For the Last few Years over Christmas Jet2 has been offering Trans-Atlantic Flights to New York for Bargain basement Prices. Jet2, however, is known as a Budget Airline, renowned for ferrying Brits around Europe. So can the Budget Airline really pull off transatlantic flights? and what is it like flying Budget across the Atlantic? Well, We jumped on board to see in order to bring you this Jet2 New York Review!
Let’s get the basics out the way first. This IS a budget flight. It’s budget in the best way…It’s VERY cheap. And it’s budget in the less desirable way, it’s a basic no-frills flight. Very much like Jet2’s service across Europe. If Budget airline travel is not for you and you know it then you don’t really need to know anymore. Spend a bit more and fly one of the better carriers. Everyone else read on.
In 2017 Jet2 have released their largest range of flights to New York. From 8 regional bases.
- Leeds Bradford
- East Midland
- London Stansted
All these airports operate DIRECT Flights to New York’s Newark Airport. Getting into Manhattan from Newark is a doddle. Anyone with knowledge of UK flights to New York will be aware that Direct flights from so many UK bases are quite a big deal. The only direct flights are normally from Heathrow so everyone else needs to get to London Heathrow first. While carriers such as BA often include flights to Heathrow, for fairly competitive prices it can add 3-5 hours onto your journey, not ideal for a weekend break. So jumping on at you local Airport and flying direct is a BIG advantage for a lot of us.
It was probably our number 1 consideration, even ahead of the price which was very cheap, but really we would have paid MORE for the convenience this offered.
Service from some airports is more limited than others with only 1 flight from Belfast but up to 9 flights out of Manchester on various dates. See the full schedule here. They tend to be 4-night trips with pretty good flight times meaning maximum time In the City, Again this normally compares favourably with other operators whose flight times are not always the best. Jets’2 scheduling is definitely designed with the Weekend break tourist in mind.
for example, the 4th of December flight to New York from Manchester is 09:00 – 12:00 while the return flight is 21:00 – 07:45. All the flight we checked are similar schedules. and give you most of the day on travel days so effectively 5 days exploring the Big Apple!
We have said a few times they are cheap, but just how cheap? Well like all flights it’s a live market so prices change reflecting on availability. But prices start at a very attractive £379 Return Including Taxes. Book early and there is no reason you won’t scoop those prices.
Obviously, This is a Budget airline so expect to pay extra for everything, like Hold Baggage, select your seat and food and drink on the plane. We still think it’s a VERY good deal, especially for a once in a lifetime dream Christmas trip!
So what are the flights actually like? Well, let’s get one thing clear from the off. The service is really no different from what you would receive flying to Tenerife. It’s a basic, but friendly, low frills service. Don’t expect Jet2 to massively up their game just because you are flying to New York. While some of the Corners cut by budget airlines might be ok for a 3-hour hop to Palma, how does that translate to 8 hours over the Atlantic?
The 757-200’s used are exactly the same as used on certain routes across Europe so expect the same seat and configuration. So that’s 3×3 with minimal leg room and a selection of “extra legroom” seats for a cost for people who really just need a bit more room. There is no Class, it’s all economy.
Jet2 Seats are reasonably comfy, we have very few issues on our outward flight. However, the overnight return leg was more challenging. The seats are great for sitting but sleep was pretty hard to come by. They are modern ergonomic non-adjustable seats. Which is fine by us as we hate it when the seat in front reclines into us!
The only issues we had were on the return when we tried to sleep and the seats just didn’t accommodate this well. the bolt upright unforgiving nature just didn’t lend to sleep well. But having flown on multiple flagship carriers in economy and Eco+ their seats are no better. Unless you plump the several £1000,s for business class sleeping on a plane is an uncomfortable broken experience.
None. Well, They have a window, but for 90% all you will see is cloud or sea. Every Trans Atlantic flight we have taken has provided some type of IFE and initially, we were very concerned about spending 8 hours staring at the back of a chair. Obviously, this is a completely unacceptable situation. But knowing about it up front simply means you make your own entertainment.
Our solution was a tablet with some movies pre-loaded on. This meant HD movies of our choosing on a screen much bigger than we would normally get. In fact we will probably never use IFE again. There are many options though, be it books, magazines, cards, music, movies on your phone. You could even TALK! Whatever it is knowing you will have nothing provided just forces to provide your own. Not a big deal really.
Food and drink
As we have said this is a normal albeit lengthened Jet2 Flight. So the food and drinks served are the standard fare. Food wise you can pre-order a meal, and they are not going to win many Michelin stars. But they fill a hole and pass a bit of time. They are perfectly edible, they just aren’t going to be a memorable gastronomic experience. Pre-ordered they start at £7.50 each so at least they are not excessively pricey. Alternatively, you can order Snacks in flight. Such as Cheese and Ham Toastie or a Chicken Mayonnaise and bacon Sandwich (both $4.20 with Crisps). Full selection and ordering here. Again these aren’t going to set your world on fire but won’t break the bank and are perfectly acceptable. You can view the Snack Menu here. Alternatively, you could just buy a Meal deal from the Airport “boots” outlet and carry that on. It’s only your own alcohol you can drink on board.
