Call it Basic Economy across the Atlantic. Norwegian, WOW and others are changing the numbers on TATL travel and Aer Lingus is responding with a new “Saver Fare” option that removes some amenities and some of the cost for travel. The Saver Fare class is not new for Aer Lingus but this is the first time the company is applying it to transatlantic trips. Fares with the reduced amenities (and price) are available for travel starting 1 October 2017.
For many years Aer Lingus was considered one of the cheaper options across the Atlantic Ocean. The hub in Dublin opened up many destinations on both sides of the ocean via an efficient connection. Operating costs – and passenger fares – were typically lower than the competition. These new airlines are challenging the fare prices while longer flights, a mixed fleet and other changes are pushing costs up.
The good news for travelers is that the Saver Fare is not quite as basic as the lower fare options on the new LCCs. Saver passengers give up their checked baggage allowance, advance seat assignment and complimentary headphones/blanket on board in exchange for savings starting around 40 euro. All passengers still receive a meal during the flight, something Norwegian or WOW charge extra for.
Passengers will also still earn Avios and status Tier Points on the Saver Fare tickets. Avios earning is based on the base fare of the ticket so the points earned will be lower, but so will the price of the ticket.
Seeing a new fare product like this roll out through the various global sales networks is interesting. Google Flights does not warn travelers that this is a bag-free fare yet and Expedia suggests that the first checked bag is included for one itinerary I found. That same price paid direct to Aer Lingus would not include the bag.
The new Saver Fare option appears limited to only nonstop flights between Dubin and the USA based on my initial search, though it is entirely possible I missed the connecting markets it is supposed to be in. Given that it is also well deployed in the European market I expect that it will expand quickly to cover the full route network.
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