Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Norwegian Joins EasyJet ? Will it save you money?

When I first saw this in my inbox I was a little perturbed, Norwegian joining Easyjet.... Norwegian the low-cost long-haul specialist airline that has a great reputation and public image was joining with the budget airline EasyJet the regularly comes tops of those 'worst' airlines in Europe polls are joining together?  

However, upon further investigation I find I should not worry too much, they are not merging, amalgamating, conjoining or other such interloping integration ingestations. Nope it isn't a case of airline mergers, but Norwegian is partnering with easyJet on the new ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ platform, which makes it rather easier for folks to connect a Norwegian long-haul flight with an easyJet short-haul flight in one single booking.

‘Worldwide by easyJet’ launched this morning and allows passengers to seamlessly connect their easyJet flight with other partner airline flights, including Norwegian. The ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ service will initially focus on routes at London Gatwick Airport, using the airport’s ‘Gatwick Connects’ product. easyJet then expect the service to expand to other key airports in Europe in future, including airports where Norwegian also offers long-haul connections such as Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona.

Norwegian has a rapidly growing long-haul network which includes over 55 routes from Europe to the US, Asia and South America. From London Gatwick, Norwegian offers direct lower cost long-haul flights to 13 destinations, including 11 major US cities, plus Singapore and Buenos Aires.

Norwegian Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Ramdahl said: "Travel should be affordable for all so we are delighted to partner with another quality low-cost airline like easyJet to offer passengers even more choice."

Read more about the deal

“We already see a large number of passengers making connections between Norwegian’s own long-haul and short-haul networks and we welcome initiatives like ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ that give customers even more opportunities for affordable transfers between flights." Says Thomas Ramdah.

“With Norwegian’s growing long-haul networks and easyJet’s extensive European routes, millions more passengers will have the chance to travel to some of the world's top destinations, all with great fares, smooth connections and a quality service."

Peter Duffy, Chief Commercial Office for easyJet, commented: "The way we have designed Worldwide by easyJet means that we can profitably access a major new pool of customers without undermining easyJet’s operating model and industry leading punctuality.

“We know there is a real customer demand for making flight connections on easyJet easier. Almost 200k easyJet passengers a year already self-connect their easyJet flights through Gatwick Airport. That’s c.1% of our passengers at the airport and that doesn’t include those connecting between easyJet and long haul flights."
“We are delighted with the partners who have signed up for our launch today. We are confident it will be popular with customers and look forward to announcing more partners in the near future. “Whilst Worldwide by easyJet is launching with our largest base London Gatwick we will broaden our focus to include our other biggest airports - such as Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Barcelona. Between them they have tens of millions of connecting passengers each year whose journeys start or end in Europe."
Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said: “GatwickConnects lets passengers seamlessly self-connect between different airlines at Gatwick at the touch of the button. easyJet is our biggest airline and by partnering with GatwickConnects, easyJet passengers can easily and quickly self-connect with other flights in Gatwick’s diverse network of flights including our 60 long haul routes.”

Worldwide by easyJet is subject to a 2 hour 30 minute ‘Minimum Connection Time’, which will give customers plenty of time to transfer between flights and/or terminals. Should a passenger miss a connecting flight they will be transferred to the next available flight. Technology partner Dohop will be providing the technology platform for Worldwide by easyJet.

When looking at the deal, it seems less revolutionary than perhaps first thought, indeed to many in the industry it looks just like a normal 'interline' arrangement that's been going on for years with the legacy and traditional carriers.  So on the face of it 'Worldwide by easyjet'  is little more than an interline deal for low-cost/budget carriers, excpet that the minimum connection time for easyjet and its partners is much longer than the 90 minute MCT for other airlines!

But will it save you money?  

I tried a trip on Worldwide by easyjet,  Glasgow to New York via London Gatwick, out on 2nd October and back 24th October.  The inclusive fare on  Worldwide by easyjet £616.81.  (with a rather labourious 5 hour plus wait in Gatwick)

I then looked at easyjet direct and got the same flights to and from Glasgow and London Gatwick, including baggage and taxes, it was £118.97 paying by debit card.

I then hopped over to Norwegian's website and selected the same flights from Gatwick to New York and back and found the flight price inclusive of £419.80.

So booking separately saves at least £78.04 on this occasion. (If I had chosen different flights on the same day it would have been even cheaper to book separately)

The itinerary with Worldwide by easyjet includes Gatwick Connect, which includes a drink at the Caviar House, but I'm pretty sure no little tipple of wine or a soft drink is worth the £78 more you spend booking on the Worldwide by easyjet platform.


Jason Shaw

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