Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air is making international travel a cinch for vacationers on a budget. While it might be best known for its cheap trans-Atlantic flights (it famously offered $65 flights from the U.S. to Europe last year), the Norway-based airline also shuttles travelers from the U.S. to the Caribbean for extremely low rates. Sound too good to be true? It’s not -- if you pay close attention to the fine print. Here’s what you need to know about booking an extremely cheap flight to the Caribbean on Norwegian Air.
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1. The $49 fare is a special deal, but it comes around relatively often.
Norwegian’s prices are often extremely low year round — a quick fare search this week found $59 flights from Fort Lauderdale, Boston, and New York for March. But sometimes they dip even lower — if you sign up for Norwegian’s emails, you’ll be notified when there are special flight deals. (In 2017, this happened several times.) And better yet, these advertised fares include taxes and fees, so there aren’t any surprises when you get to check out.
2. As of publication, Norwegian only flies from Boston, New York, and Fort Lauderdale to Martinique and Guadeloupe — but it does so nonstop!
So, no, Norwegian doesn’t connect the entire U.S. mainland to every island in the Caribbean (though it’s creating new routes all the time), but it does fly from three East Coast cities to two French Caribbean islands — and that’s all you need for a great winter getaway. What makes these routes particularly interesting, however, is that Norwegian flies each of them nonstop, which no other carrier does. In fact, to get from New York’s JFK to Martinique’s Aimé Césaire on other airlines, you’ll have to connect not once, but at least twice, and often three times. This means your total time en route can exceed 24 hours, but on Norwegian, you’ll make the trip direct, usually in under five hours.
3. The price reflects one-way tickets only.
Sadly, $49 won’t buy you round-trip tickets. The sale price applies to one leg, which is great if you plan on moving to the Caribbean permanently, but if you want to get back home, you’ll have to buy a return leg. While that second flight won’t usually be as cheap as the first, you can still often find a good deal. For instance, at the time of publishing, the flight from Martinique back to New York was as low as $149, meaning the total price of your round-trip flight could be less than $200—an extremely great deal for high-season flights to the Caribbean, which regularly cost over $400 on other airlines.
4. The Caribbean routes are only flown from October to March, and flights aren’t offered daily.
Norwegian flies most of its routes within Europe, but when air travel slows in the winter months, it reroutes some of its planes to the French Caribbean, taking U.S. flyers down south to enjoy the sun. The flights aren’t daily, however, so when you’re planning your vacation, be sure to check the schedule before requesting your coveted days off.
5. Norwegian is a low-cost carrier, which means you’ll likely pay extras for bags, seat selection, and food.
Like any budget airline, Norwegian offers low prices for a no-frills flight, but should you want some extra amenities — like checking a bag, picking a seat, or food — you’ll have to pay extra. But unlike on many budget airlines, the fees for these amenities on Norwegian aren’t outrageous. For instance, upgrading from the basic LowFare ticket to a LowFare+ costs just $25 each way, and it allows you to check a bag and pick your seat for free. Plus, the food menu is rather extensive (you’re not just given an option of a meat or fish dish), and prices are often in the single digits.
6. There are no personal in-flight entertainment systems, but Wi-Fi is free!
You read that right. You might not get a personal TV system, but you can bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone and connect to the Internet for free. It might not be fast enough to stream Netflix, though, so you’d be wise to download a few episodes of your favorite show before you board the plane. Alternatively, you can rent movies or TV shows from Norwegian to stream on your devices — just remember that it costs money to do so. You should also note that there are no outlets onboard, so charge up at the airport and bring your external batteries onboard.
7. These flights can sell out fast.
Unsurprisingly, people are quick to book the cheapest deals, and while there still may be seats on the plane, once the quota for the low fares is met, the price will go up.
The Bottom Line
Norwegian’s crazy cheap fares are real — and it’s a great idea to book them. Just be sure to make sure you understand what you’re paying for!
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