Travel notes: American’s year-round flights to Lisbon, Barcelona; Spirit’s Oakland nonstop; and a hefty fare for Phoenix flights

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American Airlines
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American Airlines has extended its seasonal nonstop service from Philadelphia to Lisbon and Barcelona year-round.

In addition to Lisbon and Barcelona, American’s year-round PHL transatlantic service includes London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Madrid, and Rome.

“We thank American Airlines for recognizing our passengers’ desires to travel to these popular European destinations all year long and adding more Lisbon and Barcelona flights to their PHL roster,” said PHL CEO Atif Saeed. “We look forward to welcoming travelers heading to Portugal and Spain this fall and winter.” 

Nonstop to Oakland

A previous column reported that Spirit Airlines was not offering a nonstop to Oakland from Philadelphia International Airport.

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A recent look at the schedule shows the nonstop is back at a lower price than flights to San Francisco. United Airlines offers a nonstop to SFO with American having two daily flights.

Like its competitor Southwest, Spirit sees Oakland as a way to stake its claim on the Bay Area market without going head-to-head with the big three.

The Bay Area, like DC-Baltimore, has other airports, including San Jose, and if you live in its upper reaches, Sacramento.

Then there’s Phoenix. Suppose you are traveling to Arizona in spring and summer and want to take a nonstop flight. In that case, Philadelphia International Airport is a pricy option unless you have piled up travel miles on American.

A look at flight schedules puts an American nonstop price from PHL in May at $664. Checking a bag gets it close to $700. A nine-hour connecting flight runs only a couple of hundred dollars but adds about four hours to travel time. You can add another $100 or so for checked luggage or a bag that goes into an overhead bin. Nonstop competition is nonexistent, with Frontier ending nonstop Phoenix service this month as snowbirds headed north.

BWI is a better deal with nonstops ranging from about $200 on Frontier (baggage extra) to more than $400 on Southwest, where golf clubs are normally carried at no extra charge.

When it comes to Las Vegas, fares are more reasonable, with American selling tickets for as little as $240 for a nonstop roundtrip in mid-May. American’s Vegas route faces competition from Frontier and Spirit nonstop, and the lower fares from American may be designed to force out competitors from a bread and butter route. Doug Rainey

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