OSLO & LONDON – Oslo-based low-cost long-haul carrier Norse Atlantic Airways has recently opened a few new routes connecting Europe with both the east and west coast of the United States and starts to gain relevance. Is it a smart alternative for travelers looking to cross the pond? Let’s find out!
Norse Atlantic – the flight
The airline operates a flight from Oslo to New York’s JFK airport with a stopover in London Gatwick (Flight N0 701) with their Boeing 787-9s, affectionately called “Longships“.
Since fifth-freedom-flights are always interesting, especially with widebody aircraft, this flight gained my attention since its inauguration.
Norse‘s tickets are quite cheap, to begin with, but when they ran a 24h sale back in August, I took my chance a got a ticket for this ~1h50m flight in their Premium Class for the whopping price of £25(!)
Since the concept of the airline revolves around paying for only what you need, there was no seat Included in this price, but still, the total came out to be just £39.
The booking process was smooth and transparent and gives you a good overview of what is included in your fare and what you can optionally add.
In my case (baggage details) and priority check-in was the only thing included in the cheapest premium-class fare. as the flight got closer, I regularly got emails reminding me of the flight status, covid regulations, and so on – the usual stuff.
When the time came around 24 Hours before departure, the online check-in opened. this is where I ran into some issues. Norse doesn’t have an app yet, so check-in was only possible through the website.
As I filled in the details and was awaiting the beloved QR-code, I only got a notification with a big “THIS IS NOT A BOARDING PASS, PLEASE PROCEED TO THE CHECK-IN DESK AT THE AIRPORT“ text. I am not entirely sure why the online check-in didn’t work, but there was nothing I could do about it anyway.
Day of Travel
My flight took place on the morning of the 29th of October, and I arrived in Oslo the day prior.
So I knew I had plenty of time for check-in. Since I had the priority check-in, this process took only about 5 minutes. Oslo Gardermoen Airport was not crowded at all at this time of the day, so the Security (non-priority) was done very fast as well.
Due to the fact that we flew to the UK, I had to go through passport control as well.
I was literally the only person using passport control – can’t it always be that easy? My flight departed from gate F33 at the very end of the terminal. arriving at the gate area, I noticed that there were only very few people there, meaning an empty flight.
As mentioned before, this short flight Is operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. on my day of Travel, LN-FNI awaited me at the gate.
The plane is very young, just over 4 years old, and had one prior operator, Norwegian Air UK. Passengers are seated on 282 economy class seats and 56 premium class seats. coincidentally I took a photo of this plane, as seen below.
Departure out of OSL
As I got into my seat, 6A, the crew came around and handed out welcome drinks.
I went with apple juice. As mentioned before, the flight was relatively empty. The premium cabin was roughly 30-40% full.
One thing that I find interesting to note is that sometimes, the cargo holds of the planes going to the US are filled to the brim with fresh Norwegian salmon.
Soon after, we pushed back from our position and taxied out to the runway. We took off right on time, and the next stop was London Gatwick. I got some nice views of the Norwegian landscape as we climbed to our cruising altitude.
Around 20 minutes after takeoff, the crew came around once again to start the service.
The only thing complementary was a drink; everything else was up for purchase from the extensive inflight menu. I was actually going to get a panini, but sadly I only had a debit card on me, and apparently, the purchase was only possible using credit cards.
One very nice thing to note was that the flight attendant offered to use her card, but since I also didn’t have any cash on me as well, I wasn’t able to try any of the food.
I then decided to check out the IFE screens.
They feature the usual flight information page with a moving map, altitude, speed, and so on. you are also able to choose a movie from a wide variety of recent movies.
A few shows from many different genres were also offered since the flight was quite short, I chose to kick back the seat and enjoy the best entertainment option of them all: looking out of the window.
Arrival into LGW
Soon after, we started descending, and the UK came into view below. The crew came around one last time, collecting any trash. It was then time to fasten seatbelts, put the seat in the upright position and stow the tray table.
The approach and landing were very smooth, and after a short taxi, we reached our parking spot, and my flight was over.
I had a little chat with the pilots before we took off, and they told me the reason this flight exists had to do with certification reasons and departure slots, so in the near future, this fifth-freedom flight will be terminated, and you can travel from OSL to JFK without a stopover.
However, this short flight gave a nice preview into the Norse Atlantic experience. In my personal opinion, if you know exactly what you need and don’t need on a long-haul flight, this carrier is definitely a smart alternative.
Simply due to the fact that you have a relatively low base fare and can then add according to your needs. If I were to plan a trip to the US, Norse Atlantic Airways would definitely be considered me.