Norwegian Quietly Canceling Flights To Seattle

Earlier today, Norwegian announced that they’ll launch flights between London Gatwick and Tampa as of October 31, 2018. The route will be operated twice weekly using a Boeing 787-9, and it means they’ll be going head-to-head with British Airways on the route (which is basically what they do with all of their routes to the US). As it turns out, that wasn’t the only major network change they made today.

Norwegian has been expanding their US route network like crazy the past few years, and in September 2017 the airline began flying nonstop from London Gatwick to both Denver and Seattle. This was a big win for both markets, since neither market gets many transatlantic low cost carriers.

Well, it looks like the new Tampa route may have come at the expense of another route — today Norwegian has closed bookings for their London Gatwick to Seattle route as of October 26, 2018. Unlike other airlines, Norwegian doesn’t make bookings available 11 months out, so as of now their schedule is just open through next March.

So it remains to be seen whether this is a seasonal or permanent adjustment.

In general Seattle has been a booming market — not just the amount of service the airport has gotten, but also the city as such. As a result, we’ve seen an incredible amount of international expansion.

At the same time, when it comes to tourism (which is largely what ultra low cost carriers rely on), Seattle is dead in winter. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit in summer, while in winter it’s dreary. You’ll see this reflected in hotel rates as well — a hotel that’s $500 in summer may cost only $100 in winter.

So my guess is that this is a seasonal cut, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It is interesting that the flight didn’t go as they had forecasted, because initially the bookings were open year-round, so this wasn’t launched with the intent of being seasonal. However, I guess one-way traffic in winter couldn’t justify the route, as presumably you only had people traveling from Seattle to Europe in winter, rather than from Europe to Seattle.

Most of the European network carriers flying to Seattle operate a pretty consistent schedule year-round.

Are you surprised to see Norwegian canceling flights to Seattle this winter?

(Tip of the hat to SeattleTodd & GavInTheBay)

Comments

  1. The Points Guy says it’s a seasonal cut (along with other adjustments to Norwegians schedule)

  2. Not too surprised. I took the flight in February round trip and it was at least a row per person in economy on the outbound, and the return was delayed 4 hours, so the roundtrip flight actually paid for itself with EU261!

  3. This is unfortunate if it isn’t coming back. Although I prefer the service of BA on this route, it’s hard to argue with the value of Norwegian Premium.

    Last I flew this route, the FA service was terrible, but the premium seat was the best PE seat I’ve flown – much better than AA and BA PE products. Comparable to JAL PE seat. So it was totally worth the price over Y.

  4. The weather in Seattle isn’t that much different than the weather in London and Paris in winter. Close to the same latitude (so not much daylight), relatively maritime climates (a lot more rain than snow). Big difference is Seattle is a bit dryer in summer.

  5. They are going daily on Buenos Aires eff October 31st, so i’m guessing they need to cancel Seattle to use the aircraft for the new frequencies to Argentina. Probably Seattle the least profitable route for Norwegian. Load factor on LGW-EZE-LGW is 95% according to Norwegian sources, so it’s very reasonable to go for more flights.

  6. I believe it’s seasonal due to their 21 planes of 787 dreamliners that were recalled. I happened to booked LA to Milan for this July. They emailed me regarding the problem and cancelled my flight. I received free change. I checked norwegian air again for July and there are zero flight.

  7. Norwegian is an ok option to fly Sea-Tac to London, but AerLingus, Air France, BA, Condor, Delta, IcelandAir and Luftansa offer many opportunities to connect across Europe. Those airlines also earn miles with one of either Alaska, Delta or United. IcelandAir’s odd business model offers a very efficient connection service, a lot of Alaska miles and often hours shorter overall travel times.

    The non-stop service to London from BA and Virgin Atlantic is competitively priced on most days, but London isn’t exactly an ideal destination for budget minded tourists/students anyway. The questions remains whether BA and VA will hike their fares this winter now that Norwegian is canceling their winter flights.

  8. Mike, that is entirely inaccurate. Norwegian is in fact increasing Fort Lauderdale-Gatwick flights from 3 weekly to daily the same day that Tampa launches, in addition to launching new flights from FLL to Madrid and Rome.

