The Domestic Transatlantic Flight I Can’t Wait To Take In Economy

Last December I wrote about a fascinating domestic transatlantic route that will be operating once weekly this summer. Specifically, we’ll see ASL Airlines operate a Boeing 737-700 that’s marketed by Air Saint-Pierre between Paris and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

What’s Saint Pierre and Miquelon? It’s a self-governing territory of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, near Newfoundland and Labrador. The islands cover an area of about 93 square miles, and have a population of just about 6,000 people.

The territory’s airline, Air Saint-Pierre, only has turboprops, which aren’t capable of operating the route. So they’re leasing a Boeing 737 to operate the once weekly flight.

This will be the first time we see a nonstop link between these territories and mainland France. There are some other things that make this route interesting:

  • The runway in Saint Pierre is only 5,900 feet long, so the plane will apparently be weight restricted, and will only be able to transport at most 100 passengers
  • The route will be subsidized, which makes me wonder even more what the loads on this flight will be like

When I first heard about this flight last December I only briefly considered taking it. I haven’t taken a transatlantic flight in economy in over a decade. That’s not because I refuse to do so, but rather because I don’t have to, thanks to miles & points. In fairness, this is about as short as transatlantic flights get, and it also sounds like many people will have empty middle seats thanks to the weight restrictions.

The reason I’m now seriously considering it is because one-way fares are about half the cost of roundtrip, and I’d only want to fly this one-way. When I first heard about this route I expected they wouldn’t actually publish decent fares. So while the flight isn’t cheap at ~1,100EUR roundtrip, at least you can book a one-way for half the cost of a roundtrip.

That flight might not seem that cheap, but the crazy thing is how much Air Saint-Pierre charges for other flights. For example, a one-way ticket on their flight from Montreal to Saint-Pierre is 687.70CAD. Ouch!

It seems like the most economical option would be to fly from Halifax. There’s a flight on Sunday nights at 8PM, and that fare is 281.16CAD one-way.

Then I’d have all of Monday in Saint-Pierre, and then on Tuesday could take the 12:30PM flight to Paris.

Anyway, I’m sharing this partly to run it past you guys, and so you guys can tell me if I’m crazy or not. I’m also sharing it in case others want to take this flight, since I think the combination of a one-way ticket to/from Paris with a flight on Air Saint-Pierre to/from Halifax or St. John’s is pretty tough to beat. Talk about a cool combination of a random transatlantic flight combined with visiting somewhere that’s otherwise off the grid.

Lots of you had interesting comments about visiting Saint-Pierre the last time I wrote about this route, and those comments made me even more interested to visit.

It seems like there are only a few hotels to choose from in Saint Pierre, so I’m curious if anyone who has been has a favorite/recommendation? I know there won’t be points hotels or any St. Regis properties, but I’d still like to choose wisely among the available options. 😉

Am I crazy for thinking of doing this? Is anyone else considering booking this fascinating transatlantic domestic flight?

(Featured image photo credit: Anna Zvereva)

Comments

  1. I visited St Pierre last summer. Interesting place to spend a day, but that’s enough. Great French food!

  2. Fascinating! Would love to see a flight review on that route. My partner and I traveled to St Pierre as part of a trip to Newfoundlad, although we had gone by ferry. While there isn’t much to see or do per se, it’s definitely a great place to visit for its “quirk” factor.

  3. St. Pierre is one of the remnants of French colonial north America…like pre 1800. Sounds exotic but in reality its less charming that maritime Canada and far more stuck up and rude. Which is funny since France is slashing their welfare and they want to grow the tourism sector.

    I would spend 1 day tops.

  4. Is it still a domestic flight if you have to go through immigration control once you land in Saint-Pierre? I know e.g. that flying AF to the French Caribbean gets you the long-haul XP, not the domestic ones. 🙂

  5. You should fly through Halifax and take time to visit the Citadel. Of course I may be biased since I grew up there.

  6. Do it! that’s a review I’d love to read, both on the basis of an obscure airline with an equally obscure destination. You should be able to get to Halifax with Aeroplan or any other *A points no problem.

