Europe Anyone?

Norwegian Airlines is back at it, and that means good news for U.S. travelers eyeing a trip to Europe.

The airline was just approved to operate a slew of new flights starting in June between the northeast U.S. and European destinations.  And as travelers from some key west coast cities have already discovered,  Norwegian is already offering them at an astoundingly low price.  The promotional one way fares start at $65.  Yes, you read that right, just $65 to get to Europe.  As you might expect, there are a few catches, but nothing that low fare gurus can’t handle.  For instance, the lowest fare doesn’t include any luggage allowances, except what you can shove beneath the seat in front of you.  It also doesn’t include advance seat assignment, or food service.  Still, for a fare of $135, you can snag an upgraded fare that includes all of that.  As is normal these days, the service is very much a la carte.

How about returning from Europe?  Well, as we found out in sampling the fares, it is a bit more expensive to get home, but still not more than $150 from most locations that Norwegian serves.

The new fares will be available from smaller airports (part of the Norwegian business plan) in New York state (Orange County), Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut, and will connect them with Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cork, Dublin and Shannon, Ireland; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

So, what if you’re too late to snag the $65 fare?  Don’t worry, as the next tier offers tickets at $99 one way, which is certainly superior to paying $600 or more one way from NYC in June to get to European destinations.  Norwegian will be flying smaller 737 aircraft from the smaller airports it is now serving, which in addition to lower gate fees at these locations helps to keep costs down and make the low cost flights feasible.

Better yet, it seems that budget Europe fares are an idea whose time has come.  In addition to Icelandic carrier Wow Air, others planning to get into the budget cross Atlantic fare battle are Lufthansa through its low cost subsidiary Eurowings, KLM and Air France through their Boost bargain carrier, and British Airways which is planning new budget flights from Barcelona to US destinations later this year.



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