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LEVEL is a low-cost European carrier owned by IAG (the parent company of British Airways) which operates a mixture of long-haul and short-haul routes and it has recently announced that it plans to offer a non-stop service between Paris Orly and Las Vegas.
LEVEL already offers flights between Europe and three other US cities (Boston, New York, and San Francisco) and, from 30 October 2019, the airline will operate a twice weekly service to Las Vegas.
Here’s the planned schedule per Routes Online:
LV8011 ORY 14:15 – 17:00 LAS (Wed & Sun)
LV8012 LAS 19:00 – 14:45+1 day ORY (Wed & Sun)
The route will be operated by LEVEL’s A330 aircraft which offer a 2 cabin configuration:
- Premium Cabin – 21 seats
- Economy Cabin – 293 seats
The Premium Cabin offers seats which are 20″ wide and which have 37″ of pitch (legroom) so they’re not too dissimilar to what American, United & Delta offer in their Premium Economy cabins.
In the Economy Class cabin the airline offers a couple of options…and one is noticeably better than the other.
All the seats in Economy Class are 18″ wide but the standard Economy Class seats offer just 30″ of pitch (legroom) and that’s going to be horrible on a flight as long as the one between Paris and Las Vegas.
There are a number of seats (around the exit rows and bulkheads) which LEVEL designates as ‘XL’ seats and, with at least 34″ of legroom on offer, these are the seats to choose if your budget will stretch to it.
I mention a flyer’s budget with reason….because just about everything costs extra on LEVEL.
If you want to choose your seats before departure it will cost you at least €13 each way, and the XL seats I mentioned earlier start at €65 each way:
A checked bag will cost €39 in each direction….
…and meals start at €35…
…so all of this adds up and should be taking into consideration if you’re booking a basic fare.
When this route was announced a couple of days ago (sorry for the late news!) LEVEL was promoting fares “starting from $99” (one-way) but those deals are no longer available and the cheapest round-trip fares I can see at the moment cost around €350/$395.
Most dates see fares of over €400/$450.
Considering these are the prices for nothing more than a seat and two pieces of hand baggage I don’t consider that to be a particularly low-cost alternative.
You can often find ‘basic economy’ fares on major carriers for less than what LEVEL seems to be charging….and that’s even flying into and out of expensive cities like London:
Normally I’d say that it’s good to see more competition on transatlantic routes and applaud LEVEL for starting the route up…but that’s not what I’m going to do here.
LEVEL is owned by the same company which owns British Airways which, in turn, has a transatlantic profit sharing agreement with American Airlines so LEVEL isn’t adding any real competition at all – it’s just flying a route that its larger sibling airlines don’t want to operate.
I wouldn’t be so critical if LEVEL looked like it was going to offer some true ‘low-cost’ fares between Paris and Las Vegas but, from what I can see right now, it’s only offering the same fares that a number of other airlines are offering without offering all the amenities and benefits that those airlines offer.
From a consumer point of view, this is quite the disappointment.