Looking to score a cheap flight to Europe this summer? Turns out it might be easier (and cheaper!) than you originally thought. According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a surge of new ways to fly to Europe this summer and going through lesser-known airports could save you hundreds. If you are patient and savvy enough to pick through schedules and find smaller airlines departing from airports that hardly dreamed of having trans-Atlantic service, like New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport, you could save big!
Airlines like Norwegian and WOW are taking the Southwest blueprint across the Atlantic, with lower-cost flights from lesser-known airports. This trans-Atlantic push is offering new back-door routes to Europe with discount airlines taking advantage of new freedom from restrictive treaties in international travel and new small- and medium-size airplanes that can make long trips at low costs. Norwegian is using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to offer discounted fares across the Atlantic. The new fuel-efficient plane costs less to operate than larger and older widebody jets, enabling Norwegian to undercut rivals on price.
Some of the flights are a downright steal: Stewart Airport near Newburgh, N.Y., averages just seven flights a day to five U.S. cities. By the time summer rolls around, it will offer nonstop flights to five European airports. Norwegian started selling tickets with $65 one-way fares including taxes. Unfortunately, those have long since sold out. But the prices available this week for July trips are still mind bending—roughly half what big airlines offer for summer trips to Europe.
Until this spring, New Orleans hadn't had a direct European flight for decades. British Airways first direct flight took off on March 27 and Condor Air will begin direct flights to Frankfurt on May 17. You can read all about New Orleans new international flights here. From New Orleans, a July 12-19 trip to London priced at $983 on British Airways site this week. A trip from Houston to London on the same dates cost $1,586.
The WSJ's tips to finding new flights include paying attention to billboards: The airports with new service usually pay to market the new service. Book direct or use a broad search engine like Kayak, Google Flights, Skyscanner or Momondo that will pick up discount airlines that may not list flights in central travel agency computers. Be flexible with your dates. Some of these new flights won’t run daily.