Just a small backstory: My last flight with Norwegian was back in mid-August 2016 when I did a day trip to Copenhagen from London Gatwick on two of their Boeing 737-800 fleet. I found Norwegian to be a decent airline based on my experience, however I found myself for years curiously wondering whether it was worth flying them on their (then) new long-haul operation based on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Come 2019- I heard about the TWA Hotel at New York JFK finally opened in May 2019. I wanted to visit, but at £200 per night, I was going to need to put a fair bit away for it and find a reasonable flight from London…. Now BA, American, Virgin Atlantic and Delta all flew from London Heathrow to New York JFK, but they all wanted me to pay £1k upwards for an ECONOMY CLASS flight for a 2 night trip. I wasn't able to afford that many nights in New York, especially since all my holiday leave was sorted and dried up. I had a gap- it was Tuesday to Friday, but given most US-EU flights are red-eye's, I'd have to leave NYC on the evening of the Thursday. However I found Norwegian at London Gatwick was offering a more sustainable £249 return on their basic fare, which was a life-saver! My trip was go!
Now Norwegian is a budget airline, so there are extras I did book on my fare. Excluding the return leg of my flight- this was my cost for this flight one way based on the flight and extras I chose: Flight (LGW-JFK): £168 Seat Reservation: £25 In-Flight Meal: £25 One-Way Flight Cost: £218
Had I flown on a longer trip, I would have gone with BA/AA as they were only £45 more, but I would have gotten all my snacks and in flight meals included, 2x qualifying flight and roughly 7500 award miles on my chosen OneWorld Alliance loyalty account plus FREE seat selection 7 days ahead of my trip along with a Priority Group 3 boarding.
For such a lightning trip, Norwegian is a clear winner, but for a longer trip- do weigh up the pros and cons. So far I was happy with their price offering under the circumstances of this individual trip.
Norwegian 787 Dreamliner experience!
So I had to drive to London Gatwick, given I live in Christchurch, Dorset (UK) the drive is two and a half to three hours driving time, covering about 110 miles of British roads and motorways. Now I do enjoy flying from London Gatwick's South Terminal, but I now have to be very selective on when I choose to fly given I don't live in my old town where I could easily get there in 45-50 minutes. Which is why I'm knocking down the access to LGW quite a lot on my review as someone who drives a car, trains are little better as a one-way ticket from my area can cost in the region of £30 one-way and its a tight transit if you have an early flight to catch!
Getting to LGW about 2 hours ahead of my flight's departure time, I got my boarding pass from an electronic kiosk and got air side in a rather prompt time, however when I got into the main departure area, I found my gate (which was on the far side of the South Terminal) announced, which meant I didn't have enough time for a decent breakfast at my favourite airport restaurant- WONDERTREE.
I got the gate and the area was full of passengers awaiting two Norwegian flights (my JFK flight and another off to Rio de Janeiro) as well as a Boeing 777 of British Airways that was already boarding for St Lucia. My flight was given a 15 minute delay, I don't fully recall the reason, as I was only paying attention up to the point that they apologised for the delay.
Among the regular London Gatwick sights I was observing, I noticed the "Millennium Falcon" Boeing 747-400 of Virgin Atlantic which was sponsoring the new Star Wars IX film, which was due for cinema release in about 6 weeks from the flight. Boy it looked amazing in person!
My Boeing 787 for this flight was a UK-registered Boeing 787-9 registered G-CKWT, delivered to Norwegian's UK based subsidiary at London Gatwick in March 2019 wearing the late LGBT Icon and US Politician Harvey Milk on it's tail.
We taxied out past the North Terminal, and lined up after a bit of a wait in the que on Runway 08L, furthest away from the Terminal as you can get at LGW…
We flew a rather soutern route, passing over Cornwall and Devon before flying across the Atlantic, previous flights I've taken have been a more Northern track.
The entertainment had a lot of popular and modern films and tv shows, a handful of pre-2010 "Classic" films were on the list, as well as some family friendly games. The seat was comfortable and I had no issue with the legroom on the plane.
The meal service came about around 90 minutes into the flight, and I had the standard £25 beef meal provided by the airline. It wasn't anything special. I had a Norwegian beer (Aass Fatol) as part of my meal which also came with a small salad and desert was Macaroon biscuits.
I got up for a walk around the cabin, the aircraft was spacious and modern.
I wasn't going to spend a lot of money on this flight for snacks, but I decided I was going to limit to ONE Transaction. So I went for a Jack & Coke with a box of chips, which came to $13US (£10.70). Despite being a UK based operation- the items were priced in USD.
Roughly 90 minutes before landing, I got given the sandwich snack which provided the second service as part of my £25 meal service. I got a chicken roll, a hot drink (which I selected tea) and a chocolate brownie. I also provided my own packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps, which I got at work the night before I left for LGW! I know I'm a cheapskate!
We spent the final 45 minutes of the flight coming in over North-West New York, flying in over the suburbs like Elmont, Laurelton and Rosedale before landing on 22L, we taxied past the Delta Airlines-clad Terminal 4 complex in order to get to Terminal 1 which is where Norwegian operate from (baring two services from T8).
We parked up at Terminal 1 and began to disembark, I did ask the crew for a visit to the flight deck- however the pilot said he wouldn't be allowed due to US Aviation Law (which is odd as I'd only been allowed in an American 767 cockpit in February 2019…. at JFK). However he suggested I ask on my return flight once I was back at London Gatwick, so I thanked him for a good flight, wishing him and the crew a nice stay in NYC and left the plane- only to spend a good 90 minutes stuck at JFK US Customs…..
Bonus : Click here display hide
TWA Hotel- Back to the 60's!
At Terminal 5 (used by JetBlue, Aer Lingus and TAP Portugal) you can take a step back to the glorious jet age thanks to the TWA Hotel, which is based around the former TWA Terminal 5 that was built in the early 1960s!
Here are some shots around the Hotel! Starting off with the entrance!
Some shots from inside my room- which cost me about £200 a night!
The Connie bar, which is a former TWA Constellation airliner which flew for TWA in 1958 to 1963
And here is the JFK Spotting video I filmed from the Rooftop bar!!!
London - LGW
New York - JFK
TWA Hotel- Very pricey, however it is definitely worth visiting for anyone who is interested in aviation or someone who has fond memories of TWA. It's location and access is spot on for anyone wanting an airport hotel. The bar served good quality drinks and light meals. Their pool bar and viewing deck is worth a visit, even non guests can visit.
Norwegian- Very vanilla opinion of them, I wouldn't fly them if I could fly BA for less than £70 more due to my OneWorld benefits, but I would use them for a short 2-day trip to New York given the price of a similar product from BA or VS. I would probably only book two of the extras, so I'm not 100% sure on whether the "All-In" fare is best or not....
I'm having issues loading my YT Flight Video so here's the link if you want to watch: https://youtu.be/vNFVOBVcmtY
London Gatwick- Apart from the 100 mile transit, still an airport I am always happy to fly from!
New York JFK- Good airport, nice facilities when flying out, good selection of restaurants and cafes, NOT Impressed by immigration given the time taken to get through- however I am happy to say the staff were well organised and friendly.
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