level airlines aircraft Airbus a330

Flight Review: New York to Paris Orly on Level Airlines

In 2018 and beyond, we are really entering into an golden age of transatlantic flights. With a seemingly endless  array of new airlines popping up, prices will continue to test new lows and travelers win for once. Norwegian Airlines started the “budget” trend with sub $500 USD fares to Scandinavia and the UK. Norwegian has since expanded extensively and numerous other long distance budget airlines have since pushed into the Fray including Primera, WOWAir, XL Airways, Level Airlines, and more.

I recently took one of the inaugural flights on Level Airlines from New York-Newark to Paris Orly. I paid €140 for a one way flight and have seen round trip flights for under €300 . Finding sub $400 USD round trip flights to Europe is no longer the exception but the norm now. Normally, I never pay for my flights but instead use my points and miles that I’ve accrued through extensive travel hacking. but these flights were so cheap I didn’t even bother with my points.

Level airlines paris orly airplane
Level Airlines plane disembarking in Paris Orly

Update Apr, 2019: I have had a few people email me about how they’ve had negative experiences with flying the airline in recent days. As this review is purely based on the flight I took, things with discount airlines can change at any time. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT if you’ve had recent experiences with the airline (positive or negative) so future travelers can know what to expect!

Update 2022/2023

Level Airlines no longer flies from Newark Airport or Paris. Instead, Level flies from New York JFK to Barcelona airport. From Barcelona, you can transfer to the numerous other destinations Level flies. Level is still flying from Boston and Los Angeles but only direct to Barcelona.

Prices for flights are no longer as cheap as they used to be.

What is Level Airlines?

Level Airlines is part of the IAG network that consists of Oneworld airlines like British Airways and Iberia. Level Airlines was formed in response to low-cost airlines Norwegian eating into IAG’s full-service business (yay competition, now can we please get some in the US domestic market?). It’s been around for a few years mostly dabbling in intra-EU flights before jumping into the transatlantic game last year. They are operated by Iberia for flights to Spain and Openskies for flights to Paris Orly.

Level currently flies from Los Angeles & SFO to Barcelona, and Newark to Paris & Madrid for its transatlantic routes with more routes in the pipeline. Prices are incredibly cheap and €300 flights can easily be found.

Booking Process

I was booking a trip to Dakhla to go kitesurfing with a stopover in Paris to go to the Champagne wine making region. Flights from NYC to Casablanca to Dakhla seemed liked the best bet for $900. But I decided to check for flights to Paris as it is a big hub for flights into Morocco. I looked for one way flights to start and found a slew of airlines including Primera, Norwegian, XL Airways, and Level.

Price of flights on Level

Level had the cheapest prices at €140 with other airlines not that much more expensive. I’d never heard of the airline before but as an adventurous guy, I decided what the hell and booked it. The added benefit of Level is that they fly into Orly, which is a smaller and much more convenient airport than Charles De Gaulle.

level airlines flight search newark paris orly
Searching for availability from Newark to Paris Orly. Such cheap prices!

I mean come on! €140 ($160) for a 7 hour flight to Paris? That is a steal! Flights from Newark leave at 10:40pm and leave Paris to Newark at 6:15pm. The flights are 3-4x a week and there doesn’t seem to be a consistent schedule yet. Flights range in price from €120 one way to €250 . There was plenty of availability for the lower end prices when I looked.

When Level started flying in the USA in 2017, they had many booking interface confusions but no longer. Their website is very easy to use and booking was a breeze. The interface is easy to use and Visa, Mastercard, and AMEX are all accepted.

As is the case with all other low-cost airlines, the fare paid includes the flight with a carry on. Checked bags, seat selection, in-flight meals are all extra and some of the prices were pretty outrageous (€35 for a meal, and €50 for checked bags). Thankfully, I abide by the never check a bag rule and eat at the lounge beforehand which has served me very well in my travels.

