Are $10 U.S.-Europe flights coming soon?

An intercontinental flight for next to nothing? Maybe, but with some caveats.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor
Someday, you could get an intercontinental flight, between the United States and Europe, for next to nothing. 

The Telegraph reports that Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary told a conference in Ireland that he has plans for the company to offer flights with insanely low prices between cities in Europe and U.S. cities, like Boston and New York, for between 7.3 and 10 euros (roughly $10-14). 

"We can make money on 99 cent fares in Europe," O’Leary said. "Not every seat will be €10 of course, there will also need to be a very high number of business or premium seats."

And even for those customers who do get an ultra-cheap fare, you won't exactly be receiving charity from Ryanair. This is Ryanair we're talking about. You can expect to pay for meals, bags, water, and comfort, and other extra charges that the no-frills airline in known for. 

Ryanair has a terrible reputation (one I've had the joy to experience only once in my life) when it comes to customer service (they're trying to get better, they promise) so it would be easy to have a cynical take on this news. But I see this as a benefit to the consumer. Because as much as people like to complain about low-cost airlines that charge low fares but make you pay for everything else, travelers continue to use the services

The key to maximizing savings, as with all low-cost flights, will be planning ahead: consolidate your bags (maybe buy one of these), pack a sandwich, fill up a water bottle before you board. Or, with the money you save, don't pack a bag and buy some clothes at a thrift shop when you land. Or not, but you have that option.

Plus, it could mean greater accessibility between the continents, more tourism, and increased pricing options when it seems like air fares are only on the rise.

But when will the cheap flights begin? When Ryanair builds up its fleet of long-haul airplanes. O'Leary previously said the company "would need a fleet of 30, 40, 50 [long-haul] aircraft and not two, four or six," before it can begin Europe-U.S. service. The Telegraph projects that could take around five years.

When Ryanair does begin service it will have a competitor in the Europe-to-U.S., low-fare market. Norwegian Air Shuttle began cheap (not $10 cheap, but still cheap) service between Europe and the U.S. last year.

Photo: Flickr/gavinzac

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