It’s official. We’re living in a time where airlines you’ve never heard of are giving the airlines we’re all loyal to a run for their money. Well, if you ask the US3, their Middle Eastern non-competitors are the problem and not the increasing number of low-cost carriers populating Atlantic airspace. Even Jet2 has leased an A330 to fly from London to New York, who’d have thought?! Frankly, I wouldn’t even be surprised anymore if we saw an announcement from FlyBe that they’ll be launching London City to Los Angeles flights on their Dash-8s soon…
Well, I guess we shouldn’t see this as much of a surprise, but Scandinavian leisure airline Primera Air will add flights from London, Birmingham, and Paris, to Newark and Boston, as of spring 2018. They will operate these flights with a fleet of brand-new Airbus A321neos, while working on more routes for the near future. They have a total of eight A321neos on order, plus two A321LRs (they’re even the launch customer for this plane type).
Per @airlineroute, their new routes include the following:
- London Stansted to Newark 1x daily starting April 19, 2018
- London Stansted to Boston 4x weekly starting May 18, 2018
- Birmingham to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
- Birmingham to Boston 4x weekly starting June 22, 2018
- Paris Charles de Gaulle to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
- Paris Charles de Gaulle to Boston 3x weekly starting June 21, 2018
I’m assuming most of you haven’t heard of Primera Air before, so here’s a little background on the airline.
They were founded in 2003 as an Icelandic airline called JetX. They have several divisions operating under different AOCs in Europe.
Starting in April 2018, they’ll start setting up their new hubs in London, Birmingham, and Paris. The crazy thing is, Primera Air’s new flights aren’t actually that cheap. Sure, $99 for a one-way non-stop ticket is great, but the minimum roundtrip cost I could find is $300, and that’s without any additions to the fare.
Bags and seat selection each cost a staggering $45 per flight, and a hot meal starts at $40 all the way up to $70. WHAT?!
Those prices are simply outrageous for a leisure airline, and put their prices well-above most of the legacy carriers operating between these markets.
Each passenger will get one free carry-on weighing up to 10kg, with dimensions not exceeding 54cmx45cmx25cm.
Here are the benefits they list in their economy class:
In addition, they will offer a “Premium Economy” cabin on these routes. Interestingly, the preview image shows lie-flat seats on their website, though when you click through, they look completely different. Premium economy will include a meal, a comfort kit, and a bottle of water.
Here’s the seatmap they publish for their A321neo.
At least there are some amenities for these tickets starting at $499 one-way.
It doesn’t sound like they’ll have seatback entertainment screens, which puts them in the league of WOW Air, but below Norwegian and LEVEL. They will, however, have Wi-Fi for a fee.
Ultimately, it’s great to see more competition in the transatlantic market, but it’s almost beginning to feel like it’s a race to the bottom here. Norwegian’s 787 cabins aren’t traditional for a low-cost carrier, but we’re seeing more and more “Ryanair style” cabins being introduced in these segments. I’m curious to see how this goes for Primera Air.