Can it really be true? Norwegian airlines recently announced terrific low cost fares from Ft Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York JFK to Paris. Seems they’re getting into the low cost, no-frills air fare business competing with Ryan air and some of the other discount carriers in Europe. It’s about time we saw some of that same sort of competition for trans Atlantic flights as the major carriers don’t really seem to be reducing prices much, especially considering the dramatic drop in price of crude oil and concurrent strength of the US dollar. We can hope that Norwegian stirs up some real competition and better priced options for frequent travelers to Europe.
A sample fare from JFK to Paris Charles de Gaulle departing on Sep 12 and returning on Sep 21 comes to $472.50 round trip including all taxes and surcharges but not including some special options such as seat selection and on board meals. We haven’t seen fares this low since maybe 1998 or so.
We made a booking just to see what the total came to, keeping in mind seats at this price are very limited and only offered on certain days of the week. You can opt into seat reservations (starting at $45 per seat), a hot meal on board (add $45 per person) or just buy cold snacks on board. Norwegian brags about their meals as being “continental food with fresh and crispy ingredients – with a Norwegian twist” – sounds interesting. One checked bag is an additional $45.
The total with the extras came to $652.50, of course, non refundable. But a quick comparison with Air France has a total fare (with meal, 1 checked bag and seat reservation included) of $762.67.
So if you’re happy without a seat reservation, travel very light and bring your own snack, you could save upwards of almost $300.
If you’re a frequent flyer like us, limits on the number of flights to an airport makes us cringe a little. So when we heard about new caps on flights to New York City, we were concerned. Although congestion is problem in the skies around New York City and we are all for improvements to air travel, all of our international trips require travelers to fly to major hubs, including New York City. As scheduling flights can be tricky, we hoped this wouldn’t negatively impact our client’s schedules.
Then we saw this article in the Wall Street Journal about British Airways planning to fly new routes between continental Europe and New York City—whew! To do this, the airline said it will create OpenSkies, a subsidiary that will start flying a Boeing 757 jetliner in June from New York to either Brussels or Charles de Gaulle in Paris. So if you’re making travel plans for this summer, keep British Airways in mind!