Trans-Atlantic Report: Why Europe Travel Is on the Rise

According to the monthly Trans-Atlantic report, U.S. traffic to Europe increased in August, for the third consecutive month of the peak season. Visits by Americans totaled 1,161,706, an increase of 3.2 percent from August 2012, according to the latest figures from the Department of Commerce. That brought U.S. visits for the year to 7.9 million, or 38,700 more than last year. The trend is expected to continue through the fall.

The report largely credits this boost to the new developments in airlift, with better prices and more flights making trips to Europe easier than ever. 

As such, U.S. airlines reported an increase in trans-Atlantic yields for September of 4.5 percent. Combined yield has been up every month since last November, with the exception of May (when it dropped only 0.1 percent). 

Next July, Norwegian Air Shuttle will launch flights to London from New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale with one-way fares on 787 Dreamliners between JFK and Gatwick starting at $291. As we’ve previously reported, the flights will be available three times per week from New York, and twice weekly from Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. 

RELATED: Norwegian Introduces Three New Routes From London Gatwick

But the report also notes that Norwegian’s lowest JFK-London fare quoted for August is considerably higher at $435 one-way. And while the fare covers all taxes and a fuel surcharge, passengers will pay an additional $7 to use credit cards and $59 for a package that provides two meals, one bag and a seat reservation. That brings the low fare for August to $501 one way. The low JFK-Heathrow round-trip quoted last July, on several carriers for departures in August, was $1,142. 

US Airways is launching new service next spring from its Charlotte hub to Manchester, Brussels, Lisbon and Barcelona. The carrier already flies to all four from Philadelphia and serves six other European gateways from Charlotte. The new flights are expected to operate into the fall. 

Austrian Airlines will expand summer capacity to Vienna by more than 60 percent from its three U.S. gateways.  Austrian will add five weekly flights from Newark in addition to its daily flights from JFK. Austrian’s daily flights from Dulles will be assigned to a larger 777 (adding 90 seats per flight). Service from Chicago will expand from five flights weekly to daily flights. Unchanged is the daily schedule from Toronto. 

All three gateways are big hubs for United, fed by hundreds of domestic routes. Austrian is part of the United-Lufthansa joint venture, which basically operates as a single airline for pricing, scheduling and marketing trans-Atlantic service.