Giving Norwegian another go, and saving 20% along the way


Norwegian 787 image courtesy of the airline (CC-SA)

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.

Oh good grief…here we go 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.

My planned trip on Norwegian for September; fun lines and big savings
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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.

Google flights shows a very reasonable $175 one way price. But that's not the cheapest available.
Google flights shows a very reasonable $175 one way price. But that’s not the cheapest available.

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.

Buying from the US site gives me the highest prices for this route.
Buying from the US site gives me the highest prices for this route.

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.

The Norwegian version of the site comes in nearly 20% cheaper!
The Norwegian version of the site comes in nearly 20% cheaper!
Convert the NOKs to USD and I'm saving a lot of money on this flight
Convert the NOKs to USD and I’m saving a lot of money on this flight

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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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

6 Comments

  1. I love the details here and the fact that a little outside the box thinking can save some serious money. Is it possible that with a stronger dollar this works on other carriers as well?

  2. Bon chance. Will watch for any comments once you fly it. While you have had some positive experience with that company, your negative ones would have dissuaded me from trying again. But then I’m beginning to conclude that not even the best would bat 1.000 with me.

    1. That’s a damn good question and one of the reasons I haven’t finalized the booking yet. For ease of transportation I was actually considering flying in to PVD instead of SWF. It is further away, of course, but Amtrak is closer to the airport there and the schedule isn’t so bad if I fly in from BFS; from ORK I get in too late and miss the last train to NYC.

      There were rumors at one point of Norwegian running buses that I’d consider using but I don’t know that they exist yet.

      Or I’ll do something far more ridiculous like fly from London to Zurich, hop over to Liechtenstein for the day and then fly back on a BA WTP fare where the return works for a conference I need to attend in 2018.

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