Aer Lingus announces new 'low-cost' transatlantic fares... with paid bags, seats and blankets
'It's a choice issue'
Aer Lingus has announced new, unbundled transatlantic fares that will see its lead-in prices to North America drop to €169 each-way .
The new 'Saver Fares' will be billed as "the lowest possible Aer Lingus fares across the Atlantic," Independent.ie Travel has learned.
Starting at €169 each-way, the basic fares will include one piece of 10kg cabin baggage, in-flight entertainment and on-board meals.
Guests can then choose to add on 23kg checked baggage (from €37 to €50), seat selection (from €20), blankets (€5) and headphones (€3).
The new fares are designed to offer passengers "more choice and flexibility" on long-haul routes, Aer Lingus says, and do not replace its normal, all-inclusive fares.
'Smart Fares', as the traditional fares are dubbed, continue to include 23kg checked baggage, meals and drinks, free seat selection, blanket and headphones.
All-inclusive fares start from €209 each-way - so clearly, passengers that need to carry checked baggage will continue to get the best value out of this option.
'Saver Fares' are available for travel from October 1.
Low-cost transatlantic travel
“We recognise that there is not a one-size fits all for today’s traveller and we want to provide an array of fare choices for our guests," said Declan Kearney, Aer Lingus's Director of Communications.
The new 'Saver Fare' recognises "the desire for some travellers to go à la carte, book their flight and choose any additional extras should they so wish," he added.
It is also the IAG-owned airline's direct response to low-cost competition from Norwegian, which is currently offering sale fares to the US from €99 each-way.
However, Kearney says comparing Aer Lingus with airlines like Norwegian and WOW, which offers one-stop transatlantic flights from €129 each-way, are not "like-for-like".
WOW charges for food, drink and 12kg carry-on bags, for instance, while Aer Lingus 'Saver Fare' customers will still get a complimentary meal.
"This is our response to passengers travelling light to North America," said Kearney - who denied that the airline was tacking towards a no-frills service by stealth.
"It's a choice issue. We still retain the all-inclusive fare, but not everybody wants that... the 'Saver Fare' is a response to the market."
North America Calling
The new fares come at a time when transatlantic travel is booming, with overseas visitors from North America up 17.4pc from January to July, according to CSO data.
This month, Aer Lingus unveiled its largest ever winter schedule, including 350 extra transatlantic flights and a new direct service to Miami, Florida.
It expects to announce at least one new transatlantic route in the coming months.
Read more:Low-cost fare wars see flights from Ireland to US drop to €99