Jet2 holiday flights from U.K. regional airports to NYC from £289 return, but are they worth it?

Oct 28, 2019

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As well as being the U.K.’s third largest airline, Jet2 is one of the most trusted and popular travel companies in the country. The low-cost airline boasts nine U.K. hubs, predominantly in smaller, regional airports such as East Midlands (EMA), Leeds Bradford (LBA) and Newcastle (NCL). Its route network takes passengers to destinations all across Europe anywhere from Tenerife to Tivat. And each year around Christmas, Jet2 operates direct flights to New York (EWR), giving customers the opportunity to fly direct from their nearest regional airports to do a spot of Christmas shopping or even spend Christmas or New Year itself in the Big Apple.

This year, you can fly from East Midlands (EMA), Glasgow (GLA), Leeds Bradford (LBA), Manchester (MAN) and Newcastle (NCL) for prices as low as £289 return. Sounds great, right? But how does it break down? And might you be better off getting to London and flying nonstop from there?

Pros and Cons

First of all, let’s weigh up the pros and cons of flying Jet2 nonstop from regional U.K. airports to New York City.

The most obvious pro to consider here is probably the price. From just £289 return to New York around Christmas is a great price. Not only that, but it allows passengers to fly direct from their local airports, which saves precious time and money on travelling to larger airports further afield.

Next, the downside — and this is a pretty big con. Jet2 operates a narrow-bodied Boeing 757 on the route from Leeds, and these aircraft feature absolutely zero recline. Spending nearly eight hours upright in a seat isn’t the most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic, even on a day flight. To make matters worse, there is no free food or drink offering either. The other routes are served by significantly larger and comfier Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

But, let’s see how the price of these flights would compare to flying direct from other, larger airports with other airlines.

The options

East Midlands

If you’re in the Midlands, there’s only one Jet2 deal for you this season, and that’s from 25 November to 29 November. At first glance, £289 seems like a great price.

How does it stack up against the other options?

On the same dates from Manchester, the closest airport with direct flights, you’ll pay £513 return with United — almost double what you’d pay to go direct from East Midlands. That’s not including the train fare or parking and petrol costs you would incur by travelling to Manchester.

What about London? There are direct flights with Norwegian for around the same price as Jet2 but you would still have to factor in travel costs to Gatwick, which would be around £58 for those dates.

Glasgow

Around the same price as from East Midlands at £295, again, this is a very good price for a return trip to New York at such short notice and in the run up to the festive season. Like East Midlands, Glasgow only has one Jet2 return trip this holiday season — 21 November to 25 November.

But how much does this actually save you?

When comparing like for like, not much. Return to New York on these dates with British Airways from London is only £6 more expensive

But you have to factor in flying or getting the train down to London. The cheapest flights to London come in at around £50 to Stansted, which would mean having to pay for onward travel to either Gatwick or Heathrow. As for the train, you’re looking at over £100 for a return ticket from Glasgow to Gatwick.

Whether or not it’s worth it depends on your profile and preferences. If price is your main focus, Jet2 nonstop from Glasgow is absolutely the cheapest option for you. On the other hand, if you’re an Avios and Tier Point-earning member of the BA Executive Club, then you might consider doing the British Airways option from London and also flying down from Scotland to London.

Leeds

The cheapest option of the four return flights from Leeds is 12 December to 16 December and comes to £360, which, again, seems like a very reasonable price being so close to Christmas.

Now, let’s do some digging.

Direct flights from Manchester — the closest alternative airport to Leeds — on the same dates comes to £854 with United, so you’d save a whopping £496. The cheapest direct alternative from London is with Norwegian from Gatwick, which comes in at £344 return — just a few pounds less than Jet2.

By the time you’ve factored the train fare to Gatwick at around £100 and the extra time it would take, it’s probably worth your while to fly direct from Leeds.

Manchester 

Of the six return flights available from Manchester, the cheapest option is from 18 November to 22 November for £334 return. If you really want to go in December, you’re looking at £398 return from 5 December to 10 December.

Direct flights with other carriers on the same date are pricing in the £1,000s. If you change the dates a little, you can get a direct return from Manchester with Virgin Atlantic for £688.

With the Virgin option, you would get an inflight meal and benefit from earning those all important Flying Club miles.

Newcastle 

Jet2 will operate four return flights from Newcastle to New York this holiday season, and the cheapest option is at the start of December for £366 return from 2 December to 6 December.

From London Gatwick, you can fly direct with Norwegian for £444 return on these same dates. On top of the price being more expensive, you’d have to pay for your positioning flight with British Airways (~£119) or train fare (~£142) to London.

In this case, direct from Newcastle is probably your best option.

Is it worth it?

In some cases, there are flights around the same price or slightly more on comfier airlines from Manchester and London. Ultimately, you have to decide what you value more — saving money or travelling more comfortably. Regardless, these holiday flights are a seasonal favourite for regional travellers.

Featured image courtesy Jetphotos

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