Flights between the U.S. and Edinburgh for $69 each way. Or, for the same price, fly to Bristol, Stockholm, or Copenhagen. Or how about Barcelona flights for $149?
Those are just a few of the introductory fares for Europe flights recently on offer from the likes of WOW, Norwegian, and LEVEL, the ultra-low-cost European carriers that are shaking up the market for transatlantic travel.
The latest headline-worthy deal comes from Norwegian, with today’s announcement that flights are now on sale for three new U.S.-Europe routes, for as little as $189 each way.
The new routes, frequencies, and launch dates are as follows:
- Newark-Rome, four flights a week, beginning November 9
- Los Angeles-Rome, two flights a week, from November 11
- Oakland-Rome, two flights a week, from February 6
The $189 fare will be available on some flights from Newark; from the West Coast cities, introductory fares will begin at $229 each way.
Norwegian will operate the new Rome flights with newly acquired Boeing B787 Dreamliners, with both coach and Premium cabins. Premium service will feature dedicated check-in, expedited security clearance, lounge access, priority boarding, sleeper seats, free meals and drinks. Fares for the upgraded service will begin at $539 each way on the Newark flights.
With the addition of the new Rome flights, Norwegian will fly 52 nonstop routes between 12 U.S. cities and 13 cities in Europe.
Norwegian Air operates 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.
Bottom line: The combination of lower airfares and a stronger U.S. dollar makes Europe a relative travel bargain for U.S.-originating travelers.
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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.