By Sebastian Modak. Photos: Courtesy Norwegian.
Since winning approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to join the transatlantic travel game in December, Norwegian Air's wasted no time in adding more cheap flights between the U.S. and Europe. After launching with $65 fares between three East Coast airports and cities in Ireland and the U.K., the upstart low-cost carrier is focusing on traveling deeper into the U.S. Case in point: The airline announced Wednesday it's adding Denver International and Seattle-Tacoma to its route map, with one-way flights to and from London-Gatwick starting at $199, taxes included.
You can already book the new routes, flown with Boeing 787 Dreamliners, for flights later this year. The Denver-London trip launches September 16, with twice-weekly flights, expanding to thrice-weekly in November, just in time for ski season. Seattleites looking for that affordable London escape, can book trips starting September 17, with four flights offered per week. And if you're looking to splurge, Norwegian's premium cabin tickets, which include checked bags, seat reservations, and other add-on costs for the main cabin, start at $839 one-way.
Besides highlighting London's Gatwick as a major hub for tourists and business travelers, Norwegian's chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl also said the expansion would benefit the U.S., a not-so-subtle rebuke to the criticism from the Big Three U.S. carries who accused Norwegian of driving down fares by hiring crew at below-market wages and not complying with U.S. labor and safety standards. "With our continuous U.S. expansion, we also bring even more tourists to the U.S. and support American jobs,” he said in a press release.
Denver and Seattle add to the three smaller U.S. airports with transatlantic service announced earlier this year in Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Stewart International Airport (about 60 miles north of Manhattan). set to begin in June. But, it's becoming increasingly clear that the airline is looking to bring the low-cost model to more than just the competitive transatlantic and European markets.
At Skift Forum Europe earlier this week, Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos told Skift the airline is planning to establish a division in Argentina by the end of the year. Norwegian's already applied for the necessary permits and will be looking to build a domestic network that could connect to routes between Buenos Aires and European hubs like London and Barcelona. Kjos also told The Telegraph that it hopes to expand its Asia offerings beyond Bangkok, which it currently serves from Europe, with a special interest in Japan and China. Africa could be next on the horizon, too.
"There are a lot of African countries that are very interesting for Europeans to fly to—beautiful countries—that have a huge potential,” he said.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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