7 On Your Side: The new way to save hundreds on summer airfares

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Wednesday, June 8, 2022
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New low-cost carriers offering international flights are competing with the bigger airlines and it's a win-win for the consumer.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- High demand for domestic travel has pushed airlines over the edge, and scores of flights canceled over Memorial Day weekend have led some to predict a chaotic summer travel season -- with prices soaring along with peak summer vacation windows.

But as 7 On Your Side learned, there is a bright spot. New low-cost carriers offering international flights are competing with the bigger airlines, and it's a win-win for the consumer.

"Where the best value is, is actually on international flights, and especially flights to Europe," said Scott Keyes, of Scott's Cheap Flights.

Keyes' research team found members of their subscription-based newsletter incredible flight deals this summer. He says forget the domestic headaches and hop across the pond instead.

"Demand for flights to Europe right now is down 20% or 30%," he said. "But the supply, the number of flights flying between the U.S. and Europe for the summer, is going to be higher."

One reason for higher supply is that new kids on the block like Norse and Azores Air are offering low-cost long haul direct flights from major airports, while PLAY Airlines is launching inaugural flights this week out of tiny Stewart International in Newburgh, New York, about an hour from New York City.

"It's a great, small airport," PLAY CEO Birgir Jónsson said. "It's really easy to operate in and out of, there's no congestion there, and it's very low competition."

Jónsson says to celebrate paying less and playing more, special fares include round trip to Iceland's capital from Orange County for $244, a layover in Reykjavik to Paris as low as $322 roundtrip, all without the hassle of traffic and congestion at a huge airport.

"This is about price," Jónsson said. "If you want to save the most dollars, this is a way to do it...We are connecting about 12 to 15 European places with a stop in Iceland to the U.S., and that's why we can do it economically because we are using smaller aircraft than you would normally use on a trans-Atlantic flight."

And that has a ripple effect on the larger airlines.

"These new budget airlines, and especially those ones flying between the U.S. and Europe, are doing a huge service to cheap flight lovers because it's bringing down fares across the industry," Keyes said. "It's causing Delta and American and United to respond by lowering their fares to compete."

To score the best deal, Keyes said you should look to book now for fares at the end of summer and early fall.

"Travel in September, travel in October, when fares are going to be 50-60-70% cheaper," he said. "And you're not going to have the tourist crowds. You're going to be able to save a boatload of money and be able to visit some of these great places all to yourself."

There are still cheaper days of the week to fly, as well, as Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are when business travelers are avoiding the skies -- meaning those are the cheapest days to fly.

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