Level Airlines is one of the new low cost carrier start-up airlines to launch service between California and Barcelona in June 2017. Level Airlines is marketed through Iberia Airlines and operates flights between Barcelona and Los Angeles LAX or Oakland OAK.
In March 2017, Level Airlines tickets went on sale with an introductory one way ticket price at $149.10 California to Barcelona and $106 for Barcelona to LAX or OAK.
Loyalty Traveler – On the Level $255 round trip Oakland to Barcelona (March 18, 2017).
Level Airlines Summary:
- Oakland to Barcelona 11.5 hours flight time.
- Flight scheduled to depart OAK 5:15pm. Arrival BCN 1:45pm next day.
- Actual departure time 6:00pm with 2:00pm arrival.
- Aircraft A330-200 with 293 economy class seats, mostly 2-4-2 configuration. There are 21 premium economy seats.
- Seat pitch 30 inches is tight for legroom.
- In Flight Entertainment: Seat back touchscreen monitor with films, TV shows and music selections. Spanish and English choice of language.
- Food available for purchase on board through seat touchscreen.
- Toilets ran out of toilet paper at least a couple times during flight on both sides of the aircraft for the rear toilets.
Checked Bag Fee
I purchased two one-way tickets for Kelley and me, primarily to take advantage of the opportunity to fly to Europe in mid-June.
At the time of purchase I wrote an article about Level Airlines fees stating one checked bag cost $44 one way and seat assignments are $17 to $33 each way.
Below is a screenshot taken June 15, 2017 from the FlyLevel.com website showing bag fees. The Level chart contradicts the actual charges for a checked bag.
- Baggage in hold (checked bag) not included
- Additional Baggage in hold:
First: 40€ / 44$
Following: 75€ / 85$
First: 50€ / 55$
Following: 150€ / 165$
The chart showing bag fees is deceptive airline marketing. Despite the website appearing to clearly state the cost for the first checked bag is $44, the actual cost turned out to be $85 when I booked a checked bag online.
Loyalty Traveler – Be Aware Level Airlines $85 checked bag fee (June 13, 2017).
One supervisor assisted several airline check-in agents learning the computer system for Level Airlines flights at the Oakland Airport counters. The line moved slowly.
When I pointed out the checked bag price discrepancy on the website, the agent simply replied that it would have been $100 to add a bag at the airport. The supervisor at Oakland airport told me to contact customer service through the website since there was nothing he could do at the airport.
I had downloaded our boarding passes on my phone, but since there was no charge to print a boarding pass, I asked for paper passes too.
There was an announcement that one line would be for passengers with paper boarding passes and a separate line for mobile phone boarding passes.
Even though we were boarding group 1, there were two other boarding groups before group 1. Premium economy passengers and passengers with children were given priority boarding. There were not many children on the flight.
Boarding was painfully slow as the minutes ticked past the scheduled 5:15 departure time before we even got on the plane. Few people had mobile boarding passes, so we switched lines and got on the plane before most passengers.
The 2-4-2 aircraft configuration offered a good reason to pay $33 per seat assignment, so Kelley and I would have 2 seats together and be alone on one side.
We had received seats 38D and 38E with online check-in at home. Row 38 is the last row with 4 seats in the middle and 38D is an aisle seat. There were a few more rows with 2-3-2 configuration starting at Row 39.
There were plenty of seat choices to buy at the time I checked in online. Most of the seats in the rear of the aircraft were available for booking. After paying $85 for one checked bag, I figured I would suffer a middle seat rather than paying another $66 to change our seats for 2 seats on the side. I hoped we would be able to move to better seats after flight boarding.
I was disappointed to find someone already seated in 38F, meaning I would be sandwiched between a big guy and my wife for the 11 hour flight.
The plane continued to fill up and all the seats on the sides were occupied. Nobody occupied Seat 38G, so I hoped the guy next to me would move one seat over to the aisle for the flight. Even better, he moved to another row, leaving Kelley and me with four seats. I immediately moved to the aisle seat leaving the two middle seats in Row 38 open. We had four seats for the two of us for the 11 hour flight to Barcelona. Kelley spent most of the flight horizontal across three seats.
Later in the flight I noticed the man from 38G was in a 4 seat middle section with a woman who also spread across three seats. We both were lucky. I did not see any other middle row on the plane with only two people.
In Flight Entertainment
Touchscreens on the seat backs offered a selection of movies and music. There were films in a variety of European languages with several Spanish films. The music selections were mostly unfamiliar to me.
As a frequent flyer on Norwegian and WOW Airlines this past year, I find it much more tolerable to be seated for a long haul flight in economy when there are movies to binge watch until I am too tired and pass out. I like Norwegian Airlines. WOW has no inflight entertainment system.
We brought our own food and water on the plane. Flight attendants spent much of the flight serving food and drink orders.
Hot meals at 9 to 14 EUR. Coffee, tea, water, soda 2.50 to 3.50 EUR. Beer 4 or 4.50 EUR. Wine 6 EUR. Spirits 6.50 EUR.
Would I fly Level again?
Level Airlines offered a great introductory price for Oakland to Barcelona at $149.10 one way. Even with one checked bag at $85, our total cost for two one way tickets was $383.20 or $191.60 per ticket. We are flying British Airways back, Stockholm ARN to San Jose SJC on a $557 round trip ticket that takes us back to Stockholm in December during the Christmas holidays.
I tend to use low cost carriers as one-way positioning flights to Europe, where I can generally find lower priced tickets for travel between California and Europe during peak holiday seasons.
There have been many new routes to Europe added from Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose airports in the past two years. Level has plenty of low cost competition. Norwegian Airlines flies Oakland to Stockholm.
I have flown SFO to Copenhagen on WOW for $70 one way twice in 2017 and flown Norwegian Airlines Stockholm to Oakland twice for $109 and $148 without ever paying for checked bags or seats. I generally was assigned a middle seat for free at check-in, but only one time did I remain in a middle seat for the flight.
If the price is right, I will likely fly Level again. Still trying to get myself to Portugal and Barcelona is a good starting point. Portugal was my original plan when I booked Level tickets in March for this June trip, but ended up planning a trip to Poland instead.