Primera Air Announces New Transatlantic Flights

Primera Air

Primera Air has announced the opening of 3 new European bases as well as new transatlantic flights from those locations to the U.S. beginning in 2018. President and Chairman of Primera Air Andri M. Ingolfsso said these flights will provide “a product and service concept merging low fares and high quality.”

The new transatlantic routes will be served by Airbus A321neo aircraft based at London-Stansted (STN), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Birmingham (BHX). Round-trip flights between those cities and New York City (EWR) or Boston (BOS) will begin in April and May of next year.

 Seating Options

Primera Air A321neo seat map
The seat map for the Primera Air A321neo shows premium economy and 3 types of economy seats, all of which you have to pay to select.

Primera Air will officially have 2 classes of service on their transatlantic flights: economy and premium economy.

On the seat map above, you can see the premium economy seats in purple, economy with extra legroom in blue, exit row seats in orange, and standard economy in yellow.

Selecting your economy seat before the flight will require a fee that will range from $45 to $70 on a one-way itinerary.

Economy

Primera Air Economy seats
An example of the economy seats for Primera Air’s new A321neo aircraft.

Economy seating includes the following features:

  • High-quality buy-on-board selection of items at great prices
  • An option to reserve a comfort seat with more legroom
  • USB sockets to charge your devices
  • Wi-Fi (for a fee)

Premium Economy

Primera Air Premium Economy seats
The premium economy seats on the A321neo have a bit more room and a bit more padding, but not much else.

Premium economy seating includes the following features:

  • High-quality buy-on-board selection of items at great prices
  • One meal
  • Comfort kit
  • An individual bottle of water
  • Electric and USB sockets to charge your computer and devices
  • Wi-Fi (for a fee)

Fees for Everything

Primera Air Meal Prices
Although they have several choices available, meal prices start at $40 and go up to $70. One has to wonder what the quality of the standard beef meal is for that cost!

Like most low-cost carriers, the base fare is just the beginning of your charges with Primera Air. The airline has a whole table of fees, some of which (like the Transaction Fee of $12 per booking) can’t be avoided.

It is hard to believe that the above meal choices are per person and per one-way flight. You can get a pretty stellar meal at a restaurant for $70, and it is doubtful that the quality of the food on these flights will compare.

In addition to fees for booking and meals, you will find yourself paying for seat selection and any baggage over your 10 kg maximum carry on. The planes will not have in-flight entertainment, but they will include USB power ports at each seat so you can use your own devices.

If you want Wi-Fi, be prepared to pay another fee…even if you paid for premium economy seating.

Final Thoughts

It is great to have another low-cost carrier adding to our choices for less expensive transatlantic travel. We have already seen (and will likely continue to see) fares from legacy carriers drop as they try to compete with these smaller airlines on some routes.

As U.S. carriers continue to reduce onboard services and raise prices on things like checked bags, seat choices, and personal entertainment, the experience gets closer and closer to what we expect from airlines like Primera Air.

Make sure you look at your total costs when booking with Primera Air or any other low-cost transatlantic carriers, as the fees can add up quickly.

A $99 fare looks great until you add in $40 for a meal, $45 for a checked bag, and at least $45 to select your seat. Pair that with a more expensive $195 return (with all of those fees again), and you can easily reach $554 for your round-trip economy booking that doesn’t earn miles or status credit with a major carrier.

We have recently seen several round-trip flights between the U.S. and Europe with fares lower than that on full-service carriers!

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how successful Primera Air is with this pricing model when they launch in April 2018.

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