U.S. travelers can say “bonjour” to new ways to jet to France. Low-cost French airline XL Airways announced new nonstop flights from New York to Marseilles, to go along with its nonstops to Paris from Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.
Flights to Marseilles and from Miami and Las Vegas are the only nonstops on those routes. Sample fares are, in fact, lower than those on offer from larger airlines: San Francisco-to-Paris, for example, is about $1,325 for a round-trip ticket in July, compared with $1,644 on United and a bit more on Air France. Nonstops in June are advertised as “from about $1,040.”
Flights are seasonal: June to August from Las Vegas, Miami, and San Francisco. June to October for flights Marseilles, and May to October for flights from New York to Paris.
But if you decide to try XL, be prepared for a miserable trip. The airline’s A320s and A330s are among the worst cattle cars in the skies—ultra narrow seats, at nine-across (compared with the standard eight-across on all big European airlines) and very limited legroom. Some flights offer a “Galaxy Class” premium option, which is probably not comparable with premium economy on Air France. But, at about $2,000 from San Francisco, Galaxy is almost $1,000 less expensive than premium economy on Air France.
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