Norse Atlantic Airways is going all in on flights to and from Europe this summer, and that's good news for most travelers even if you never intend to fly them.
Last summer, Norse Atlantic was a scrappy, upstart budget carrier hoping to appeal to Americans and Europeans flying to and from Norway and England. Their first flight was on June 15, 2022.
Now, less than a year later, the low-cost carrier is running 14 routes serving 12 different cities in the highly competitive transatlantic market.
Since first taking to the skies last June, Norse has more than tripled its route network while keeping airfare insanely low – think one-way flights to Europe starting at just $165.
The airline exclusively flies a fleet of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. We flew Norse Atlantic premium economy and regular economy last year and found the experience to be comfortable for the price.
Read our review of what it's like flying Norse Atlantic Airways!
Norse is poised to be a very important player in international travel for 2023 and beyond. The airline's exploding route network and incredibly cheap fares will put competitive pressure on major U.S. and European carriers and could help drive down prices across the Atlantic this summer.
Let's take a look at Norse's network and why it's important for summer travelers.
Norse Atlantic at London-Gatwick
Despite being founded in Oslo, Norway (OSL), Norse Atlantic's biggest base is now in London.
Tuesday morning, Norse announced four new routes to and from London-Gatwick (LGW). The announcement comes just a few weeks after the carrier said it would begin flying LGW to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO) That's on top of Norse's existing service from New York (JFK).
This summer, Norse will fly eight different routes from Gatwick, including seven to the United States.
This London – United States route network is extremely robust, especially with the addition of major U.S. hubs like SFO, LAX, BOS, and IAD.
While not every flight is daily, Norse will soon be operating 39 flights to Gatwick every week from the U.S.
- Boston (BOS): 5x weekly (starts Sep. 1)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL): 3x in May/June, 4x after (starts May 26)
- Los Angeles (LAX): Daily (starts June 30)
- New York (JFK): Daily
- Orlando (MCO): 4x weekly in May/June, daily after (starts May 25)
- San Francisco (SFO): 3x weekly (starts July 1)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD): 6x weekly (starts June 1)
Norse Atlantic at JFK
Outside of Gatwick, the Norway-based carrier's second-biggest base is in New York (JFK), where the airline flies five different routes.
It all started with JFK-OSL and then JFK-LGW when the airline launched. Since then, Norse has added some unique, one-off routes.
This summer, Norse Atlantic will operate flights to Berlin (BER), Paris (CDG), and Rome (FCO) from New York City, helping connect everyday travelers to these sought-after destinations.
Here are all five of Norse's routes from JFK flying this summer.
- Berlin (BER): 4x weekly
- London (LGW): Daily
- Oslo (OSL): Daily
- Paris (CDG): Daily (starts March 26)
- Rome (FCO): Daily (starts June 20)
Why does JFK's route map matter? In the last year, Norse has launched flights from JFK to places like Oslo and London and then later added more U.S. cities flying to those destinations on Norse 787s. If their past behavior is any indication, Norse might be testing the waters in Paris and Rome to perhaps add more nonstop flights there in the future from cities like Washington, D.C., or Boston.
Norse Atlantic's Massive New Map
With the six additional new routes to London-Gatwick, Norse will operate 15 different routes – 14 between the U.S. and Europe – in 2023 despite being a relatively new player in the industry.
After this expansion, their map is looking pretty impressive.
Plus, on Norse Atlantic's website, on the “Where We Fly” page, the text underneath this map indicates, “More routes coming soon.”
