your new nephew or crash your college roommate’s wedding? You can always send the gift by post!

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