If there is one thing I appreciate in the travel world, its competition. When new airlines and new routes are launched, it usually opens up a price war which is great for you and me.
Rome – The Eternal City
We had the pleasure of visiting Rome a few months ago, it was amazing! I am so happy to see a new option from the Bay Area (Oakland – OAK) to Rome starting early 2018.
Rome has two airports, Fiumicino – FCO, which is for long-haul international flights and the smaller airport Ciampino – CIA, for European flights on RyanAir. The only other nonstop option from the West Coast to Rome is via Los Angeles on Alitalia. You can expect to pay $900+ for a nonstop round-trip from LAX to FCO on the SkyTeam partner Alitalia.
Norwegian is getting serious
If a new route from Oakland to Barcelona launching this June wasn’t enough, they had to top themselves once again. Currently, the only routes Norwegian Air operates from Rome is to Scandinavian countries and a few cities in Spain. Offering this new route from Oakland to Rome is another step in the right direction. All of Norwegian’s long-haul flights are operated on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner (my review of Norwegian’s 787).
Flights will begin on February 6th, 2018, though it doesn’t appear Google Flights has indexed anything as of yet. You can only book these flights directly through Norwegian’s site at the moment. The “promo” rate is $229 for the flight from OAK to FCO and $189 from FCO to OAK. That is $418 for a nonstop round-trip from The Bay Area to Rome, not bad.
The main reason I love budget airlines is that they charge for each flight individually. If you want to book a one-way flight to Europe using cash and then redeem points for the return flight home, Norwegian or Wow Airlines is the way to go. If you try to book a one-way to Europe on a legacy carrier like Delta, you’ll often pay more for a one-way than a round-trip.
I have to pay for bags and extras, is it worth it?
This question is answered by your travel style and budget. If you are the type of person that needs a seat reservation, brings more than a small suitcase/bag, and likes a hot meal onboard, maybe not. Norwegian will charge you an extra $90 EACH WAY for a “LowFare+” ticket which includes a seat reservation, meals, and a checked bag. (saving $45 by purchasing them all separately).
I pack EXTREMELY light, sometimes I look suspicious to airport personnel. Checking a bag is not a necessary, which is $45 à la carte each way. That said, the 22lbs of free carry-on will usually suffice for me. I’m on a strict diet so I won’t eat airplane food, that would be a waste. Each time Alyssa and I have flown budget airlines we always get a seat together without reserving. For a twelve-hour flight, think about paying the $45 each way for a seat reservation if that risk scares you.
I am more about the destination than the journey. I sleep well on a plane, especially on a red-eye going to Europe. If skipping on a checked bag, seat and meals gives you anxiety, just pay the $90 for a LowFare+ ticket. I’m young, I’d rather save 40% of the ticket cost for something more exciting.
Each direction you will pay (if purchased individually):
• Checked bag up to 44lbs: $45
• Seat reservation: $45
• Onboard meals: $45
Not so fast
There are frequent sales to Europe, including Rome, often in the mid to high $400’s for a round-trip on legacy carriers. If you are flexible on travel dates, I would wait for a sale on a legacy carrier where bags, seats, and meals are included. If you have strict dates and don’t need to pay for Norwegian’s extras, you can’t beat these nonstop fares. Make sure to follow Miles To The Max on Facebook for the best flight deals to Europe (including error fares).