British Airways Ousted as Top European Airline in New York

British Airways Ousted as Top European Airline in New York

Norwegian Air has surpassed British Airways as the top European airline in New York.  That means the Norwegian Air, in a moral victory for the budget airline, flies more passengers to and from New York than any other airline in Europe.  The airline has been making a play for the U.S. market the last few years.  That’s a pretty substantial title for the budget carrier to hold, and it shows a trend that troubles large carriers who often complain about the unfairness of budget carriers and the difficulty in competing with their low fares.

According to Reuters:

Norwegian carried 1.67 million passengers to or from airports in the New York area in the 12 months to the end of July, compared with the 1.63 million carried by British Airways, data from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey showed.

No-frills carrier Norwegian has been rapidly expanding in the transatlantic market over the last five years, prompting the owner of British Airways, IAG (ICAG.L), to try to buy it earlier this year.

So what exactly does this mean?  Should anything be read into this?  Well, while the title doesn’t necessarily mean anything, it demonstrates how many people are willing to fly that route with a no-frills airline.  It also may demonstrate that airlines like British Airways will continue to look for ways to lower costs.  They have already launched a budget airline, Level, in an attempt for a more competitive market.  They have not started flights on that budget airline from New York to London, but it does show that British is well aware of the demand for cheaper prices (which unfortunately often come with no frills).

American companies have made their displeasure with Norwegian well know, in particular complaining about facets of the company, including how they have skirted labor laws in the U.S. and Europe.  The airline has made it possible for Americans to travel to Europe for as low as $300 roundtrip, although that ticket won’t come with much besides the seat on the flight.  We’ll continue to see more of the war between these two airlines I’m sure, particularly now that the budget carrier has taken the top spot for European airlines carrying passengers to and from New York.




About Jonathan (509 Articles)
I love traveling, politics, history, and baseball!

5 Comments on British Airways Ousted as Top European Airline in New York

  1. Norwegian comes with a high quality aircraft, seat back entertainment system (not on WOW or Level) and free carry-on bag (not on WOW).

    • Yeah, totally agree for a “budget” airline they offer more than some of their competitors. Especially when you consider how basic economy to Europe has really entered the fray. A lot of times I’m seeing great One World fares, and then see it’s a basic economy fare that’s still even more than what it would cost to fly Norwegian.

  2. it’s more than just a moral victory – they’ve become a very useful airline for New Yorkers with a really diverse list of destinations. Between the 3 Greater NYC airports, if my count is correct, they even fly to more European destinations nonstop than AA, an airline that actually *claims* to hub in New York.

    Earlier this year when I flew them on EWR – Rome FCO nonstop, i paid $280 inc tax for the ticket, and on the outbound, spent $0 on bag fees and maybe total $20 of random food&bev onboard (the return I splurged $240 by bidding for premium cabin upgrade, so the costs aren’t apples-to-apples here). Assuming hypothetically I spent the same $20-30 on F&B on the return in regular econ, that would still be 280 + 20 + 30 = $330, still an excellent deal and a far cry from what the legacies were quoting.

    minor word of caution – their catering vendor may decide to take artistic licenses on food definitions. when i ordered what showed up on the screen as “sandwich”, it arrived as a burrito. still reasonably tasty for $8, but a bit unexpected to say the least.

    • A lot of great points there. Thanks for that! I’ve personally never flown Norwegian, but they seem to be above the other “budget” carriers from what I hear, in terms of what they offer at a terrific price point.

  3. In my opinion largely due to devaluations in legacy carriers’ FFPs. It makes no sense to pay more and be loyal. Smart travelers would cost benefit analysis like henry above and take Norwegian. It makes much more sense to fly norwegian than BA because seats are equally tight but paying a bit extra gives a better leg room for those in need. Still quite better financially than flying BA. Even after obtaining avois in other ways by paying, you will come ahead. Finally, norwegian premium economy is a level above BA’s PE. So why bother???

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