I’ve written regularly about the great fares low-cost carriers Wow Air and Norwegian Air have brought to the North Atlantic, starting a fare war with the legacy carriers and resulting in air fares falling to historic lows between the US and Europe. Now, the legacy carriers are striking back – IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is launching a long-haul budget airline from the Vueling hub in Barcelona, Spain. They are starting flight in June 2017 and offer fares as low as $149 one-way!
Level is starting with two new Airbus A330 planes and crew borrowed from Iberia. The A330 will be fitted with 293 economy class seats in a 2-4-2 layout standard for this plane and with large 10in video screens for each seat. Upfront will be a Premium Economy class with 21 seats in a more spacious 2-3-2 layout, with more generous 37in pitch and a 12in video screen with noise-cancelling headset. WiFi will be available at all seats for a fee.
They are launching four routes from Barcelona to Oakland/San Francisco (3x per week), Los Angeles (2x per week), Punta Cana (2x per week) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (3x per week). Because Barcelona is sister airline Vueling’s hub, you can connect to their 163 destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Level will offer 6 fare classes: Basic Economy offers a flight from A to B with 1 piece of handluggage and you’ll pay extra for seat assignment, food and checked luggage, but do earn (some) Avios award miles. Other fares include seats, luggage or food and more flexible terms. Premium Economy fares include the much better seats, a three-course meal and more luggage and flexibility:
It’s exciting to see another low-cost carrier launch long-haul flights. The flights to South America should reduce typically expensive fares. Flights to California will give travelers additional options to Southern Europe, instead of the Northern routes Norwegian Air and Wow Air are using. If fares remain as low as during this launch, it will be a great alternative for budget travelers. The experience in Economy and Premium Economy should be similar to other carriers
Level claims to have sold more than 50,000 tickets in the first day, with the initial fares gone for many/most flights and web site issues under the heavy load. I tried out the site, but was redirected to Iberia’s web site and not able to book anything. It will be interesting to see if Level can get there web site to work reliably after the initial excitement wears off. You can check out their flights and fares at FlyLevel!
I will continue to try and access their site for more information and will keep you posted on future sales and developments.
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