Norwegian Air is Cheap, Dirt Cheap

When choosing which airline to fly, there’s nothing more important than finding the cheapest price. On my recent trip to Scandinavia, I flew Norwegian Air from Los Angeles to Copenhagen and then back from Oslo to Los Angeles. I normally use points when I fly to Europe, but Norwegian Air’s fares were just too low to pass up. I only paid $375 for a roundtrip ticket. This isn’t really that uncommon, I see roundtrip flights on Norwegian Air for less than $500 all the time and occasionally see some for less than $300.

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For example, I just ran this search (as of May 2016) for a December roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Stockholm. You can see that if you’re flexible on travel dates, you could get a roundtrip ticket for as low as $348.50. As with finding a low fare on any airline, flexibility is key with Norwegian Air too.

Norwegian Air Pricing

Source: Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian Air is part of a wave of new discount long-haul airlines that are starting to serve many U.S. cities (Wow Air is another one that is offering some great deals). Norwegian Air operates on a similar low-cost model as U.S. domestic carriers such as Frontier and Spirit. Basically, everything is ala carte. You’ll have to pay extra for checked baggage, a seat assignment, and food & beverage. On my recent Scandinavian trip, I didn’t pay for any of these extras to keep my ticket as cheap as possible.

Norwegian Air flies direct to a couple U.S. cities from Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, London, and Paris. The good news is that the number of U.S. destinations only seems to be expanding. You can also connect to just about any other city in Europe if you don’t mind a layover.

Norwegian Air Flies Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner

When I book a flight, I always try to book the newest and most spacious aircraft possible. For years, Boeing’s 777 was my preferred choice. Now the 787 Dreamliner is top dog and there’s nothing that comes close. The best part is that Norwegian Air flies the 787 on all its routes to/from the U.S. What makes the 787 so special? Its simply the most advanced commercial plane in the air today:

  • Composite Design – The Dreamliner is the first major commercial airplane to have a composite fuselage, composite wings, and use composites in most other airframe components. Look at the wings next time you’re taking off and you’ll notice they flex much more than a traditional airplane. This is probably not that comforting to some, but is pretty cool for those who are airplane aficionados.
  • Higher Cabin Pressure and Humidity – when flying on the Dreamliner, the pressurization is higher so you’ll feel like you’re flying at an altitude of 6,000 feet. This is 2,000 feet lower than a normal flight and equals less passenger fatigue and jet lag.
  • Bigger Windows – The Dreamliner has the biggest windows in the industry (up to 30% bigger) and is also the first commercial plane to have electronic dimmers at each seat.
  • Other Cool Features – enhanced mood lighting, hands free toilets, quieter cabin, larger overhead bins, and more headroom.

Flying Norwegian Air is Better Than
Most Airlines

Don’t let the low-cost label fool you, Norwegian Air is better than more well-known carriers (in my opinion). I’d fly on Norwegian over United, Delta, American, or British Airways any day of the week. For starters, I really appreciated the staff at Norwegian who always seemed to be smiling and were happy to help you. It kind of reminded me of the flight attendants on a Southwest flight. Second, an economy seat on Norwegian Air is virtually the same as what you’d find on any other airline. You just don’t get the pack of peanuts and small drink included in your fare (who cares about that stuff anyways). Lastly, since you’re flying on new 787’s, you get all of the latest technological features. This means that every seat has its own USB port and power outlet. The entertainment system was top notch too. You can choose between movies, TV shows, and games. The movie selection was actually pretty good. I watched Star Wars on my return flight.

5 Tips to Booking a Cheap Flight on Norwegian Air

Be Flexible

Norwegian Air’s fares vary widely from week to week and month to month. It’s not uncommon to see a one-way fare that’s $500 one week and then $150 the following week. If you have very specific days you need to fly, chances are you won’t be able to get a great fare.

Fly Out of Different Airports

The last time I flew on Norwegian Air, I flew into Copenhagen and out of Oslo (from/to Los Angeles). This was simply because it was much cheaper to route this way. Norwegian Air actually offers a bunch of different possibilities. They fly direct to many U.S. cities from Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, London, and Paris. This often works well considering you might want to backpack around a bit anyways and it doesn’t make sense to backtrack to the city you started in.

Fly in the Offseason

There are fewer deals to be had during the summer high season. The best deals are generally in the winter. However, you’ll still find great fares in the spring and fall as well. That’s not to say you can’t get a great deal during the summer, you’ll just have to be more flexible than usual.

Buy One-Way Tickets at Different Times

This is a bit of a gamble, but you often need to buy your one-way tickets weeks or even months apart to get the lowest fare possible. Norwegian Air has a dynamic pricing model that can make it difficult to get the lowest fare when buying a roundtrip at the same time. Generally, you’ll get a very low fare in one direction and then all the prices will be high coming back the other direction. This is always changing, so I’ll buy a one-way in the direction that’s cheap first and then wait until the price drops for the flight in the other direction.

Don’t Pay For Extras

Norwegian Air offers a “plus” option to its fares which cost ~$90 each way for long-haul flights. This includes a checked bag, a seat assignment, and meals. If you can do without these extras, you can save $180 roundtrip. I normally don’t check a bag and Norwegian Air’s food isn’t that good anyways, so those are easy for me to give up.

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