- Primera Air is a low-cost Nordic airline that launched transatlantic routes earlier this year. One-way tickets started at $US99.
- On Monday, Primera announced it would be ceasing all operations and filing for bankruptcy on October 2.
- The airline has experienced a range of operational problems over the past few months, leading to delays and cancellations. Many customers have taken to social media to vent their frustration toward the airline and the delays in being reimbursed for canceled flights.
- Here’s what we thought after flying with the airline earlier this year.
Primera Air is no more.
The low-cost Nordic carrier announced on Monday that it would be ceasing all operations and filing for bankruptcy on October 2.
In a leaked email sent to employees, Anders Ludvigsson, Primera’s director of operations, revealed the news and said that travel arrangements would be made for flight crews who were located away from their operating bases. He did not address how the airline would support stranded passengers.
Primera started offering transatlantic flights from Boston, Washington, DC, and Toronto to Paris and London in April. It celebrated the launch with a limited selection of $US99 one-way fares. While these didn’t last long, the airline promised to offer “prices previously unseen.”
We put the airline to the test in June. Find out what happened below:
From the get-go, the website was easy to use — each option and price is clearly marked out for passengers.
The price jumped up considerably when booking a “flex” economy ticket. However, it was less expensive when opting for “comfort.”
The sales process wasn’t as aggressive as other low-cost airlines. There was just one page that pushed the various add-ons.
Months passed without my thinking about my Primera flight until 24 hours before, when it came time to check in online. This is when reality hit that this really was a no-frills airline, as there wasn’t an option to check in online. The only option I had was to pay for a reserved seat.
Primera advised customers to arrive at the airport three hours before the flight departs. This advice might seem overly cautious, it’s is not. The queue was massive when I arrived at Newark airport.
As time was tight, I was ushered into a separate queue, which moved quickly.
Primera charges for any checked baggage but allows you to carry 10kg worth of hand luggage spread across one carry-on bag and a smaller bag. Any customers with a bulky-looking bag looking to cheat the system are pulled aside at the airport and forced to have their luggage weighed.
If you are travelling for longer than a weekend and don’t want to live off one pair of trousers and a T-shirt, it’s definitely worth checking in a bag.
The check-in process was a stressful start to the trip. I dashed to the gate, which was appropriately luxurious.
My first impression of the plane was great. Things were looking up.
Primera has two new Airbus A321neo planes which covered the transatlantic route. These single-aisle planes were designed to be more fuel-efficient than standard double-aisle planes, which enables the company to offer cheaper seats.
The seats were brand-new …
… and the leg room felt pretty generous.
However, there were absolutely no perks on this flight. All I had was a USB plug and a food menu for entertainment.
There was a limited selection of food and drink, and it was mostly snack food.
While the food wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t extortionate, either, despite this being an easy way for the airline to sting its customers once on board.
Seat comfort is a big priority for overnight flights.
I was so bowled over by how new the plane was that I didn’t notice the minimal amount of padding on the seats …
… or the modest recline. These seats were only slightly more luxurious than a deck chair.
I arrived at London Stansted a little weary but with no regrets. The return trip home was considerably more comfortable, too. While it kicked off with a big check-in queue as it was a daytime flight, there was no pressure to sleep and the customer service on the flight was great.
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