Check in Process

Located in Newark’s International Terminal B, Level Airlines is located on the top floor near the British Airway counter. They have their own counters with 6 booths. I came early just in case something went wrong as this was one of their flights. Can never be too safe after all. I was in line for maybe 10 minutes before checking in and getting my boarding pass.

Newark airport level airlines
The Level Airlines counter at Newark Airport
Level airlines newark orly paris airport

There is an also an option to check in online before the flight but it kept asking me to choose a seat, which means I would have to pay for seat selection. I wasn’t keen to spend €25 on selecting a seat so I skipped the online check in. 

Like all low-cost carriers, Level has strict baggage requirements. For carry on, the limit is 10 kg for the carry on and a personal item. I’ve seen stricter requirements before and it really just depends on the agent you get on any specific night. As I was only taking a large-ish backpack, the agents didn’t even ask me to weigh anything. I’m pretty sure it was over 10 kg but it was not an issue.

Going to the Arts & Lounge at Newark Terminal B

It was over two hours until my flight so I killed time at the Arts & Lounge which is located before security. Newark doesn’t have good lounge options in general, but I actually don’t mind the Arts & Lounge. It’s not going to change anyone’s life, but it is totally acceptable for a Priority Pass lounge. I drank copious amounts of red wine in anticipation of the worst. As it was a redeye flight on an airline I had never flown before, I figured lots of red wine would somewhat help with falling asleep.

Note that there are loads of redeye flights to Europe out of Newark in this terminal so between the hours of 8-11pm, expect long lines.

The Airplane and Boarding

Level Airlines Terminal B Newark to Paris

I met some interesting people at the lounge. Their full-service Delta flight to Paris with no reasoning was canceled that evening and they ended up booking flights on Level. They had no idea Level was a low-cost airline or that it was flying a brand new route. We had one too many red-wines and didn’t even leave the lounge until 1 hour before the flight.

Going through security was excessively long because all the other airlines fly out of this terminal (and there is no precheck) and it was 10:20 when I got the gate (B68). It was almost done boarding so I have no insight to add about the boarding process but I assume it was fine.

We were all seated just before the estimated 10:40pm departure time. Because Newark is a consistent disaster, we were fore-warned that we could be taxiing for awhile. We ended up lifting off just before 11pm which I would consider a big win!

The airplane itself

Level uses the new Airbus A330s on this flight with a 2-4-2 row configuration. I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the aircraft was. It’s brand new and I felt at ease. The seats are comfortable enough with ample padding.

Level airlines aircraft Airbus A330

I loved the adjustable headrest with the sleek Level logo. I also really liked how the headrest molds to your head, keeping it firmly in place so your head isn’t bobbing all over the place when you’re asleep. This is something I’ve never seen before. The seats also recline to a comfortable angle, more so than many of the full-service airlines I’ve flown on in fact.

The seats were a bit on the narrow side but the flight was not full so it was just me and another girl in the middle row of 4 seats. Leg space is on the tighter side but I’ve seen worse. I am 6′ tall  with wide shoulders and it was at the cusp of what I would consider comfortable but it was enough space where I wasn’t in pain.

Level airlines airplane aircraft inside

Again, you’re not getting Emirates quality economy class. If that’s what you’re expecting from a $150-$160 flight across the Atlantic, either get over yourself, or pay more for the good stuff.

In Flight Entertainment System

There is also an entertainment system in every seat. Nice, big vibrant screens with a modern interface. They had the latest movies and TV shows for free and I didn’t even have to wait until takeoff. I ended up watching the new Star Wars Han Solo movie (decent). There is also an innovative ordering system on these tablets where you could store your payment information and purchase food, drinks, headphones, charging banks, wifi, and other things of actual use.

Level airlines entertainment offerings
Entertainment offerings

The entertainment system has a slot for a USB cord to charge your phone (which is ALWAYS appreciated) but I didn’t see any power outlets for a laptop (although I wasn’t looking very hard).

