Norwegian Air announced yet another another disruptive move in the transatlantic air travel market today.
Starting in Spring 2018, it will launch new nonstops from Oakland (4/10), Newark (2/28) and Boston (5/2) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Checking today for flights next spring, we are finding roundtrips in the $400-$500 range, which is a very good deal for nonstops between US cities and Paris.
Norwegian also announced that it would bring its low fares to two new U.S. cities next spring: Austin (3/27) and Chicago (3/25) with nonstops to London-Gatwick.
With these additions, the Scandinavian low-fare powerhouse will soon fly nonstop between 15 U.S. and 13 European cities.
This is exciting news, but it’s important to remember a few things about Norwegian: First, don’t think those low fares don’t come with some steep fees. For example, checking a bag between Oakland and Barcelona will run you an additional $130 roundtrip– double that ($260 roundtrip) if you change planes. To reserve a specific seat, you’ll pay a whopping $90 roundtrip on transatlantic flights. See Norwegian’s fee schedule here.
You should also know that Norwegian rarely operates its flights on a daily basis— many U.S.-Europe flights only run 3-5 times per week. If for some reason your flight is delayed or canceled, you are in for quite a long wait for the next Norwegian flight. It will not put you on another carrier’s flight during irregular operations. For more on this, see our post The Problem with Low-Fare Flying.
In addition, Norwegian Air is not part of any of the big three airline alliances, so there is no opportunity to earn or burn frequent flyer flyer miles with U.S. partner airlines.
Despite these drawbacks, Norwegian is growing like crazy in the U.S. It flies new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on its current transatlantic runs– and generally earns high marks from travelers. (See Norwegian’s Dreamliner seatmap on Seatguru here.) For those who want a little separation from the vacationing masses, it offers a nice premium cabin at a higher price point with fewer fees.
What about you? Have you flown Norwegian yet? Would you? Please leave your comments below!
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