Both Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian Air charge passengers on flights originating in the US more than they do on flights originating in Norway. The practice of “price optimalization” isn’t unique to the popular Norwegian shipping line Hurtigruten after all.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported last week how it can be much cheaper to buy Hurtigruten tickets via its Norwegian website than its websites aimed at potential customers in the US, the UK, France, Germany or other countries. Now NRK reports that both SAS and Norwegian engage in similar practices, based on what the airlines think the various markets will bear.
The goal, according to SAS spokesman Knut Morten Johansen, is to fill the aircraft for the highest amount of revenue possible. Passengers on flights that aren’t likely to fill up can thus pay a wide variation of fares for their tickets.
NRK reported earlier this week that Norwegian Air sells tickets to customers via its US website (norwegian.com/US) that can be more expensive in dollars than the same flights would be if sold via the airline’s Norwegian site, norwegian.no. The situation is similar at SAS, meaning it can be more expensive to purchase a round trip on SAS from Los Angeles to Oslo and back to Los Angeles than the flight would cost from Oslo to Los Angeles and back to Oslo.
“The pricing of airline tickets is complicated science,” Johansen told NRK, based on where a journey begins and which currency is used. He claims it’s not a matter of discrimination based on nationality, but on various markets and currency rates.