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Low-cost flights to Ireland take off from Hamilton

By Paul Knowles (first published in exchangemagazine.com)

Norwegian takes off from Hamilton Airport, with one-way flights to Dublin starting at $209. (Photo: street musicians at Bunratty in Ireland)

 

Canadian travellers have long been envious of the incredibly low costs offered by some European discount airlines. These “a la carte” carriers offer extremely low prices, but travellers have to pay extra for options like seat selection, meals, or luggage.

The frustrating part of all this, for the Canadian traveller, is that Canadian airlines are adopting many of the same up-charges – without necessarily offering the compensatory lower prices.

This month, an award-winning, low-cost European airline is teaming up with the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport to create some precedent-setting flight options. Starting March 31, Norwegian Air will be offering direct flights from Hamilton to Dublin, Ireland, four times a week, for as little as $209, one way, including taxes. Top price, on the busiest days in high season, is $339.

The new service was announced at a lunch event in Hamilton on March 6. Representatives of the airport, the airline, the city of Hamilton, and Tourism Ireland were on hand to celebrate the news.

Anders Lindström is North American Director of Communications for Norwegian. He confirmed the details – Norwegian will fly to Dublin Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing Hamilton at 7:45 p.m. for an overnight flight. Return flights leave Dublin at 2:40 p.m., arriving in Hamilton at 5:25 p.m.

The Hamilton to Dublin service – which offers connections in Dublin to Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen – is Norwegian’s only Canadian flight. Their major North American operation is based in New York; Norwegian offers 55 routes from North America.

Hamilton International has focused on low-cost, leisure travel, with great success in recent years. Their passenger volume has more than doubled in two years.

The a la carte service means customers can pay for seat selection, luggage and meals, and Lindström noted that Norwegian offers a package deal – $80 Canadian gets all the options. He noted that because the outbound flight is overnight, many passengers opt for the least expensive choice on the flight over, but add some features for the daytime trip back to Hamilton. “The options are all yours, “ he said. And wifi is free, an unusual feature on a transatlantic flight.

Hamilton to Dublin flights will be on new, Boeing 727 MAX aircraft; the average age of the Norwegian fleet is 3.8 years, making it one of the newest, and most efficient, in the industry.