The on-again, off-again French Bee flights between New York and Paris are back on. The low-cost French airline has had some false starts on this route, most recently as June. But despite the present challenges flying transatlantic routes, French Bee is now selling tickets for August flights.
Daily Newark departures from August 1
Clint Henderson of The Points Guy did the legwork. He discovered Newark flights were available on French Bee’s website from August 1.
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The flight out of Paris Orly, BF720, departs at 19:45 every evening and arrives into New York’s Newark Airport at 22:00 after a trip of eight-plus hours. The return flight, BF721, departs Newark at 23:55 and lands back in Paris Orly at 13:20 the following afternoon.
While French Bee’s website shows these flights operating throughout the remainder of July, you cannot proceed through to book them until August 1.
On first impressions, French Bee is another airline trying to grab a slice of the usually competitive transatlantic market. While business is subdued right now, the flights between North America and Europe typically provide handy streams of revenue for airlines.
In the last decade, several low-cost airlines have piled into the route, traditionally the preserve of legacy carriers. So far, French Bee is following the well-worn path.
French Bee bucks the transatlantic trend
But the airline is differentiating itself in one significant way. With an increasing interest in operating smaller, single-aisle aircraft across the Atlantic, French Bee is going big. The airline only has three aircraft in its fleet, kind of limiting its options, but they are the rather nice A350-900.
Let’s face it, if you had to spend eight hours on a low-cost airline, would you prefer one of Air Canada Rouge’s proposed A321 transatlantic services or a ride in an A350-900?
French Bee is proposing to fly this route at a challenging time. Europe’s borders remain closed to United States citizens. Likewise, the United States isn’t laying out the welcome mat for Europeans either. In such a hostile operating environment, you might question French Bee’s decision to start flying the transatlantic route.
Or it might just be an error on French Bee’s website. Simple Flying has approached French Bee to clarify the status of the Newark bound flights. We haven’t heard back before the publication deadline.
A challenging year for French Bee
2020 has proved a challenging year for French Bee, but the airline is in good company. Towards the end of March, French Bee suspended its flights to Tahiti and San Francisco. In a nice understatement, French Bee called the broader travel downturn “an extremely difficult situation.”
But the Tahiti flights are recommencing, initially operating once a week from mid-July. The flights usually operate via San Francisco. However, owing to difficulties there, the Tahiti bound flights are operating via Vancouver. Across August, French Bee plans to increase these flights to twice weekly.
Flights to and from San Francisco currently remain canceled until the end of July. That means the leg between San Francisco and Papeete is also not running.
If the French Bee website is correct and the Newark flights are commencing in August, you have to give the airline some points for courage. It’s a brave airline that launches a route into the United States in this environment.