Can you fly to Atlanta, San Francisco, or New York without going through Paris? The answer is yes, on the condition you fly out of another European country. In France, secondary airports do not offer flights to the United States, but instead provide links to other hubs – the main operating sites of different airlines – where transatlantic flights are available on a regular basis.
Passengers living in and around cities other than the French capital can take a plane, bus, or train to reach the airports of Madrid, Lisbon, or Amsterdam, for example. “People living in Eastern France can go through Frankfurt, which is one of the biggest airports in Europe,” says Didier Forray, founder of Cnewyork.net, a website providing advice and information for people travelling to the Big Apple. “And those from Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region can rely on Geneva airport.”
Direct flights have occasionally been introduced by secondary airports in France. Some experiments ended as soon as they began, such as the Marseille-New York route launched by XL Airways in 2013, which quickly closed due to a lack of passengers. After two failed attempts, a Lyon-New York route was opened in 2008. However, the financial crisis put an end to it, and today only the Nice-New York route by American airline Delta is still in operation during the summertime.
Flying out of the United States
As for customers beginning a journey in America, there are direct flights available from main cities such as New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A partnership between Air France and Delta Airlines also enables passengers to take off from Detroit, Houston, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Boston, Raleigh-Durham (North Carolina), Cincinnati (Ohio), Dallas, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. In the summer, a stopover in Canada opens up a range of other destinations, with Air Transat flying to Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, and Toulouse from Montreal airport.
New routes are constantly being opened. Air France launched the Indianapolis-Paris and Seattle-Paris lines in March, running several weekly return flights. The new French low-cost airline French Bee, owned by the Dubreuil group, which also includes Air Caraïbes, is also set to enter the long-haul transatlantic sector in May 2018, offering flights between San Francisco and Orly.
Iceland is a special case, and has taken advantage of its position halfway between Europe and North America to offer low-cost flights with a stopover in Reykjavik. This logical route can be operated by mid-haul planes, and offers attractive prices and lengthy stopover times for enjoying the city. Two companies are currently tapped into this market: the low-cost Wow Air, and Icelandair, which alone offers links to 35 European destinations and 27 cities in North America.