First, Lisa Hertel corrected me on my previous calculations: Finland’s hotel price was €80 ($106), not $80, but it also included breakfast and taxes. Thanks for the catch.
Rick Kovalcik additionally pointed out that Finland’s hotel rate also included wifi and taxes. Thanks!
I’m not going to do the re-calculations, but you get the point: it tips things more in Finland’s favor despite my gaffe.
Then, the other night, a friend of mine and I were doing travel window shopping on Facebook chat, and he booked a one-way ticket from Oakland to Oslo for under $300 on Norwegian Air Shuttle.
I’d missed the news, later posted to my blog entry, but Tommi added a comment to my post: Norwegian Air Shuttle (a low-cost carrier) has just announced US routes. Their five US cities are: Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York City (JFK), Oakland, and Orlando.
More on that in a minute.
Next year’s Finncon, the Finnish national convention, is going to be in Jyväskylä, the 7th largest city in Finland. It only has air service from Helsinki on Flybe, but people generally get there by train or road.
Airfare from Oakland to Helsinki one-way is $576.40, but that includes (remember, low cost carrier) no bag, no meal, and no assigned seat. That’s $94 extra.
One plus was that there’s zero penalty for flying only one way (verified by checking other cities).
I don’t know why it wouldn’t show return flights (suspect their site can’t handle long connects), but I didn’t dig too deeply into it. Flying to/from Sweden (ARN) was $1265 on Norwegian with basic extras. Flying to/from Helsinki same dates (July 8-18) on SAS and partners was a hair under $1500. It was $1510 looking on United, but all segments were actually on Lufthansa. I don’t generally book LH for long haul as I like my economy plus thank you very much. For long haul, it may literally be a lifesaver.
Also, I’ll note that there’s a lesson in this: when searching for the least expensive of non-specific dates, as I was in my last post, is a very different problem space than searching for specific dates. If you don’t need to be anywhere at any time in particular, you can always pick the best fares.
About Those East Coast Fares
For JFK-GEG (Spokane), the lowest fares next July-Aug are $590 rt on Alaskan, basically 10% more than the fares I found out of SFO. 10-20% higher than that was not unusual, though. In general, Spokane’s numbers vary a lot, which indicates that they are frequently hitting capacity even this far out.
Cheapest flights to HELsinki are $914 on Turkish, meaning a change of planes in Istanbul, or about 15% less than the fares I found from San Francisco.