Gatwick Airport: I arrived at Gatwick about 1 hour and 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time, by then I have received a message from Norwegian about the delay, pushing the departure time to 14:05 and eventually 14:10. I had a bag to check in and the process was efficient but not overly friendly (always worth paying a bit more at the time of booking just to make sure you are not going to be charged a ludicrous baggage fee) After about 15 minutes of arriving at the train station I was already at the security. The security again was fairly efficient (given the number of travellers at that time was not high at all) I was through to what is a shopping mall (also known as the departure area of Gatwick airport)
The shopping mall that greeted me after security
At about 45-50 minutes before the revised departure time, I went to the gate area at gate 11, the gate area was cozy enough but without a toilet, I was desperate to get on board.
Boarding: Boarding was chaotic but also organised in the sense that it isn't really a queue but people are friendly enough which is quite different to what you would get on Ryanair. Passengers in the first 16 rows boarded through a jetbridge and the rest of them boarded via an airstair at the rear of the aircraft. There was a bit of a queue on the jetbridge.
The flight attendant was friendly and engaged in small talks while passengers boarded the aircraft. It was a completely full flight and the flight attendants were efficient in finding overhead luggage bin space for passengers who were struggling to find one.
Turkish A321 joined the party just before pushback
Flight: The captain of the flight explained that it was a late inbound aircraft from Stockholm which caused the delay and that the flight time was 1 hour and 35 minutes. Our gate was close the threshold of runway 26L, so after waiting for a BA A320 to take off and a few aircrafts to land we accelerated down the runway and climbed towards the clear sky over Surrey. The views en route was nothing short of spectacular with clear skies over the English coastline and France. As we approached southern France, we slowly descended and landed on the Nice Côte d'Azur airport with great views on the final approach. Afterwards a quick taxi and we arrived at what I think was gate 14c at NCE.
Views en route:
After take off over southern England
Brighton and the coastline
Somewhere over France
French Riviera (might have been Cannes)
Seat + Condition of the aircraft: The seat is pretty much the same seat as the new British Airways short-haul seat without the headrest, It is more than comfortable for a short flight and the legroom as you can see is very decent (mind that I'm just 5'9)
The seatback pocket features the safety instruction card, the Norwegian magazine and an apparently outdated buy-on-board menu.
sufficient space for two extra magazines that I've brought along as well
The toilet was in good condition and so was the seat which is quite impressive given it was 4 in the afternoon and the plane must have flown at least 2-3 legs in the day already.
Inflight entertainment: The overhead monitor didn't really show anything entertaining or a flight map, instead there was free wifi available and it worked, the connection was simple and the speed was acceptable (ie social networking is possible but don't expect any sort of streaming) there were also tv shows and films to purchase but I didn't partake as this was only an 1 and a half hour flight. Flight map was available with the wifi which again provided reasonable amount of information. I sticked with Top Gear on my iPad instead.
Flight map on my phone
Customary shot with the wifi onboard
Food: There was a buy on board menu but the availability was quite poor. Nevertheless I had a southern fried chicken with chips platter along with a can of Stella Artois for £9 which in fairness was quite pricy. It took the flight attendant quite a long time to get the platter ready and by the time I got it we were almost beginning our descent so I haven't had a chance to take a photo of the food. It was decent but nothing to write home about. I found the drinks seem to be much more popular than the meals and that the availability of drinks was pretty much what the menu says.
Arrival: As we were the only non-schengen arrival at that time the queue at the passport control was short and I was through without any problems in no more than 5 minutes. The baggage took a while to appear on the conveyor belt but overall from disembarking to customs took about 20-25 minutes which in my standard was good. Nice airport was a mess though, especially for travellers with limited French including me, I arrived at terminal 1 and was looking for bus 98 to take me to my hotel at the Promenades, the instructions were non existent as I was told to join a queue which turn out was for the shuttle bus to terminal 2 then I asked the staff at terminal 2 and was told to go back to terminal 1, the airport itself was a bit drab, I cannot imagine what it would be like in the winter (although there would be significantly less flights in the winter) and looked desperate for a renovation. The food I had turned out to be a good idea as I haven't had lunch and it took me quite some effort to find the bus stop eventually and headed towards the glittering Promenades.
Arrived slightly late
Monitor at the conveyor belt telling passengers how many minutes until the baggages arrive
London - LGW
Nice - NCE
Norwegian really did surprise me with very competitive pricing and a very good product that easily beats Easyjet (a flight report on an Easyjet flight should be out very soon, stay tune to that). It was all in all a very comfortable flight and I might switch to Norwegian on short haul flights out of London (still not going to fly from Luton or Stansted) since I probably won't get much more on BA anyway apart for a few avios miles, but after all when BA charges ridiculous prices on short haul flights.... Norwegian does present better value for money. Oh and by the way Nice and the French Riviera is absolutely gorgeous, a must-go in the summer.
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