Here are all of Norse's routes, so far:
- Boston (BOS) – London (LGW): 5x weekly (starts Sep. 1)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – London (LGW): 3x in May/June, 4x after (starts May 26)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Oslo (OSL): 2x weekly
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Berlin (BER): 3x weekly (ends March 24)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LGW): Daily (starts June 30)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Oslo (OSL): 2x weekly
- New York (JFK) London (LGW): Daily
- New York (JFK) – Berlin (BER): 4x weekly
- New York (JFK) – Oslo (OSL): Daily
- New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG): Daily (starts March 26)
- New York (JFK) – Rome (FCO): Daily (starts June 20)
- Orlando (MCO)- London (LGW): 4x weekly in May/June, daily after (starts May 25)
- Oslo (OSL) – London (LGW): Daily (ends March 26)
- San Francisco (SFO) – London (LGW): 3x weekly (starts July 1)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London (LGW): 6x weekly (starts June 1)
Norse also lists Los Angeles (LAX) to Berlin (BER) and Orlando (MCO) to Oslo (OSL) on its map, but neither of those flights is on the airline's schedule as of Tuesday afternoon. Rather, both are listed as “seasonal” flights.
A Nonstop Network
Even without those seasonal flights, this list is pretty impressive for a brand-new, long-haul airline. It features many of the most desired travel destinations in Europe in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Oslo, and connects those places nonstop to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York.
Norse Atlantic is being very aggressive about its network expansion, hoping to buck the trend of long-haul, ultra-low-cost carriers fizzling out in the transatlantic market. Norse's predecessor, Norwegian Airlines, tried and failed on its own long-haul strategy, and a number of executives from Norwegian made the jump to Norse after Norwegian ended its long-haul service.
Norse's network is very different from other budget carriers flying to Europe in that it doesn't have a hub, either. While ultra-low-cost carriers like PLAY Airlines connect all of their passengers through Reykjavik (KEF), Norse's strategy is to fly passengers directly from where they are to where they want to go. No layovers.
It's a strategy already employed by many low-cost carriers in the United States and Canada like Spirit, Southwest, Allegiant, and others. But it leaves airlines susceptible to meltdowns like the one we saw around the holidays with Southwest.
Why You Should Care Even If You Never Fly Norse
You might be thinking: “I'm never going to fly an ultra-low-cost carrier. So, why would I care about Norse's network?”
I don't blame you for looking for a standard, mainstream airline to take you to Europe in 2023, but Norse's presence on many of these routes is going to save you money.
And Norse isn't pulling any punches here either. The Norway-based carrier is taking aim at major hubs for American (New York, Miami, Los Angeles), Delta (Boston, Los Angeles, New York), and United (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) with this new route network, too.
Let's take another look at Norse's routes and see what other airlines are going to be flying between those same cities.
- Boston (BOS) – London (LGW): American, British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, United
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – London (LGW): American, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Oslo (OSL): No competition
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Berlin (BER) – No competition
- Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LGW): American, British Airways, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, United
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Oslo (OSL): No competition
- New York (JFK) London (LGW): American, British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, United
- New York (JFK) – Berlin (BER): Delta, United
- New York (JFK) – Oslo (OSL): SAS
- New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG): American, Air France, Delta, French Bee, La Compagnie, United
- New York (JFK) – Rome (FCO): American, Delta, ITA, United
- Orlando (MCO)- London (LGW): British Airways, Virgin Atlantic
- Oslo (OSL) – London (LGW): British Airways, Norwegian, RyanAir, SAS
- San Francisco (SFO) – London (LGW): British Airways, Virgin, United
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London (LGW): British Airways, Virgin, United.
You can bet that Norse's fares are going to start a lot cheaper than the likes of American, British Airways, Delta, and United. Look at this quick search for a flight from Los Angeles to London in peak summer to see the drastic price difference:
If you've been searching for peak summer fares between any of these cities, you've probably gotten used to seeing prices in the $800s, $900s, and even quadruple digits.
With Norse offering $195 one-way fares on those same routes, the major carriers might lose some customers to Norse unless they lower their prices, too. That's the name of the game. Competition is the most important determining factor in airfare pricing, and Norse is competing hard in all of these places.
Norse Atlantic's route expansion from the U.S. to Europe has been massive, and in 2023, the airline will fly 14 different routes connecting the two continents.
Even if you never plan to fly Norse Atlantic, these new routes are huge news. With one-way fares starting at just $119, Norse's bare-bones approach to airfare is undoubtedly going to put pressure on the major airlines to lower their fares or lose customers to the Norway-based upstart.