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I just booked a $129 flight to Europe from JFK. Here’s how I did it

April 29, 2022
6 min read
plane at terminal
I just booked a $129 flight to Europe from JFK. Here’s how I did it
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Norse Atlantic Airways wants to make it cheaper to get to Europe — a lot cheaper.

It's attempting what its predecessors have so far failed to accomplish: a sustainable business model offering deeply discounted, no-frills transatlantic flights.

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I just spent a mere $129 for the airline's inaugural flight from the U.S. — its June 14 departure from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Oslo, Norway (OSL). I paid for a fare that gets me a seat, a personal item to be stored underneath my seat and absolutely nothing else. I'm not even sure if water is included.

I recently crossed the Atlantic in Singapore Airlines' lavish business class. It's fair to say that this seven-hour, 35-minute crossing will be just a tad different.

While you'll have to wait until June for my report on what it's like to fly Norse and one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, here's what it's like to spend so little for such a long flight.

Norse is offering two classes of service — economy class, in a 3-3-3 configuration, and premium class, in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Of course, I'm sitting in the back for this flight. One of those premium seats costs $349 — $220 more — which is still cheaper than anyone else's economy fares. But I want really cheap. The cheapest way to fly across the Atlantic.

(Screenshot courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

Norse is currently offering a limited schedule on this route for the month of June, but will increase to daily service by July.

Upon selecting an economy fare, you're presented with three different fare options. I went for the bare-bones economy light fare. For $219, the economy classic fare is available, which gets you a carry-on and checked bag, and a meal. Economy Plus ($399) — not to be confused with United's extra-legroom offering — allows you to select your seat, and features priority boarding. It's also a refundable fare.

(Screenshot courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

Bag fees are next. Norse's $25 ask for a carry-on is cheaper than what Spirit charges on a lot of its domestic routes. It also offers three weight-based tiers of bags: a light bag up to 33 pounds ($60), a standard bag up to 50 pounds ($70) and a heavy bag up to 70 pounds ($170). While this may seem steep, American, Delta and United all charge $75 for the first checked bag up to 50 pounds on their transatlantic basic economy fares — so the 50-pound fee is actually $5 cheaper. To be completely transparent, I might have to eventually cave on the bag situation and make a $25 investment for the right to bring a carry-on. I'm not sure how I can travel to Europe with so little stuff, and I say that as a light packer.

(Photo courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

For seat selection, Norse offers three different tiers of seats, which are based on the location in the cabin and if they come with any extra legroom. Extra legroom costs $120, a seat closer to the front of the cabin costs $75 and a seat in the rear of the cabin costs $45. The airline charges the same for a window or aisle as it does a middle. As for me, I'm rolling the dice, fully expecting to be assigned a middle seat in the aft of the plane.

Norse then gives you the option to order a meal for one or both of the meal services. It doesn't offer you a choice of meal beyond a variety of special dietary meals — the fish and ravioli entrees are for illustration only, the website says. Whether or not the actual mean matches the illustration, I won't be partaking. I'm looking forward to my pre-flight smorgasbord (the flight does depart just before midnight, after all).

If you don't select a meal, you're warned of your choice to forego sustenance for the long transatlantic flight.

(Screenshot courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

Finally, you're offered some convenience-based extras: priority check-in ($20), priority boarding ($15) and even an option to purchase the right to check-in at the airport ($10). (In the age of COVID-19, airport check-in has become the norm rather than the exception for international travel as many airlines require in-person health document checks.) You can also purchase carbon offsets for $6. For $129, I'll be happy to be the last person on board.

More: Norse Atlantic launches with some amazing flight deals

(Screenshot courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

Finally, it's time to enter your personal information, which should look familiar. The airline is also collecting known-traveler numbers, an indication that it plans to offer TSA PreCheck, which is a must at JFK's busy terminals.

All major U.S. credit cards are accepted as payment. I purchased this very inexpensive ticket with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which will net me 3 times the points on this travel-related purchase.

It was at this point that I saw the only real glitch of the process — and it was kind of funny. It seems that Norse forgot to upload its logo to its payment processing service. Did I just book a flight on Merchant Logo Airlines?

(Screenshot courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)

After a few minutes, I received a confirmation email. For just $129, I was now booked on Norse Atlantic Airways' inaugural U.S. flight. Will I survive this flight with absolutely no frills? Stay tuned.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Norse Atlantic Airways)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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