I think it is fair to say I’ve had mixed success with my travels on Norwegian. Some trips have been great, like my adventures in Martinique and Guadeloupe or a random hop within Europe. Others were less successful, like a 4+ hours delay and swap to a rather disgusting A340-300 for the planned 787. My most recent attempt involved a flight cancellation and difficulty leaving the airport (partly the fault of the airport operator). Either I’m a glutton for punishment or a sucker for low prices. Either way, I’m set to try again.
I need to be back in London for an event in September and I love taking daytime flights across the Atlantic where possible. Norwegian added one from JFK to Gatwick for the 2017 summer season and it was priced right on my desired travel date so I’m booked, with my checked bag and seat assignment prepaid and hoping for the best.
Doesn’t hurt that I saved almost 20% off the advertised low fare along the way.
The best part about the ~20% savings is that it is readily available on a lot of the flights Norwegian offers and relatively easy for anyone to take advantage of, especially if you have a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. For whatever reason buying from the Norwegian version of the website often results in lower prices. You pay in Kroner, not dollars, and the webpage is definitely not in English. But it is identical to the US or UK version when it comes to navigation and I generally find that most flight booking systems are pretty easy to figure out. Toss a little Google Translate at it for the complicated words if necessary.
In my case the one way fare was showing an up-front price of $175. Clicking through offers the upsell option to include a bag, meal and seat assignment at $265 as well. I know I’ll need the bag allowance on this trip and I like to select my seat (window FTW) so I chose that option.
But rather than buying through the US version of the Norwegian site I opened a new browser window and pulled up the Norwegian version with the same flight search. Rather than $175/$265 I was presented with prices of 1,281 or 1.781 NOK. Turns out the 1781 NOK is about $221, nearly 20% cheaper than the $265 price on the US site. Even after paying the 35 NOK credit card surcharge on the Norwegian site I came out plenty ahead.
That same fare could be purchased on the UK version of Norwegian’s site for either 175 GBP or 216 Euro. The GBP price came out to $229 while the Euro rate converts to $247. Both are better than the $265 on the US side, but the range of numbers is amusing to me.
But not always
Also worth noting that it doesn’t always work. I took a look at flights from Belfast to Providence for my return journey (because why not fly a 737MAX with no amenities across the Atlantic??) and found that the NOK/USD pricing had no spread. The UK site did price the return with a slight discount if paying in British Pounds; even with the 2% surcharge Norwegian applies to that transaction I’ll save buying the UK version of that trip.
Moral of the story: Even once you’ve decided that Norwegian is the right option for your trip it pays to shop around the various versions of the website the company operates. You never know when your ticket might suddenly be 20% cheaper.
Header image: Norwegian 787 image courtesy of the airline (CC-SA)
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