With Level’s low prices, modern entertainment system and safety videos, it’s no surprise that most of my flight was filled with millennials. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a flight where I felt like everyone on the flight to be younger than me. It’s not a surprise that Level is targeting the budget concious travel-saavy millennial and Gen Z crowd.

In the end, you’d think you’d be sacrificing comfort in droves with such low prices but like I’ve had with Norwegian, it simply isn’t the case.

The Crew And Service

I’ve been on many low cost airlines in Europe where the crew might as well not be there. They seemed even less enthused than the passengers that were slugging through the journey. I never got that impression from Level Airlines. The flight attendants were nice and always had a smile.

As it is a low-cost airline, they are not walking the aisles constantly serving out food and refreshing your drinks but that’s not what this flight is for anyway. When I wanted a cup of water, I got exactly that which to be honest is all I need on a flight anyway. I came well prepared with my own snacks.

Level airlines newark to paris orly
Almost had this entire row to myself on this flight

I’m probably easier to impress than most of the divas flying the skies these days. I just need a flight where I can get water, where the flight attendants seem like they enjoy their jobs in some capacity, and where I have an acceptable amount of space. Above all, I understand that I am flying a low-cost airline, and I know what to expect.

level airlines aircraft Airbus a330
Level Airlines plane at Paris Orly

Final Impressions of Level Airlines

All in all, I would rate my experience of Level Airlines positively. The aircrafts are brand new and they did a good job retrofitting them. The flight attendants were friendly and the entertainment system will keep anyone occupied for this 6.5 hour flight. Level has had some time to perfect their craft and it really showed here. Whatever problems they had from their inaugural flights are no longer.

I hope they can keep up the service quality as time goes on. I will most definitely fly Level again for what will now be a cheap and quick jaunt to Paris or Madrid.


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  1. I booked a flight with LEVEL in July, from New York (EWR) to Paris (ORY). I did not receive a cancellation e-mail, but I can’t find that flight or any other flight to Paris on their website anymore. When I check the status of my flight using the confirmation code, they show me the original iternary (so it looks it has not been cancelled) and directly below they show me three options:

    – Create voucher (which means I would cancel the flight myself and accept a voucher)
    – Updated iternary – Accept changes (But they do not show me what has changed. Probably I would accept to postpone the flight to September, which is the first month where their website shows flights again)
    – Check other dates – Change flight

    These options make me think the flight has been cancelled, especially since I am not able to find it anywhere on their flight search page… I am scared of clicking on any of these options as it looks to me that they give this little information on purpose to not be responsible for any refund.

    I have not received an e-mail saying my flight has been cancelled. Instead they sent me an e-mail that says this:

    “We’d like to send our best wishes to you during these complicated days. Our main priority is your wellbeing.

    At the current time, we plan to operate your upcoming flight as planned. However, taking into account the changing situation we understand if you wish to change your travel dates and we’ve adapted our policies to offer you flexibility.

    You can now request a voucher to travel whenever you decide.”

    I am confused. Booking another flight now would be very expensive… I need to leave the US within the next few weeks to avoid overstaying my visa.

    What should I do? Did anyone else already have this problem?

  2. This airline just cancelled our flights only a few weeks before our trip. We’ve lost thousands in bookings and accommodations. I cannot get any response from the airline on a refund and every time I call they tell me to call back because the person I need isn’t in the office. It’s been a nightmare

  3. Level is not operated by OpenSkies- they purchased OpenSkies, which was previously owned by BA. They have nothing to do with OpenSkies or BA, evidenced by the fact that you cannot use Avios on Level flights-or at least that is what I was told. Too bad, we enjoyed OpenSkies, thought not as much as their previous incarnation as L’Avion – that was a wonderful flying experience!

    • Nancy’s comment there is rather misinformed.

      OpenSkies was a subsidiary of BA’s, and operated independently before buying L,Avion and merging the two. It became a subsidiary of BA’s newly formed parent company, IAG, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, in 2011. When IAG chose to end the OpenSkies product they kept the authorized airline structure (rigorous and expenses establish), and used to to operate some flights for IAG’s newest airline, Level. Other Level flights are operated by other carriers, including Iberia.

