Is this a new airline price war?

By | Category: Travel news

From out-of-the-blue, an airline has announced flights direct from the UK to America at prices not seen for years. But it’s not Ryanair or easyJet, its Norwegian the Scandinavian no-frills airline that has gradually been making the UK a secondary hub for flights.

It has announced that as from next July – peak season for airline fares – it will be offering flights to New York for £149 each way including taxes add-ons and whatever. But do these exist or is this a case where there are only three seats available at this price and then only when there is an “x” in the month?

A flight to Fort Lauderdale at £179 each way was available with no problems. Given that the normal price quoted to Miami is about £550 return in July this is a considerable saving. There are some drawbacks to the deals that are on offer from Norwegian. You pay extra for food but, to my mind, that is no problem. I would rather my own. In fact on a flight with American Airlines once I shared some rather ripe brie and crusty bread with some of the cabin crew who seemed to quite prefer my food to what they had in store. And the flights do not go every day.

Flights to New York, Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Oakland ( near San Francisco) and Los Angeles are available for sale and not just from London Gatwick. You can also fly from Manchester on similar rates. Norwegian also flies from Edinburgh and Liverpool but I couldn’t get similar rates from those airports. But if this idea is succesful, how long will it be before Norwegian tries it from other airports.

Yes, this could be just a promotion to launch the routes and the fact that they are using the Boeing Dreamliner plane on the service. But if the prices last, transatlantic airlines are going to be very worried people. On this route they make their profits.

This move by Norwegian could be one of the most important moves for travellers in years. Not since Freddie Laker tried to bring prices down by taking on the major airlines has an airline attempted to bring no-frills philosophy to the highly profitable North Atlantic routes.

The next year is going to be exciting for passengers if this is the start of the next stage in mass market holidays across the pond.

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