As of today, budget carrier Norwegian Air is offering transatlantic flights from London to the US for a game-changing deal of $255 off peak.
The airline, which recently re-located its long-haul operations base to Dublin, is fast emerging as a competitor to Ryanair and EasyJet. Both carriers have long talked about establishing a budget service to the US, but Norwegian is the first contemporary airline to do so.
Today, Norwegian launches its Gatwick – Los Angeles route, followed by Gatwick – New York on Thursday, and its Gatwick – Fort Lauderdale route on Friday. The airline currently offers budget service between Oslo and the US, which the Daily Mail reports has been a success.
The routes will be serviced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners, fuel-efficient long-haul planes that fit anywhere from 210 to 335 passengers, depending on the model.
With a number of budget travel options available from Gatwick to Ireland’s airports, Norwegian’s new service will be a tempting option for those traveling between Ireland and the US. The airline currently offers standard service between the Dublin and the US, though cheaper options may be on the horizon.
The announcement of Norwegian’s UK-US budget flights was met with alarm from more established airlines, some of which have launched a campaign against the service. Earlier in June, the House of Representatives voted to block Norwegian’s expansion by declining to renew its permit, and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood penned a blog for The Hill questioning – among other things – the company’s move to operate as an Irish carrier.
Norwegian’s chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, has rejected these challenges, maintaining that Norwegian is permitted to fly to the US under the “open skies” agreement between the US and Europe.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times he said the move to Ireland “will make it easier [for Norwegian] to fly to destinations in Africa, Asia and South America and give his airline access to better financing to buy planes.”
The cabin crew for the US routes recently completed their training rounds: