As we are all pretty much grounded nowadays due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (and because I've only joined Flight-Report very recently), I decided to post a few reports from my old trips. I am going to do that over several subsequent weeks. I hope you'll enjoy them even though some of the reports will be from a good few years ago. Apologies in advance if you feel the FR is too outdated or it is missing a few details. I'll try to make it best as I can!
This Wednesday, I am here with a report of Europe's favourite low cost airline (according to Skytrax), Norwegian. This was my first ever flight with DY. I really wanted to try them out and I remember I kept convincing my father a lot to take this weekend flight to London on board Norwegian. And, I'll spoil it, I started to like DY so much, that until now I already flew with them 9 times, even though they don't have too many destinations from my home airport, WAW. I hope Norwegian gets through the crisis, and will keep being the best LCC in Europe as they definitely deserve(d) the title.
Flight number: DY2873
Route: Warsaw Chopin - London Gatwick
Flight date: 30th May 2015 (0800 - 0925)
Scheduled flight time: 2:25
Aircraft model: Boeing 737-800
Aircraft registration: EI-FHE (Sonja Henie livery)
Seating configuration: Y189
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 7.1 years
Seat number: 17F
Departure gate: 7 (bus gate)
Arrival gate: 24 (jet bridge)
Thank you for joining me today :)
This is the mobile boarding pass for this flight. Actually, this has been my first ever mobile boarding pass, starting the era of me keeping the BPs in Apple Wallet (or previously Passbook)! We checked in with my dad in the afternoon, the day before the flight and were assigned seats 17E and 17F, next to each other, free of charge. With Norwegian it is (or at least used to be) possible to change the seats at the airport for free but we didn't bother.
Nothing really remarkable happened at the airport in terms of this journey. We arrived at 7ish, and directly proceeded towards security to soon be at the airside. Our assigned gate, 7* was in a non-Schengen area, so we needed to pass through additional control point. Surprisingly, there was no queue this time. Boarding started on time at gate 7 and we soon boarded the… bus. Norwegian never uses jet bridges in Warsaw, unfortunately :(
* NB that's an old gate numbering system in WAW. All gates for non-schengen destinations now have a denotation "N" e.g. 8N, 12N etc. A few years ago, when Warsaw started having more non-schengen (incl. intercontinental) flights in proportion to flights within Schengen, they decided to change the numbering system. And whereas some gates are strictly for Schengen flights, there are also some which are flexible and are adjusted to either Schengen or non-schengen, depending on the demand. Clever way to "expand the airport" without actually expanding it ;)
Boarding by bus is of course not the most comfortable thing on Earth, especially when it's snowy, windy or rainy (yet it wasn't today). But let's look on the bright side. At least you can take fantastic photo of the aircraft's fuselage.
On this screenshot from Google maps, I marked our ride by bus from gate 7 to a (very) remote stand, the blue X. But then from this stand, very short taxi and take off from runway 29 towards North-West.
Our today's ride is EI-FHE, which belongs to Norwegian Air International. Quite a busy flight this morning but not totally full. The weather was actually quite good for boarding from the bus, except it was a bit windy ;)
A few more shots of EI-FHE's fuselage. I appreciate Norwegian's livery, it's a clever way to smuggle Norway's national colours and maintain a modern look at the same time. And it absolutely deserves appreciation, that they put their "Heroes" pictures on the tail fin, different person on every aircraft (although Sonja Henie is both on this EI-FHE and one of the Dreamliners EI-LNA). It's an easy way for passengers to learn something new about a person you might not have known before, and also a good way of promoting the country! However, I think Norwegian has run out of Norwegians to put on the tail fin and they also put now some international "Heroes" and also some planes don't have any patron, just a blank white tail fin, which looks a bit poor :(
That's us at the remote stand. In the background you can see LOT's Embraers (old livery) Wizzair A320 (old livery) and Corendon's A320, which I have not met for a long time now at WAW. It is absolutely stunning to see how much less packed WAW was back in 2015!
At this time, in 2015, Norwegian had eight Boeings 737-800 in their base at LGW, registrations ranging from EI-FHA to -FHI (all registered as Norwegian Air International). Only 3 of those had the Boeing Sky Interior. As our aircraft had arrived from London already on Friday evening, a day prior to our departure, I knew our flight will be on the older interior 737. Well, I said, okay. Let's hope the flight back will be on the Sky Interior one… (spoiler, it actually was, on EI-FHI - see future report).
