Norwegian Airlines, after introducing its first credit card to American customers last week, is doubling down on the US market with three new routes. The airline is launching nonstop service from Chicago to both Paris and Rome in 2020, along with a new nonstop route from Denver to Rome. (Norwegian already flies from Denver to Paris.)
The new service will begin with the spring and summer travel season. It will be flown with Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner long-range aircraft, each with 35 seats in Premium and 309 in Economy.
In Chicago, the third-largest city in the US, Norwegian will now have four nonstop routes to Europe, including Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome. The new Paris service will launch May 1, 2020, and operate five times a week, while the Rome service will launch June 2, 2020 and operate four times a week.
Fares on the new Chicago flights will start as low as $209.90 in Economy, one-way, to Rome, and $219.90 to Paris. The more comfortable Premium class experience starts as low as $629.90 one-way to Paris, $779.90 to Rome.
Norwegian says its service from Denver to Rome will be the first-ever and only nonstop service from Denver International Airport to Italy. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock is on board; “These new flights mean new jobs and greater economic opportunities for Denver residents [and] further solidifies Denver’s strong position in the global economy as both a business and tourism hub.”
The service, which joins Norwegian non-stops from Denver to London and Paris, will launch on March 31, 2020, and operate to with three weekly flights during the peak spring and summer season. Norwegian says Denver to Rome fares will start as low as $249.90 in Economy one-way.
Norwegian doesn’t make passengers depend on their own electronic devices for entertainment on these long flights. The Economy seats have personal in-flight entertainment systems with seat-back screens, as well as USB charging ports and a power adapter. And Millennial (and other) travelers will also appreciate Norwegian’s free WiFi on transatlantic routes.
Norwegian, which has so far survived a number of near-death financial experiences, continues to focus on US travelers interested in Norwegian’s low-cost, long-haul service. The airline says that with almost 50 nonstop routes to Europe, it offers more routes from the U.S. than any other European airline.
“The U.S. is now our largest and most important source market and we will continue to invest in expanding our network to offer more nonstop service to highly sought-after European destinations,” said SVP Commercial at Norwegian Matthew Wood.
Most coverage of long-range flights has been focused on the very longest, like Singapore Airline’s 18-hour journey from Singapore to New York and back. Then there’s the even longer flight from Sydney to New York Qantas accomplished last month. It covered 19 hours, 16 minutes and 10,200 miles, but carried just 49 passengers in preparation for possible commercial service by 2023.
But the long range offered by contemporary airliners like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner also make new mid-range routes like Chicago or Denver to Rome convenient for passengers and potentially lucrative for airlines. The flight from Chicago to Rome covers some 4,807 miles, while Denver to Rome is 5,567 miles.
Non-stop now commonly fly from deep in the US to deep in Europe, like Norwegian’s current non-stops from West Coast cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles to Madrid and Barcelona.
With such flights, and the upcoming routes from Chicago and Denver, there’s no need to fly to New York,London, or Paris, de-board, find the next gate, wait a few hours, and finally board another flight. For many travelers, that’s a welcome bonus to the low fares Norwegian is known for.