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Where to Find Transatlantic Narrowbody Flights

Airbus’ A321XLR on display at the 2023 Paris Airshow (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Many narrowbody jets are able to fly longer routes with a lower density configuration or a lower payload, but the aircraft, including Boeing’s 737 or Airbus A320 aren’t exactly designed to fly these longer routes. These are mostly exceptional cases such as British Airways’ now-cancelled service between JFK and London City via Ireland or Virgin Australia’s new service between Cairns and Tokyo with B737-700.

Most of the longer routes are operated by aircraft designed to perform such flights with a full payload, including the older generation, such as the 757, and the newcomers, including the A321LR, A321XLR and 737 MAX.

The transatlantic market has also turned into a battlefield between Airbus and Boeing in selling their long-haul single-aisle aircraft. The A321LR and XLR have longer ranges than Boeing’s 737MAX while the two have similar capacities.

A British Airways A318 at London City Airport (Photo: British Airways)

The role of long-range narrowbodies 

New Markets

Doors open to secondary cities that would otherwise not have a European service, the like of Halifax, Hartford, Cleveland or Shannon. These aircraft would also allow airports that are not built to accommodate widebodies to receive transatlantic services. SAS’s new A321LR services to Newark are a great example of the impact these airplanes can have.


These aircraft allow airlines to maintain daily flights throughout the year. Routes that would traditionally be served by a single daily widebody are now served by multiple daily A321s, allowing for more choices for travelers and freedom for airlines to adjust schedules, maximizing load factors while maintaining frequency. It also allows cities to be served during off-peak seasons.

The first Airbus A321neoLR will be delivered to SAS in mid-2020. (Photo: SAS)

The airlines operating:

Aer Lingus 

A scaled operation from its hubs in Dublin and Shannon to across the Atlantic, the A321LR is Aer Lingus’ equipment of choice. Newly established Are Lingus U.K. also uses the A321 on its Manchester-New York route seasonally. 

The Summer 2023 schedule sees the A321LRs used on the following routes:

Dublin – Washington Dulles

Dublin – Newark

Dublin – Philadelphia

Dublin – Hartford Windsor Locks

Dublin – Cleveland

Shannon – JFK

Shannon – Boston Logan

Air Canada

Currently, there is only one route operated by Air Canada’s 737 MAX between Halifax and London, not particularly a long route, at only 2,867 miles.

Air Transat 

The other Canadian airline operating single-aisle across the pond, operating a fleet of A321s from Montreal and Toronto to Europe, is Air Transat. The carrier typically uses the type together with a fleet of A330s and adjusts with changes in demand. 

Toronto – Paris CDG

Toronto – Amsterdam

Toronto – Dublin

Toronto – Faro

Toronto – Glasgow

Toronto – Manchester

Toronto – Gatwick

Quebec City – Paris CDG

Quebec City – London Gatwick

Montreal – Brussels

Montreal – Basel

Montreal – Bordeaux

Montreal – Nates

Montreal – Nice

Montreal – Toulouse

Montreal – Amsterdam

Montreal – London Gatwick

Montreal – Porto

Montreal – Lisbon

The first A321LR departs from Paris bound for JFK (Photo: Airbus)


Some of the longest narrow-body routes are operated by SAS. The A321LR is used on these ‘ultra-long’ routes:

Aalborg – Newark

Gothenburg – Newark

Copenhagen- Newark

Copenhagen – Boston

Copenhagen – Toronto

Stockholm – Toronto

La Compagnie 

An all-business airline that operates from French and Italian cities to Newark called La Compagnie also uses A321LRs:

Orly – Newark

Marseilles – Newark

Marseilles – Orly – Newark

Milan – Newark

TAP Portugal 

TAP flies A321LRs from Lisbon to North and South American destinations, including:

Lisbon – Wahington Dulles

Lisbon – Toronto

Lisbon – Boston

Lisbon – Montreal

Lisbon – Newark

Porto – Newark

Lisbon – Belem

Lisbon – Natal

United Airlines 

One of the only carriers still utilizing Boeing’s 757s on routes from its hubs in Washington Dulles, Chicago, and Newark to Europe is United. A handful of flights are also operated by the 737 MAX. The carrier has placed orders for A321XLRs to replace the 757s on some of these routes.

Newark – Malaga

Newark – Porto

Newark – Tenerife

Newark – Shannon

Newark – Dublin

Newark – Edinburgh

Chicago – Edinburgh

Chicago – Dublin

Chicago – Shannon

Washington Dulles – Porto

Washington Dulles – Edinburgh

A United Boeing 757 departs Eagle County. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)


JetBlue uses A321LRs to fly from its hubs in Boston and JFK to London airports and Paris.

JFK – Paris

JFK – London Heathrow

JFK – London Gatwick

Boston – London Heathrow

Boston – London Gatwick


With the airlines mostly full-service or all-business, traditional carriers are more fond of operating narrowbody aircraft on transatlantic routes. This can be attributed to low-cost carriers benefiting from economies of scale and not having business class hurt the financial potential of these operations.

Most airlines feature a premium heavy cabin on these services and for passengers, flying on a narrow-body over the ocean does not mean a compromised experience. Lie-flat business class seats and economy with IFEs are the industry standard, some frequent fliers have even decided that narrowbody flights are the ‘better’ way to fly transatlantic, quoting the relative privacy and intimacy as well as the faster speed of service all thanks to a smaller cabin.


More airlines are expected to start serving the market with narrowbodies, with IAG having 14 A321XLR on order and 8 of them destined for Iberia.

The A321 fleet is the dominant player amongst the three common types at the momentwith most operators flying the jet. It is to be noted that Air Canada, Icelandair, and United have A321s on order and have plans to use them on transatlantic routes.

We could also see more 737s flying across the pond as the type had a greater presence before the grounding and many MAX flights have yet to be resumed after recertification, including WestJet’s services from Halifax and Air Canada’s from St. John’s, Newfoundland. The grounding, coupled with Norwegian’s bankruptcy, drastically reduced the number of transatlantic MAX services. 

Anthony Bang An


  • Anthony Bang An

    Anthony is an airline enthusiast who also loves traveling. He grew up around the world from St. Louis to Singapore and now lives in Amsterdam. He loves long-haul flying and finds peace in the sound of engine cruising. Fresh out of high school, he aspires to be working in the aviation industry and share his passion for the sky. 

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