Transavia: A profile of the Dutch low-cost airline

Montpellier in France
Montpellier, one of Transavia's new destinations. Photo by Jon Richter.

Earlier this year, I profiled Baboo and Intersky, two small European airlines. Now I’ll turn my attention to the Dutch low-cost airline Transavia.

A cog in the Air France-KLM corporate wheel, Transavia has a hybrid business model that allows it to function both as a budget and a charter airline. Its route map includes fun-in-the-sun destinations and a number of traditional city break destinations. Airports in Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey are especially well represented.

During the winter season, virtually every destination to which Transavia flies is either a beach or a ski destination. There are a few classic city break destinations in the bunch—yes, Amsterdam-Berlin link, we’re looking at you—but they are dwarfed by the airline’s sunny beach and winter recreation ports.


Stylin'. Photo: Niek Ten Hoopen

Transavia, in other words, is no businessperson’s airline. It’s an airline for tourists. According to the airline’s 2008/2009 annual report, the airline’s charter routes (109) trumps its tally of scheduled, or non-charter, routes at 47.

The Transavia franchise grows

Transavia also has two additional divisions, a French wing called France (based at Paris Orly and founded in 2007) and a Danish component called Denmark (based in Copenhagen and founded in 2008). Both maintain their own fleets, both rely at least in part on charters and both are much smaller than the Dutch parent company.

The French Transavia also focuses on sun and sand holiday destinations, with Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia receiving the lion’s share of routes.

Of the three, the Danish Transavia is the least traditional beach holiday airline. It flies to six destinations in Spain, three in Italy, two apiece in Austria, Denmark and France, and one in Greece.

Transavia on board

Transavia offers a pretty bare-bones experience to passengers on board. Drinks, snacks and meals are available for purchase. With its blues and greens, the color scheme is aesthetically pleasing. There is the unavoidable impression that some care went into choosing these colors and patterns.

Transavia offers few thrills, perks or crazy destinations, but it is a dependable budget airline option.

About the author

Alex Robertson Textor
About the author: Bitten by the travel bug at 11, Alex Robertson Textor has fond childhood memories of ultracheap Spanish hotels (the kind with Styrofoam shelving) and supermarket lunches scarfed on park benches. Formerly an academic, Alex has spent the last several years redirecting his professional life into full-time travel journalism and editing. He has published articles in the New York Times, Guardian Unlimited, Condé Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.
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