Why You Need to Switch Airlines

There are Better Options Out There

Author: The Traveling Professor/Thursday, July 6, 2017/Categories: Save on Airfare

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The Traveling Professor books about 75,000 to 100,000 air miles per year.  Much of that travel is between Europe and the U.S.  

There are some new airlines to seriously consider if flying on your own or on a Traveling Professor small group tour to Europe.

But first, why should airlines other than the legacy carriers like American, Delta, United and their partners (i.e., British Airways, Air France, KLM) even be considered?  It is my opinion  these airlines answer to their shareholders and investors first and the customer last.  This is why seats are getting smaller and smaller as they pack as many people as they can onto flights, services are reduced, meals are as lousy as they can be, planes are old and outdated, and passengers are nickled-and-dimed on things like drinks, blankets, wi-fi, headsets, and more.

There are some new airlines and they "get it", at least in some respects.  Maybe they aren't quite yet putting the customer first, but I have found I am treated much better on these new carriers than I am on American Airlines and (the worst), British Airways.

Here are my favorite airlines ranked in order:

Norwegian Air Shuttle:  My favorite "new airline".  Look - they just ordered the newest and best Boeing and Airbus planes.  Fares are fair.   For example I just priced a R/T flight from JFK to CDG with an outbound flight on October 18 and a return 7 days later.  On Norwegian the flight is $596.  The legacy carriers recognize the competition and are about $676.  However, the big difference is if you want some more legroom and better service. Business class is $1348 on Norwegian and the legacy carriers are all at least $1,000 more.  How I use Norwegian to my advantage is that I will fly it to a major city like Copenhagen or Oslo at very inexpensive fares, and either take another inexpensive flight or a train to the city I want to get to.

Icelandair:  Although this airline has been around for many years, it has recently had a resurgence with the increase in popularity in traveling to Iceland.   Low fares, comfortable seats, and better service than the legacy carriers make it preferable.  They also pioneered the "stop over" concept that allows a passenger to stay up to 7 days in Iceland before moving on to another country. Icelandair still needs some work in figuring how to board an airplane (long lines).  However, I love their deals on Premium Class flights.

Aer Lingus:  This airline has also been around a long time and is my 3rd favorite "new" airline.  They run much the same way as legacy carriers in terms of customer service but offer super-low fares.   Bargains can be had on premium class seats.

Another thing I like about these 3 airlines is not only do they fly out of major cities, but some fly out of smaller cities like Hartford, Providence, Austin, Fort Lauderdale, and Omaha.   For instance, I love flying out of Hartford where I pay $9 a day for valet parking of my car, where as if I flew out of JFK, it costs me about $20 a day (with taxes) for self-parking.  On a 15 day trip it makes quite a difference. 

The issues I have with some of these low-cost flyers is that scheduling can be an issue.  Not all of them have the prime time flights the legacy carriers do.  If you like private lounges, not all of these airlines have them in every city they fly out of, but they do have them.

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