The Cheapest Transatlantic One-Way Legacy Carrier Fare I’ve Seen

Filed Under: Great Deals

In the past few years, we’ve seen low-cost carriers expanding across the Atlantic at record speeds. At the start of this decade a one-way ticket from Europe to the US for $69 would seem impossible, but Norwegian proved us wrong earlier this year. Because of this increased competition, legacy airlines have been forced to change their business models and compete. Premium carriers such as Emirates and Lufthansa are now charging for things that used to be free such as seat selection. It’s not unusual to see economy fares for less than $400 between California and Europe nowadays. I personally wouldn’t pay more than $450 for those tickets anymore!

The one area where traditional airlines lag behind, though, is one-way ticket pricing. Lufthansa often charges four to six times the price of a roundtrip ticket for a one-way. It just doesn’t make sense.

Well, it looks like some of these airlines are starting to catch on. TAP now offers “Discount” transatlantic fares that are hand-luggage only. While I knew they offered reasonable prices for one-way tickets, I usually see them for around $500. Until today, that is…

I was searching flights from Boston and Lisbon and came across the following:

You can currently fly one-way from most of TAP’s US gateways to Europe starting at just ~$150. The most insane part is that this fare applies to most of their European destinations, including Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona and more. While these are all hand-luggage only fares, the premium for their “Basic” fare isn’t big.

I’m frankly blown away by these fares. They’re available throughout the calendar starting in September. If you’ve been planning a trip to Europe and want to book an award one-way home, transit in Cairo, etc., these are the tickets to book! On the earnings side, most of these are in “O” class. The most you’ll earn is 25% with Miles & More, but that’s excusable given the price. 😉 I don’t have experience with TAP’s A330 economy class, so please share your thoughts in the comments if you do.

Will you be taking advantage of these incredible fares? Have you flown TAP economy before?

  1. TAP’s A330 economy class is ok, have done it twice before. Compared to other legacy carriers the service is decent enough, the food generally edible. (Never experienced the misery you had in business class with just 1 cup of water.) What can be tough at times is the 10-1/2 hour layover in Lisbon; time it right however and you’ve got most of a free day in Lisbon to enjoy. It’s so cheap and easy to get to/from airport by train.

    For those who haven’t done long layovers in the non-Schengen area, it can be a horror … depending on the time of day or night it can be quite filthy awaiting those long-haul planes to Brazil or even short hops to Africa.

    I stopped caring about my meager Victoria miles a few months ago … the are like candy wrappers, kind of useless but you can remember the sweets that were inside.

  2. @Abe They’re a big deal because it’s far much unusual to see one-way tickets in this price way, though $300 is a heck of a deal for roundtrip travel!

  3. I flew AirEuropa MIA-MAD earlier this year for $321 round trip. I’m also booked to fly MIA-LIS with TAP this November; I paid $311 for that round trip.

  4. You can also find similar fares on more “normal” airlines. United was selling tickets IAD-ZRH for $151 for travel in October.

  5. I booked one of these a few weeks back for a wedding in April! Can’t believe how cheap TAP has been over the last few months!

  6. I saw BA and AA offer trips for as low as 350€ RT from Paris (transit through London) some time last year. Tatl isn’t what it used to be….

  7. Since around Easter time, TAP has been agressive with their fares for just about anywhere on their network. Got Europe to Brazil for $370 return. Free one-night stopover in Lisbon (hotel included plus free city tour).

  8. I also think these are eligible for the 3-day stop over in Lisbon if you are flying to another destination in Europe. Am I wrong?

  9. I love TAO.And a long layover in Lisbon is no problem it’s only a 10 or 15 Euro drive into Lisbon and there’s plenty to do especially at night

  10. @Pedro yes, but didn’t have enough holiday to take advantage plus want to be in Brazil for New Years. You can have 2-night/3days stopover with hotel included and up to two tours! Thinking also about going to Sao Tome next year. Return tickets for about $300.

  11. If one were to book a flight to another country with only carry on baggage and get off the plane in Lisbon, would that work? It’s obviously against the airline’s rules, but can they stop you? Will you be allowed into the country?

  12. Daniel, yeah it drives me nuts how many legacy airlines charge so much for one-way tickets – sometimes more than a round-trip ticket.

    Why? Why? Why?

  13. P, I fly internationally with only hand baggage all the time. It’s no big deal. Every now and then a customs officer will raise an eyebrow, but that’s about it

  14. I’m planning on booking these for May 2018! I want to travel to Lisbon for Eurovision and it’s a phenomenal steal.

  15. Don’t fully understand the post? I understand the backpack crowd wants the RT
    through Lisbon for $300.
    But nobody is commenting about maybe a Business Class RT through Lisbon for $550. or add another $100. to check in two suitcases. It can freeze in Europe and the spouse would like extra CLEAN clothing ?
    What say you?

  16. I just checked re Business Class:

    Depending on the period, days and flights, it can be had for as low as $1,100 One Way, in either direction.

    Maybe not as impressive as the Coach fares but the mere availability of OW is well worth it. Plus comparing the price to a mediocre PE at $ 800 by Norwegian, TAP’s Full Service and Lie-flat Business Class, although not stellar, is a steal.

  17. Jim, the reason I don’t check bags is for speed and convenience at the airports, not to mention the hassles of shlepping all those bags around everywhere. On a 2-week trip to Europe I might find a local laundromat to wash and dry clothes – hotels charge too much for that.

    It’s not just back-packers who travel light.

  18. We just booked a one way to Madrid for $146 with a 13hr layover is Lisbon (had several options and chose the longest to give each us a day in Lisbon. We’ll stay in Madrid a few days then take a train to Barcelona for the rest of the trip and fly home for $160. I’ve paid more to fly to LA.

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