It was an idea first bruited several months ago, but now it’s official; from July 2014, low cost operator Norwegian Air will begin operating cut price flights across the Atlantic. Leaving from London Gatwick, the first three destinations will be New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles.
One way prices begin at £149 to New York, £179 to Fort Lauderdale, and £199 to Los Angeles, based on September departures. These are inclusive of all departure taxes.
Flights from the London hub will operate on all new, Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Norwegian Air already has two of them in service, and will take delivery of another three next year- part of a massive, two hundred and seventy five plane order intended to make the carrier one of the biggest in the world.
The Dreamliner will fly in a two class configuration, with 259 seats in economy, and a further 32 in a dedicated premium economy cabin. All will have free wi-fi available as standard.
There will be three flights a week to New York; commencing on July 3rd, these will leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Twice weekly Los Angeles flights commence a day earlier, on July 2nd, and are available from that date on Wednesdays and Sundays.
But it’s the Fort Lauderdale route that will ultimately appeal to many potential cruise passengers. This service begins with a somewhat appropriate July 4th maiden departure, and operates an outbound service on Mondays and Fridays.
The Friday departure is particularly convenient for anyone picking up a cruise ship over the weekend, and the route itself holds more than a few advantages, Cost is first and foremost; it costs around fifty per cent less to fly from Gatwick than from the far more disjointed, frequently chaotic Heathrow. Gatwick itself has always seems to be a much better airport to both leave from and arrive into.
Similarly, arriving in Fort Lauderdale allows you to avoid the all too well known horror that is Miami International Airport. The latter is a byword for surly, inhospitable and often chaotic arrival for long haul passengers, something exacerbated immensely since 9/11.
Located just twenty five miles north of Miami, and right on the cusp of Fort Lauderdale itself, the smaller airport is a much easier, far more hassle free experience than its neighbour to the south. It is also worth remembering that Fort Lauderdale hotels are generally cheaper than their counterparts in Miami. Connections between the two cities are good, and relatively inexpensive.
Norwegian Air itself was founded in 1993, and now flies some 382 different routes to 121 destinations, including Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and the USA. It is the second largest low cost carrier in Scandinavia, and carried more than eighteen million passengers in 2012. The current fleet of 75 aircraft has an average age of 4.6 years.
In June of 2013, Norwegian Air was voted Europe’s ‘best low cost carrier of the year at the prestigious Skytrax World Airlines Awards.’
This is clearly one to watch for both cruise passengers and weekend break fans alike. As ever, stay tuned.