Lonely Planet Writer

One airline is lowering the cost of transatlantic flights but don’t expect blankets or headphones

Every frequent flier knows that airlines are continuing to cut back on in-flight perks in a bid to keep ticket prices low. But as the trend continues on transatlantic flights, there’s more good news for travellers who are willing to forgo a few amenities to get across the Atlantic for less.

Young woman sitting in the plane, looking away through the window and listeting music with headphones
One Irish airline is offering cheaper transatlantic flights for travellers who give up amenities like headphones. Image by miljko/Getty Images

Irish airline Aer Lingus has introduce a new “saver” fare option on its transatlantic flights, which means travellers heading on direct routes to and from Ireland and North America can get tickets starting at €169 each way. Of course, there’s always a catch – the cheap flights will come with very few benefits, and guests will have to pay extra for a checked bag, seat selection, and a blanket or headphones. The fare does include one 10kg cabin bag, in-flight entertainment and an on-board meal. The new route connects Ireland with North American cities like New York, Boston, LA and Miami and the new fares are already available for travel starting after 1 October.

New York cabs drive through Times Square.
New York is one of the priciest places to get a taxi. Image by ©Luciano Mortula/Shutterstock

If you’re planning to take advantage of the cheaper flights, make sure you really don’t want any extras. Adding a 23kg checked bag will set you back anywhere between €37 and €50, according to the Irish Independent, while seat selection starts at €20, blankets cost €3 and headphones are €5. If any of those are a necessity, travellers may be better off with the airline’s “smart” fare, which includes those benefits and starts at €209 each way.

Most travellers who take cheap flights within Europe or North America are used to the no-frills approach of budget airlines, but giving up benefits on long transatlantic flights may take a bit more getting used to. However, the rush for airlines to provide the cheapest flights across the Atlantic is ongoing, spurred on by airlines like Wow Air, which frequently announces sale prices for transatlantic flights that can go as low as $55 one-way. Like Aer Lingus’ new offering, those flights come with few – if any – amenities, but airlines are continuing to jump on the low-cost bandwagon, much to the delight – and sometimes temporary discomfort – of budget travellers.