  7. Even though it is a France to France flight, none of the DOM-TOMs are part of the schengen zone so you have to clear passport control, though perhaps a french citizen could travel with a national ID card rather than a passport

  8. Atlantic Canadian here. There’s a few creative ways to get to St Pierre:

    1. you could fly LHR to YYT (St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador) on the new AC 737 MAX in Biz and drive from St. John’s to Fortune to take the passenger ferry to St. Pierre (about 45 euros) or…

    2. take the WestJet 737 MAX in Plus from CDG to YHZ, stay there for a couple of nights, Halifax is beautiful in the summer (the Prince George is your best bet, points-wise you have the Westin and the Marriott Harbourfront although they’re not nearly as nice). Take Air St-Pierre to the namesake destination. I’d love a review, just for what the ground experience at YHZ would be like.

    3. Or if you really want to get insane and do a whole Atlantic extravaganza, fly from YUL to the Magdalen Islands of Quebec on AC Express (a criminally underrated destination, the best beaches in North America, bar none). Take the ferry to Souris, Prince Edward Island! Explore the island for a few days (they have a Marriott), enjoy the best seafood on earth, cross the amazing bridge to New Brunswick, drive all the way up to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, and do the the most beautiful road on earth, the Cabot Trail, take the ferry to NL, explore Gros Morne National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and take the ferry to St-Pierre. I said insane, didn’t I?

  9. Lucky, very much looking forward to the review. While you’re there, don’t neglect at least a brief trip report of the city and airport.

  10. I grew up in Ontario but my grandparents came from East coast of Canada. Apparently during prohibition St Pierre was the only legal place selling alcohol, and my great grandpa used to take “overnight” boat trips to smuggle back alcohol for the folks in booze-starved Canada.

    Needless to say I’m sure you’ll have fun!

  11. “though perhaps a french citizen could travel with a national ID card rather than a passport”

    German citizens too, no?

  12. That’s nothing. You should fly on the Air Caraïbes 570/571 *domestic* round trip from Cayenne in South America to Paris Orly. (Yes, Orly.) (Yes, South America domestic.)

    It’s 4401 miles each way and 8 1/2 hours for this domestic nonstop.

    The Air Caraïbes A330s have 16.5″ width in economy (that’s even less than AA’s 10-across 777s!). Of course, there’s also a J cabin with recliners.

    Now that the Oyapock bridge is open, Cayenne is the only part of France where you can drive to Brazil without getting your tires wet.

  13. You should look at the flight from Johannesburg to St Helena. It’s a brand new route, brand new airport.

  14. To get to Halifax, you should fly the WestJet 737 from Europe. Since we’re experimenting with transatlantic 737 flights 😉

  15. So while technically a domestic flight, St. Pierre isn’t in the Schengen Zone so you will have to clear immigration in St. Pierre then clear again in CDG, similar to LYR.

  16. I did Air Saint-Pierre in 2004 just to score the airport and airline. Since you cannot fly over and back same day, I did YYT to FSP, was there for a few hours (lunch time, most of the shops were closed). Then I got the ferry to Fortune Nfl and drove a one-way rental to Gander. Really beautiful drive BTW. If you are there for a day, you can do the quick flight to Miquelon and back, and fly on a rare Reims-Cessna F406, something I missed.

  17. Anyone wanna bet Lucky’s seat assignment will still be 2A or 3F ? I’ll give you 2 to 1 odds.

  18. Until 2015 ASL was named Europe Airpost and operated weekly flights during the summer months between Paris and Halifax, with an en route stop in Dublin (later switched to Glasgow). ASL has retained Europe Airpost’s livery.

    In their first year of operating flights from Paris to Halifax both the westbound and eastbound flights were flown during the daytime – which was great. No awful economy-class redeye to Europe. Sadly, the eastbound leg was switched to a night flight the next year.

  19. Until 2015 ASL was named Europe Airpost and during the summer months operated weekly flights between Paris and Halifax, with an en route stop in Dublin (later changed to Glasgow). ASL has retained Europe Airpost’s livery.

    During the first year of service between Paris and Halifax both the westbound and eastbound flights were operated as day flights. That was great – no economy class overnighter to Europe! Sadly, the next year the eastbound flight was switched to a redeye.

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