Flying Norwegian Air Shuttle (And Their $199 Fares To Europe)
European vacations are no longer for the rich and elite only! With the efficiency of new aircraft and the airline industry improving every year, seeing the world frugally is getting easier and cheaper. Being based in Seattle, it's been especially great here because this city is growing rapidly and new airlines are starting service to Seatac Airport every year (bringing more competition to routes and driving fares even lower).
In September of 2017, Seattle was fortunate enough to begin non-stop service to London-Gatwick on Norwegian Air Shuttle. This route regularly features $199 one-way tickets between Seattle and London. Being a hub of Norwegian, this means it's incredibly cheap to see a lot of Europe connecting through Gatwick. It's also the home of easyJet, another low-cost carrier flying to destinations all over Europe. Another low-cost air hub is in nearby Dublin, home of Ryanair.
As is typical with ultra low-cost carriers, Norwegian makes their money with add-ons. The first thing to understand about them is their luggage policy. Norwegian divides their economy cabin into three categories: Lowfare, Lowfare+ and Premium. The Lowfare rates that are often advertised do not include any checked luggage. In fact, they do not include any access to overhead space. Instead, you are allowed one personal item up to 55cm x 40cm x 23cm (which translates to 21.65 inches x 15.75 inches x 9.05 inches). The bag also must way less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds). Another thing to note, Norwegian's Lowfare category does not include any meals or snacks. You're expected to purchase it or bring your own.
The jump from Lowfare to Lowfare+ is pretty significant. The $200 one-way goes up a whopping 45% to $290 each way! This is the primary reason you won't see many deals on Norwegian on this site. There are still some good values out there but when you add in the checked luggage, it can be more advantageous to fly with a legacy carrier with standard luggage inclusions.
The majority of Norwegian's destinations are in the North (shocking, right?). The issue with that is packing warm clothing in a small bag can be tough (it can be done though, see my blog on my trip to Denver). It takes a savvy traveler and an abbreviated stay, but it's possible. In contrast, I find deals on Norwegian to destinations further south to be a good value. Some possible destinations include:
- Corfu, Greece
- Crete, Greece
- Faro, Portugal
- Ibiza, Spain
- Malaga, Spain
- Rhodes, Greece
- Santorini, Greece
- Sicily, Italy
- Tenerife, Spain
Depending on the season, it's possible to get by with a small bag as shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits are pretty light weight. It would be challenging to last more than a week without having to stop and wash clothing. That is an option, of course, if you don't mind only having a few outfits.
One of the biggest benefits of having Norwegian Air Shuttle flying to the US West Coast is the fare competition. Over the last 6 months, some of the best deals to Europe have been found on a variety of airlines trying to compete with Norwegian (such as Iceland Air, Delta, United, KLM, Air France and more). We recently booked the Venice deal for $386 round trip per person and got a flight to London last year on Virgin Atlantic for $262 round trip per person! Keep following this blog and I'll make sure you get deals like that too!