  9. Birmingham (BHM) and Nashville (BNA) would love to have Norwegian Airlines. They are great and people flocked to Southwest when it entered those markets so imagine a international carrier with service to Europe from the deep south some where other than Florida!

    Let Seattle go and try one of the smaller USA airlines to Europe that have worked so well for you already but this time in the South.

  10. SHH..heres the secret,,,

    The airline isn’t making money because its a very very poor product for long haul flights. They are usually late, they almost never have jetways, customer service is ZERO and they nickel and dime you. Backpackers might rejoice, but not usual passengers.
    I had higher hopes for Norwegian. Yes the planes are newer, clean, but everything else about them is horrid.
    My last flight on Norwegian was in Premium class fro Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale. The ground crew and pilots insisted on telling the pretensious Barcelonians that they were flying to Miami – and referred to the premium cabin as first class. How can anyone take them seriously?

  11. How many people travel from Seattle to Europe in the winter but don’t fly back? I don’t get that point.

  12. I have flown SEA to Europe a couple of times on different carriers over the last 12 months, the planes were always full in both directions, even in the winter, which made me believe that there is quite a bit of demand.
    A part of that will likely come from business travelers (Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft), but looking at the people at the gate, there must also be a look of leisure travel year round.

  13. I have been flying Norwegian Premium several times from scandinavia to the Us (JFK. MCO and LAX) and also to Thailand (BKK).
    Their Premium product is perfect if you get a decent deal on the ticket. God service, good seats.
    Compared to premium economy on other transatlantic airlines, they are miles ahead.
    I am gold in Star Alliance and Saphire in One World.
    If norwegian has a direct flight i choose their premium over an average business class with a stop over.

  14. The news is reporting that it’s a seasonal suspension and that flights will resume in March.

  15. My flights in December/January were cancelled on Monday and I was re-booked on flights out of LAX. I am trying to decide if it is worth taking their offer to provide flights to LAX (where I would have to check in my baggage again) or just get the refund. If I can get them to upgrade me the connection would be better, but I imagine it is hard to get any compensation out of them.

  16. They cancelled my flights to Seattle in December and rebooked my whole family to Los Angeles. No “sorry”, no call, no indirect flight options, no upgrade. If I’d missed the email I would never have known.

    I’ve been to over 50 countries, flown all the big carriers and many weird ones too. Never has an airline arbitrarily moved my destination like this. So I face the choice of rebooking on Delta or BA – direct – at double the cost since prices have now gone up or buying internal flights from LAX to SEA at what looks like £800-£1000. The arrogance to give so little sh*the about your customers. Truly disgusted.

  17. If you call them they will book you connecting flights to LAX at no additional charge. It sucks, but doesn’t actually cost you more money. Just more time.

  18. I’m sorry to see that they are making the service seasonal, or perhaps just terminating the route. I flew is last December. There was a nine hour delay due to a sick pilot. When it did finally depart it was at about 40% load factor. The price was certainly the best for a non-stop flight, about $600USD round trip. The aircraft was immaculate and the service was fine. The return was uneventful and maybe about 60% load.

    I was hoping they could make it work and operate it year round. Icelandic does a huge business at SEA. Most of the year it’s two 757 flights a day SEA-KEF and you know the vast majority are simply transiting KEF.

  19. I flew NY to Lon and they switch the plane to some old 747 that was a subsidiary called ‘vamos’ air, plane still had the ash trays and made a bunch of strange noises. I guess I should have checked the actual plane on that route to ensure it was the Dreamliner, but sheesh, that’s was pretty rough. Otherwise, never had a problem on 30+ flights with them

  20. I tried Norweign from Sea Tac to Gatwick this year. I usually fly Delta from Pdx to Heathrow but wanted an easier exit out of London, so tried Norweign. Flew low fare over, which I felt was as good as Delta. On the return flight I upgraded to Premium and it was a fantastic idea. Excellent food compared to domestic airlines, very comfortable seats, prompt and attentive crew. I am very dissapointed they have dropped the seattle flights!!!!!! I have been looking for flights from Sea to Paris or Gatwick again without any luck. So upset! I fly to Europe from west coast 2-3 xx a year and am dredding Delta even though i am a frequent flyer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *