Nordic low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (usually just referred to as “Norwegian”) has been pretty busy as of late, expanding beyond their traditional short-haul route network into long-haul operations from three major Scandinavian cities of Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. With Norwegian’s order of long-haul Boeing 787s finally being delivered, we’re finding out more where they will be going. Currently they’re operating to New York and Bangkok, with flights to Ft. Lauderdale beginning at the end of November. Next year we’ll see them expand into the United States a bit more, operating to Oakland, Los Angeles & Orlando.
I flew with Norwegian in late 2011 when I was living in Copenhagen. They’re a great airline for hopping around Europe, with reasonable fares and free WiFi!
As their long-haul operations take the operating model from their short-haul services, the base fare includes essentially just the transportation. Fees abound travelling with Norwegian. We’re used to having most of this included when travelling internationally. Domestically we are used to fees upon fees, and now the lines are blurring further as Norwegian moves in with their tactics.
You want to check a bag? That will cost extra. ($35 for nonstop, up to $52 if connecting, per bag if booked in advance. Otherwise the price doubles.)
You want a seat reservation? That will cost extra. ($35)
You want to pay for your ticket with a credit card? That will cost extra. ($7 per reservation)
You want to eat onboard? That will cost extra. ($45 for a set menu, snacks $3.50 – $11.00)
You want to drink onboard? That will cost extra. (Soda & water = $4.50)
You want booze onboard? That will cost extra. (Beer/wine $8.50, champagne $15.50)
Making a connecting flight? That will cost extra ($11 per person, per leg)
You get the idea.
I collaborated with LA Area journalist Brian Sumers (Twitter: @BrianSumers) to create a fare comparison chart which is posted on his blog, if you’d like to compare. All of this information is available directly from the “Optional Services & Charges” link available from their “Customer Services” tab.
The base fares are cheap, and be warned you could very well be nickeled and dimed the whole way to Europe. You might start to wear out your wallet slot where your credit card is at the rate all these charges roll in. Some of the fees can be purchased in a bundle which gives a discount of about 30%. Or pay a little more over than what you would pay piecemeal and have everything included, with no worries.
It’s a great option, by all means. But the price difference with Norwegian isn’t as wide as they want you to think. Smart travelers are happy travelers – and we all aim for that balance of value for money!