Drink wise you can expect the standard Budget style line up. Branded beers wines and spirits at high prices. two beers, wines, ciders or Spirits will set you back £8. Which is a lot…but then on the way back it might seem more reasonable after paying New York’s prices!
We found the Cabin crew to be pretty much the best crew we have experienced. Certainly on any budget flight. We think this is for several reasons. We actually got the impression they were happy to be on the flight. For a Jet2 Crew flying to New York is a new and exciting experience. They are used to hopping around Europe, lugging tipsy brits to budget destinations so they can get drunk in the sun. Suddenly they are living the Cabin Crew dream and jetting off to the Big Apple.
They are also the Cream of Jet2s Crew. How do we know? well, they have been selected to crew this flight. As said it’s all a bit out of the ordinary for Jet2 so they will pick their best to Crew. The ‘losers’ will remain to crew the standard routes while the darlings of the company get to jet off to New York! There really was a sense of pleasure and excitement in the service.
Overall there was very little to tell the service was anything other than a bog standard Budget flight. If you know what to expect from that you know what to expect from this. Just because you are heading somewhere special doesn’t mean the service changes much. The cabin crew certainly were at the highest level but they were still only providing the Jet2 standard service.
There were a couple of little “surprises” at the beginning and end of the flight, but they we just fun little touches that didn’t amount to much tangible, just raised a nice little smile from all. We will leave you to discover these.
Overall we were perfectly happy. It wasn’t quite the horror show we were expecting. Our thoughts of being crammed in with nothing to do for 8 hours going crazy with boredom just didn’t materialise. We were comfy and relaxed watching our movies with a few drinks and the time flew. For the price we paid and the other advantages, we were perfectly satisfied.
Are Budget Airlines safe to fly Tans-Atlantic?
Short answer, Yes.
Medium Length Answer, Knowing what I do about air Safety Regulations these flights would not be allowed to operate unless they were as safe as any other type of flight on any other route, the truth is they are probably a lot safer than most.
Long Answer, Really this could be a lot more information than you need! Jet2’s fleet is made up mainly of Boing 737’s these are absolutely not OK for transatlantic flights, for a number of reasons. So these are obviously not the planes used. The fleet also contains a number of 757-200 Aircraft and these are what are know as ETOPS approved. Meaning they are approved for long journeys away from the closest airport. It means they can operate for long periods of time should something happen to one engine. This is fairly important if you are part way across the Atlantic in winter!
So the aircraft in question is perfectly capable of carrying out the flight, and while the flight crews may be more accustomed to short hops to Costa Brava and Mallorca, the actual difference between flying between two points is quite small. the only really complicated bit is at either end. The bit in the middle is relatively straightforward. So the Flight crews are more than capable of steering the craft on its way to the other side of the pond.
As we discussed earlier, later the fact you are on a prestigious route for the company also means you are getting the pick of the flight crews. These are the crews especially chosen for the privilege of carrying out these flights. It’s quite the honor and privilege to be operating these routes when the normal destinations are a lot more mundane.
It’s also worth mentioning Jet2 has a 100% safety record. Budget airlines have a habit of cutting corners to keep costs low, but they do not do this in regards to safety. Their service and maintenance scheduling is incredibly rigorous and all pilots operate in a culture of safety first. I would not question for one second Jet2’s ability to operate these flights safely.
As a complete package, we were pretty blown away by Jet2’s offering. The convenience of a local airport with a direct flight and perfect time, plus slightly enhanced service and rock bottom prices really did add up to a fantastic offering. We would not hesitate to fly with them again. In fact, our only complaint is the limited seasonal nature. Honestly, we would fly all year round with them at these prices.
So Our suggestion is to get booking and enjoy a once in a lifetime trip to New York at Christmas! If so the next few paragraphs may help with your trip and help get you in the mood for the trip of a lifetime!
Read our guide on where to stay in New York or our guide to cheap accommodation. You can book a selection of hotels through Jet2holidays.com which is both convenient and reasonable value. We didn’t take that option up as we prefer Booking.com’s cancellation policy.
Autumn In New York is fantastic the leaves are turning but the weather is still nice and warm. The cold really won’t have set in. You may get a few rainy days but overall it’s great. After Thanksgiving, the City Gears up for Christmas. And the weather more often than not is still fantastic. It’s cold but not horrendously so. A thick coat hat and gloves are all that’s needed. And when on the move that’s probably too much! It is Christmas after all, its meant to be a bit cold. And if you are lucky you may get a bit of snow. Read our full guide on New York Weather here.
Things to Do
You won’t be stuck for things to do in this incredible City we have multiple guides to help you out:
Thins to Do in New York At Christmas
Have you Flown With Jet2 to New York? How did you find it? How do you think it compares with the Likes of BA or Virgin etc… Drop us a comment, or let us know if you have any questions.