Once I stepped onto the plane, I could feel the cabin is a bit dated but still was quite well maintained and tidy. The overhead compartments filled up quickly due to Norwegian's generous hand luggage allowance (this no longer exists) but since the flight was not completely full, there was enough space for every bag, including ours :)
I just want to make a point about Norwegian's safety demonstration video. I think, they haven't changed it for quite a few years now but it's actually fine. The video is in my opinion, lucid, clear and understandable even for someone who doesn't speak English. Much clearer than a manual safety demo! The music in the background is so remarkable as well ?
After a very short taxi to RWY 29 we departed to the north (very usual) and made a slight left turn to be on our way to Gatwick. Soon after take off we were informed that the crew is about to start the BoB service. They also made an announcement that unfortunately the onboard WiFi is not working today. What a shame. The overhead monitors however, dropped down very soon after take off.
Let's get back to the service. Norwegian, unlike many other LCCs hands out the "BoB menus" at the beginning of the flight only to people who wish to take a look at it. Personally, I don't know what the advantage of such solution is ?♂️. This time we only tried a coffee and a juice which were ok but a bit expensive. The service went relatively quickly as they serve both from the front and from the back.
The crew on this flight were nice and helpful. They made us feel welcome, even on this quite a busy flight. I have to say, I liked their uniforms, which felt classy. Much better than the ones on Ryanair or Wizz Air. I noticed they put an additional piece of clothing for the service time - a kind of apron. I don't know if that's still the case but I remember I found it surprising.
Reaching our cruising altitude. Again, nice-looking Norwegian colours on the winglet.
As the service finished, it was time to get a few shots of this oldie 737-800 cabin. I took a stroll down and up the aisle to have a look around. The lavatory was standard size old 737 toilet with I'd say standard cleanliness.
Let's say a few words about the cabin. As I already pointed out, it felt dated. The seats were old and "thick", whilst at this time lots of airlines (including Wizz and BA) were already mostly operating on slimline seats. I'd say, the dark colours and old seats didn't really make the cabin welcoming. I did however appreciate red antimacassars on the headrests and red curtains which added a bit of zing.
Btw. as far as I'm concerned, the cabin in this particular aircraft has not been yet renewed.
Even tough, as I said, the WiFi wasn't working on this particular flight, there were some other entertainment options available:
- "n" Magazin with some nice recommendations for places to visit (and I'm always looking for inspirations!)
- Overhead monitors, a huge advantage of Norwegian, comparing to other LCCs or even legacy carriers. This time, they played: flight map, gag clips, and a few ads.
- View outside the window (see photos below and above)
So to sum up, the entertainment was fully sufficient even without WiFi, for this kind of flight.
Every time I fly to the UK, I am amused by this huge wind power plant on the English Channel. Apologies for this poor quality of photo… bad cameras back in 2015 ?
This wind farm informs us, we're getting closer to the UK land and that we've already started descent into Gatwick. We were actually quite lucky this morning, as even though it was quite busy (as always at LGW), we didn't join any holding pattern and landed just after one left turn, from the East to the West. Then a relatively short taxi to our stand at a jetty gate, 24.
So we finally made it to our stand and we could slowly disembark through the jet bridge, directly to the South terminal. It has nice big windows so that I could make a few photos of the tarmac after disembarkation.
Busy morning at South terminal in Gatwick. In this picture you can see EI-FHI Norwegian with Carl Nielsen on the tail fin - which will take me back to Warsaw the day after.
A few more pictures of the tarmac. The obligatory queue for take off at LGW. And a really curious thing, FR parked at jet bridge, yet not using it…
And the last view at our today's ride, EI-FHE.
The first impression of Gatwick was very good, actually. But on my each next flight to/from there it was getting worse… The queue to border control was quite long, however we managed to pass through reasonably quickly and then proceeded directly to the exit, as we didn't have any checked in luggage. Then we caught a Thameslink train towards the centre of London where we spend lovely Saturday and Sunday. I'll include some photos from this trip in my next report of Norwegian. But for now, thanks for reading this one, I hope you enjoyed it!
Overall I would say it was a really pleasant morning flight with Norwegian, a new airline for me. To Gatwick, a new airport for me. It's a shame, we didn't get a Sky Interior 737 and that the WiFi wasn't working. But otherwise, everything was as it should be.
+ Very cheap tickets as for this route
+ Clear website
+ Amazing flight hours for touristic reasons, perfect for a weekend trip
+ Nice and informative crew
+ Overhead monitors were a nice additive
+ Generous hand luggage allowance (+ no one checked the weight)
+ Tail fin heroes are a great idea!
+ Quick and relatively cheap connection from LGW to central London by Thameslink
- old-looking cabin and the seats weren't too comfortable
- Long queue at immigration (LGW)
- quite expensive BoB