Starting today, travelers can book travel to Europe on a new airline at prices that will make U.S.-based carriers cringe.
The brand-new airline is LEVEL, a Barcelona-based discount carrier operated by IAG, parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Vueling. And the tickets that go on sale today are priced from $149 each way. Cheap, but in keeping with the ultra-low-cost business model it shares with Spirit and Norwegian and Wow and others, the fees for bags, seat selection, meals, and so on will push the final price considerably higher.
LEVEL’s first flights, operated with Airbus A330s, will launch this summer:
- June 1 – between Barcelona and Los Angeles
- June 2 – between Barcelona and Oakland
- June 10 – between Barcelona and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- June 17 – between Barcelona and Buenos Aires
The A330s will be fitted with 314 seats, 293 in regular economy and 21 in premium economy. The regular economy seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration, with just 30 inches of pitch (the distance between seats). That’s pretty tight seating, especially on long-haul flights.
LEVEL customers can earn Avios, the loyalty currency of British Airways and other IAG airlines, although at significantly reduced earning rates for the cheaper fares.
Bottom line: The launch of LEVEL service will put more downward pressure on transatlantic airfares, which is a plus for travel consumers.
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.