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New Transatlantic Service Starting in May ... Maybe

Norwegian, one of Europe's larger low-fare airlines, plans to fly nonstop from New York to Scandinavia starting May 30. The airline will operate three round-trips to Oslo and Stockholm, and connections to lots of European cities through those hubs.

Initial prices justify the carrier's "low fare" claim: I found a New York-to-Oslo round-trip ticket in regular economy, July 11-25, for $1,248; compare this with minimum rates on Kayak and Expedia of $1,434 nonstop or $1,091 with one stop on Icelandair. But the same trip in premium economy, at $1,780, is actually $84 higher than on SAS. Keep in mind that you could see lots of fare changes between now and July.

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At this point, the service does not seem to be seasonal. Flights listed through December show fares of around $650 to $799 round-trip. Also, Norwegian plans to start flying from its hubs to Ft. Lauderdale in late November; presumably, this service is aimed mainly at Scandinavians looking to get away from their tough winter.

The "maybe" in the headline reflects the fact that Norwegian plans to use its new 787s on transatlantic routes, and the carrier has no guarantee that the 787 battery fix will be approved in time for the May start. The accommodations in the new 787 will be pretty Spartan, with a competitive pitch of 31 inches but ultra-narrow nine-across width. The airline hasn't posted premium configuration yet, but the competition on SAS is a very good product.

Interested? At least for now, Norwegian flights are not listed on either Expedia or Kayak, and probably aren't on any other online travel agency (OTA) sites, either. You'll have to check for fares on Norwegian's website.

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