Flying to Europe Has Never Been Cheaper: Here’s How to Book Budget-Priced Tickets

The London Eye

By Anna Breuer on 5 September 2018
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“It won’t get cheaper.”  That’s what ultra low-cost carrier Primera Air said in a recent ad campaign, advertising one-way fares to Europe of $99. Ninety-nine dollars was People Express territory in 1985, although that very same $99 would be approximately $219 in 2018 dollars.

Recently, Primera Air offered one-way fares to London from Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. of $63. To put this in perspective, this would be approximately $27 in 1985 dollars or approximately 25% of the cost of a People Express ticket back then.

Primera, which was founded in 2003 as JetX, is owned by Primera Travel Group, a company owned by multiple tour operators in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Estonia.

As is typically the case with booking flights, the further out you make your purchase, the greater the savings will be although I was able to find a flight from New York-Newark to London on Primera in fourteen days from the time I am writing this for $99, while other flights ranged from $109 to $599, which of course I would never pay to fly on a low-cost carrier.

The $63 fare appeared to have been sold out but I do know of several people who were able to snag it. Over the next three months I have a choice of dozens of days where I could get the $99 fare, however, It’s important to note that, while this is the People Express price tag, $99 today would be roughly $43 in 1985 dollars.

By comparison, Wow Air would charge $199 on the same day, but to be fair, the return flight on Primera would be the total up to $250 round trip, still less however than Wow’s price.

Many travelers turn to travel aggregators such as Kayak, Orbitz, or CheapoAir to book flights but, while these websites may be a good starting point, they may not be cheaper than the airline’s website and it’s always a better idea to book directly. Indeed, many airlines offer sales and special promotions that are only available from them.

Ultra low-cost carriers make their money on à la carte options such as food, checked baggage fees, seat assignments, and overhead bin access. It’s important to calculate the entire cost of a flight if you don’t travel light and don’t want to bring your own food.

Oh, and about that “It won’t get cheaper” ad campaign. Primera Air lied. It did get cheaper.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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