Budget Airlines Can Still Take You There and Back

Photo: Ashim D’Silva

By Steve Dinnen

A Cadillac Escalade will transport you from Des Moines to Omaha in style. A Mitsubishi Mirage will get the job done, too, though more modestly. The same holds true for air travel, with airlines charging up to 10 times more for the privilege of business and first class over economy.

If lofty fares don’t interest you, try a cheaper option. The Norwegian budget carrier Norse Atlantic Airways will fly you from New York to Rome and back for just $404. United Airlines wants $1,303.
Budget airlines with international destinations don’t serve Des Moines. Icelandair is as close as they come, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Ireland’s Aer Lingus flies from Chicago O’Hare. And Norse Atlantic serves only major hubs such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

Of course, you have to get from Des Moines to one of those gateways; be prepared to tack on another $400-$500. A June 12-19 trip from New York to London, for example, is $590 with Norse Atlantic. Domestic discount carrier Allegiant Air flies from Des Moines to Newark on select days and will charge $82 on June 12. Return on June 20 on American Airlines (after an overnight in New York) and pay $145, bringing the total bill to $817, plus whatever you pay for that New York hotel. That’s still a lot less than a $1,627 Delta round-trip ticket from Des Moines to London. That adds up to substantial savings for a family of four – as long as you’re willing to ride Mitsubishi style.

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