Primera Air has made a significant change to one of its routes from London to New York; the “non-stop” flights it is offering are actually making a stop. Instead of touching down in the United States first, passengers will travel an additional 300 miles, or 90 minutes of travel time, so that the planes can refuel in Iceland.
Whilst flight paths can be subject to change and airline schedules are constantly tweaked in order to tap into ways to save money and eliminate underperforming routes, the reason this change is occurring for Primera is that the aircraft they have available are incapable of completing the flight time in one go.
In other words, the planes they have allocated to the 3,500 mile trip only have a range of under 3,000 miles, so they are required to stop and refuel.
Whilst that seems relatively poor planning, another problem is that the Primera Air website still looks to be showing a non-stop journey:
Wow, one of Primera’s competitors, also operates flights to the US, but it clearly states that their route involves a stopover.
A Primera Air spokesperson addressed the lack of communication on the website and overall issue by saying: “Due to operational reasons, six flights in September will be operated with Boeing 737-800 instead of Airbus A321neo. As these were ad-hoc changes, the website is not showing the information properly, however all passengers on these flights have already been informed about the aircraft change and information on the website will be updated today… We apologise for the inconvenience... however, these are temporary changes after which A321neo will be again operating the New York route.”
Once Primera is able to swap back to it’s intended aircraft, it will be able to travel 4,000 miles and complete the trip non-stop and as planned.
Describing themselves as a “dynamic and growing company” their “goal (is) to provide excellent air travel services. We operate in accordance with the highest aviation standards and pay attention to detail to make sure your experience with us is nothing but perfect”.
Considering this is not the first time Primera has made changes to services or upset customers, it’s understandable why people are questioning the company and its delivery of service and goals. Earlier this month, the airline announced that they would be canceling hundreds of flights, and even canceled flights without telling passengers, ruining family holidays.
With fares as low as £153 one-way, it’s possible the additional flight time won’t deter keen or last-minute travelers, although until the website is updated, customers may be surprised at an unexpected stopover on a “non-stop” flight.