As a frequent flyer I was excited to experience the new Norwegian Air service on a recent trip to California.
Flying from London Gatwick into Oakland (San Francisco) and then home from Los Angeles was a great option for me as I live in the South East of England. Plans are afoot for travellers from other parts of the UK to hopefully benefit from a proposed partnership with another carrier to give ‘feeder’ flights from regional airports which will open up numerous opportunities. Watch this space!
Norwegian’s economy fares are amazingly low and the pricing system works in the same was as our old friends EasyJet and Ryan Air. You chose your flight, then add on the ‘extras’ such as picking a seat, checking bags and adding a meal.
The lowest fare option is just your seat, but for an extra £50 each way you can add checked bags, choose your seat and pre-pay for your meal. Their website has a handy low fare calendar so if your dates are flexible you can grab the best deals.
But I was lucky to travel in their Premium cabin which I felt was a service something in-between the Economy Plus and Club Class offered by the more established airlines and again, great value for money.
One of the real highlights was experiencing the ‘state of the art’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner. A beautiful plane with large windows and clever ‘magic’ shading to cut out glare from the sun. Fresher air circulating combined with ‘intelligent lighting’ helped cut down jet lag and it really did work for me. Much larger than average overhead storage bins were also a great bonus for the extra bags we seem to collect when shopping for duty free.
Prior to boarding Premium passengers have access to fast track security and an airport lounge (where available). A real bonus as airports are now so busy and hectic. On board the Premium cabin is spacious with a 2/3/2 configuration of wide seats. Ok so they don’t fully recline like BA Club beds, but they do a pretty good job with raised foot rests and plenty of space, and I managed a good sleep on the way home.
Crew offer water and juice on boarding then a full drinks service after take-off when a glass of bubbly went down well. The meal service is a great improvement on recent BA/VS offerings. Your choice (chicken/meat/vegetarian) is presented in a smart box and is the usual appetiser (salad) hot entrée and finally dessert, all well prepared and very enjoyable. A choice of warm bread rolls was a nice touch.
I don’t usually bother with in-flight entertainment but Norwegian had some great options including a very up to date video library of the newest releases, plus some old favourites, catchy games such as Trivia and virtual jigsaw puzzles plus more for gaming enthusiasts. Tracking your journey was fun too with views from the cockpit, maps and plenty of information.
Finally, both flights were on time, which is probably one the most important aspect of any travel.
Long haul travel is not something I usually enjoy but on this trip, it was made as easy as it could be.
As Norwegian expand their route network I urge you to give them a try as they are the way forward for easy, affordable and stress free air travel
London Gatwick – Oakland-San Francisco
Norwegian fly a year-round three times weekly direct service between London Gatwick and Oakland International Airport and from April will increase to five flights per week ideal for leisure and business travelers.
Flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with two cabins – Premium and economy.
Economy fares start from £149 one way and £399 in Premium go to www.norwegian.com/uk or 0330 8280854 (opt. 1)
The on-board experience:
• Norwegian’s flights to the U.S. are serviced by brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner offering a Premium and economy cabin with inflight entertainment for all passengers. These technologically advanced aircraft are faster, greener and help reduce the effects of jet lag.
• Passengers travelling in the Premium cabin can enjoy spacious seating with extra legroom, complimentary drinks, meal service, inclusive luggage, fast track security and access to select airport lounges.