      There have been opportunities to earn and spend Avios on Level through the Iberia Plus program, but I understand that to be limited to flights operated by Iberia.

      • Scudded that is what I believe I said – that OpenSkies was owned and operated by BA- Level definitely took the place of OpenSkies in the market as witnessed by the OpenSkies aircrafts that sat in the graveyard of Newark before finally being returned to the U.K. You could book OpenSkies flights on the BA website so the two were definitely intertwined

  4. Hello Johnny, I’m also just a regular dude that loves to travel. You have shared such a lovely post with lovely pictures which is easy to understand for everyone. Keep sharing.

  5. Does anyone have a number for Level that actually works? They lost me daughters suitcase and I need to get ahold of someone that works for Level at the Newark Airport. It’s the only way to get my daughters bag! It’s a really long story but she ended up traveling for about 64 hours of traveling to get from Dublin to SFO. He bag tags where removed by someone and her bag is sitting in Boarder control/customs with only her personnel luggage tag on it.

    Please help. She’s studying aboard and needs help finding this duffel bag and getting it to SFO with all her family Christmas presents in it!

  6. I had a similar situation as Alaina, only not quite as terrible. I received an email at about 10am on the day of my flight (Thursday night at 11pm) that the flight had been cancelled and we’d been rebooked for a flight leaving 8 days later. This is absolutely ridiculous, and I’ve never heard of an airline doing this. I called customer support, and after about 20 minutes on hold I spoke to a customer service agent who informed me that the next available flight was in 4 days. I ended up paying about $380 for another red eye with a 2 hour layover in Rome.

    I am guessing this is a common thing for Level, and I can’t imagine they will last long. Hoping I get my other flight reimbursed, though it seems that bird strikes are awfully common around these parts…

    • Hi Cody, lthanks for bringing this up. It seems like their customer service has only gone downhill after their initial launch. Sorry you had to endure it and I probably won’t be recommending them going forward. thanks!

  7. Hello – Johnny was nice enough to reach out after a few of us had a pretty terrible flying experience with Level Airlines on this exact flight.

    In advance of my flight, I never received a reminder to check-in but did receive an arbitrary email saying there were changes to my flight. I looked in their booking system and it says the flight was pushed out 1 hour. I received my mobile boarding pass though, and the push notification that came through my phone (via iOS) was about 5 hours off and incorrect.

    When I arrived at the airport, I waited 45 minutes in security line and when I scanned my mobile boarding pass, they said it was invalid. I had to go back downstairs to Level (it’s almost impossible to find; ground floor, Level 1 of Newark airport) and waited until 45 minutes in line to print my boarding pass. At this point they let me know their “mobile boarding passes don’t work”. This is confusing; then why send me one and give me the option to add to iOS wallet?

    We were supposed to leave Newark 4/6 and right after we were supposed to board, the airline announced the flight was cancelled. People rushed to the desk for more information and the Level staff (third-party contractors, I believe) were telling people to “go home” without booking them in hotels or rebooking their flights. It was 2am at that point.

    Most people were there until 3-4am booking hotels to figure out how to get to Paris, and waiting until their customer service line opened for more information (note: they are not available 24/7). I found out a few hours later I was rebooked on a new flight 10 (!) days later. I had to purchase a new flight for $440, which I was told by a Level customer service representative I would be reimbursed for (per EU law, you are reimbursed up to 600 euro per flight).

    Later I found out that because it was a “bird strike” (note: we still do not have evidence this indeed was the case) that Level airlines would not reimburse me because it was an “extraordinary circumstance”. After further research, it looks like there are many airlines using this excuse to skirt paying.

    A few of my friends were also cancelled on the way home and ended up spending almost 3K on flights (that Level won’t reimburse them for due to “bird strikes). People save for months to go to Europe and this was draining people’s savings and putting plan’s at-risk left and right. It was terrible to see.