One of last week’s biggest travel stories was Norwegian Air’s plans to sell New York-Edinburgh tickets for $69 each way. That stunningly low price will, to be sure, be an introductory fare, to promote the launch of the new service, available for a limited time. And in any case, the $69 flights won’t be available until sometime after the airline begins receiving its new B737MAX long-distance planes in April.
This week, in an obvious reference to those $69 fares, Iceland-based discounter WOW air issued a news release designed to redirect media attention to itself: “Other airlines have been talking about offering these fares. But Iceland’s WOW air is actually doing it.” And indeed, today WOW’s website prominently features $69 one-way fares between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Bristol, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, via the airline’s Reykjavik hub.
WOW’s $69 fares are available for sale today, for a limited time, for flights between January 15 and April 5.
Tickets from WOW’s east coast airports to Europe are still priced from $99 each way, but the airline promises that they too will be available for as little as $69.
WOW and Norwegian Air operate according to the same ultra-low-cost business model as Spirit and Frontier, offering rock-bottom airfares but charging extra for everything from advance seat assignments to carry-on bags. Even factoring in the extra fees, however, such affordable Europe airfares are truly disruptive, and will force other carriers to adjust their transatlantic fares to maintain market share.
Reader Reality Check
Great airfares and a strong dollar… you are planning a trip to Europe this winter, aren’t you?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.