Photo by Shutterstock
Courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways
Another low-cost transatlantic carrier has come on the scene with more affordable fares.
Calling all former Norwegian Air admirers—the bargain-basement transatlantic carrier from Scandinavia has been reborn (sort of) and is offering low-cost flights to Oslo, London, and Berlin.
Norse Atlantic Airways, a reboot of the former international low-cost phenom Norwegian Air, will launch its first transatlantic flights on June 14 from Oslo to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), and has already announced plans to expand beyond its home base with new daily service in August from New York to both London Gatwick and Berlin—at introductory fares starting at $116 one-way to the U.K. It will also launch nonstop flights to the German capital from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in August with one-way fares from $138. Additionally, Norse Atlantic will be flying from Oslo to Florida, with service starting this month to Fort Lauderdale and in July to Orlando.
Flying across the pond for under $300 round trip is an unbeatable deal, of course, but the usual caveats apply: Those dirt-cheap fares have a short shelf life and are light on the frills. For extras like a checked bag, meal, or other amenities, the airline has a tiered approach. Fare classes range from “Light” (similar to basic economy—checked luggage is not included and inflight meals will cost more) to “Plus” with free checked bags, meals, and greater flexibility on ticket changes. The low-cost carrier’s Boeing 787 aircraft will feature economy and premium cabins, the latter with recliner seats that have a 43-inch seat pitch.
And if all that sounds familiar, that’s because Norse isn’t really a brand-new airline—it’s the reincarnation of Norwegian Air, the once wildly successful budget juggernaut that claimed to be one of the biggest European airlines in the U.S. market. But Norwegian’s aggressive expansion meant that it was stretched thin, and the pandemic dealt the final blow in late 2020, when the carrier sought bankruptcy protection after the Norwegian government rejected its plea for a second round of financial aid. By early 2021, the airline had ceased all transatlantic service.
Norse was founded later that year to take over the long-haul unit’s assets, including 15 of the defunct carrier’s Dreamliners, and its management includes some former Norwegian Air executives. To avoid the fate of its predecessor, the airline appears to be taking a measured approach in its rollout, with an emphasis on popular destinations like London, or cities like Berlin, which, as Norse CEO Bjorn Tore Larsen said this week, “has been subjected to poor direct transatlantic connectivity.”
And as Norse continues to grow—the carrier recently mentioned Paris as a possible new route—its predecessor lives on, at least overseas. Norse’s passengers to Europe might be forgiven for doing a double take if they see the Norwegian livery on narrow-body planes at the airport. The short-haul unit of the old Norwegian, which operated intra-European flights, managed to weather the pandemic through a restructuring plan and as of last year was fully back in business as a low-fare competitor akin to Ryanair.
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