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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:51 pm

Across the Atlantic for less than the cost of an iPhone

Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:55 pm

Hey guys and girls!
I came across some flights to London a while back, and it struck me that the price of the flights was extraordinarily cheap, like insanely cheap. I thought to myself that it would be stupid, almost rude of me not to book them ASAP.
I booked myself a weekend in London for less than the cost of a new iPhone!

Norwegian BOS-LGW - $170
Primera Air STN-BOS - $126
AirBnB in London for 2 nights - $110
TOTAL COST - $406!!!

Crazy right!

Airline: Norwegian Air UK
Flight Number: DI 7148
Route: Boston, MA to London Gatwick, UK
Departure Time: 2035 (2114 actual)
Arrival Time: 0755+1 (0819 actual)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-CKWE)
Seat: 31J (Economy “LowFare”)

I checked-in online for the flight, and it randomly selected me a seat, luck was on my side and it produced a window seat for me at 31J.
As I was on a “LowFare”, I’m only allowed to take 10kg of carry-on luggage with me, of course for a 2 day trip I was never going to check a bag. This meant I didn’t have to deal with the queues at the bag drop, and I was able to proceed directly through security. The security process was pretty busy, and it took a while for me to finally make through to the departures area.
The departures area again was particularly busy, I guess this could be classed as “rush hour” perhaps with all the TRATL flights heading over to Europe around the same time.
Boarding started at just after 2000, passengers requiring special assistance, Premium passengers, and passengers who’d purchased Priority Boarding boarded first. Then Economy was boarded at once, and what ensued was one of the most chaotic boarding processes i’ve ever witnessed.
Queues formed from all directions, there was shouting, pushing, it was crazy! Like damn we’ve all got allocated seats what’s the rush!? I get people want to put bags in overhead lockers but they get checked if there’s no more room right!?

Anyway, I finally made it on board, the “Purser” welcomed us at the door, a very odd Ellen Degeneres look-a-like woman who wasn’t particularly friendly, and was pretty rude to a little kid who couldn’t produce a boarding pass (his mom had it behind him).
I took my seat at 31J, and low and behold there was room in the overhead locker for my carry-on.
The seats are reasonable, not quite what one would expect from a Dreamliner, the cushion is pretty good, but the seats are narrow, and the legroom had me twisted up like a pretzel, any little bump on the taxiway or bit of rough air and I was doing knees to chest like it was football pre-season!
Immediately I realised my TV wasn’t working. If i’m not mistaken, I understand flight attendants have to stay in certain places during boarding, so I waited until once boarding had finished until I approached one to mention about my TV.
I mean, I would have preferred if she at least pretended to care, but she didn’t, and she simply told me that there’s a USB port so I can watch stuff on my phone instead. I asked if I could perhaps move to a different seat and she told me she doesn’t have the authority? Is that true?

I accepted that I won’t have anything to kill time for the flight, and I returned to my seat, thankfully the H seat was free, and a lovely lady was sat in the G seat.

The Captain announced a slight delay due to some missing paperwork, a pretty standard excuse across the industry I guess for the flight being late.
The safety video played on the TV’s and it was at this point another flight attendant realised my TV wasn’t working, she was actually very helpful and told me she’d soon be back to find me a free seat. I’m assuming she became otherwise occupied as she never came back :lol:
A little under an hour behind schedule, we departed from Boston.
We departed into a dark Boston sky, and I gazed out the window as the lights of the city faded away.
The flight attendants delivered the pre-ordered meals, and then the cabin lights were dimmed, they passed through the cabin telling everybody to dim their windows and they were never to be seen again. To order things from the buy-on-board menu, you needed a TV! Thankfully, I had the free H seat to use, but it was quite pricey so I decided against it, a good range of snacks and drinks were on sale however.
I hate to report that I fell asleep, despite the lack of space, the lighting in the cabin created a very relaxing atmosphere, and I fell asleep until the lights were returned to full brightness around an hour before our arrival in London.
At this point the flight attendants passed through with landing cards for the UK.
I needed to stretch my legs at this point, so decided to go for a wonder into the back galley.
I found the flight attendant who told me she would find me a spare seat and asked her sarcastically “So did you find me a spare seat?”, and she was incredibly apologetic about the whole thing, I understand they are very busy and have a lot of things to do so I wasn’t particularly bothered, I got from Boston to London safely, for an incredible price, which at the end of the day is the whole point.
We landed at London Gatwick just under 30 minutes behind schedule.
My experience with Norwegian wasn’t all too great and wasn’t what I expected, yes, I’m so happy that for such a cheap price I got to London safely and on time, however, from boarding onwards, it just felt like everyone from the airline (ground staff to flight attendants) were inconvenienced by the presence of passengers.

Anyway, I digress, I jumped on a Gatwick Express train into London, and made my way to my AirBnB for the weekend.
I spent a wonderful 2 days in London, my apartment and host were amazing, and the location was perfect for doing tourist stuff in such a short time. I did so much over the space of 2 days, I couldn’t quite believe it, and I wish I was able to stay longer.

However it was eventually time to fly home, I bid goodbye to my wonderful host, and took a Stansted Express train up to the airport.

Airline: Primera Air Scandinavia
Flight Number: PF 43
Route: London Stansted, UK to Boston, MA
Departure Time: 1700 (1711 actual)
Arrival Time: 2010 (2014 actual)
Aircraft: Airbus A321neo (OY-PAA)
Seat: 33A (Economy “Light”)

Primera Air doesn’t allow online check in, I guess because it’s such a new airline, which is quite inconvenient but there’s nothing wrong with old school airport check in.
The queues don’t actually take too long, and the check-in agents are very helpful, I asked politely if there was any chance at all of a window seat, since I hadn’t pre booked one online, she was very helpful and allocated me 33A. If I hadn’t turned up so early I may not have got the opportunity!

Security took quite a while, it seemed rather understaffed. Thankfully I had plenty of time, and I eventually wandered into the departure lounge.
I headed to a place called “Pret a manger”, I believe that’s how it’s spelt, I got myself a coffee and got a sandwich to eat onboard.

Finally, after quite a bit of waiting, boarding was called. I got a glance out of the window of our waiting aircraft, and it looked awesome, those engines look incredible!
Boarding was, for a change, organized, Premium and Priority passengers boarded first, and the aircraft was then boarded by rows which was strictly enforced. A very civilized boarding process, it was nice to see! The Ryanair aircraft next to us which was boarding, the gate agent looked like he had just scored the Superbowl winning touchdown and everybody was jumping on top in celebration.
I had a strange feeling as I walked down the airbridge to the aircraft, I don’t know if I was nervous or excited, or both! But it’s an odd feeling walking onto an Airbus A321 knowing im about to cross the Atlantic in it!

I was greeted onboard by a very nice gentleman, I was stuck in the front galley for a while as other passengers blocked the aisle and formed a queue, and I got chatting to him for quite a while, he seemed very enthusiastic about the Primera Air operation, whether he was genuine or a very good actor is unknown to me.
As I passed the Premium seats, they look pretty damn good, and not like anything i’d seen before!
The aircraft even had that new plane smell! ;)
I took my seat in 33A, the seats are pretty good, the cushion is acceptable for a flight of this duration, any longer it could become unbearable, the seats are pretty average width, but the legroom is crazy, and being 6’2” it’s not often I can say I could comfortably stretch my legs.
There’s no IFE, and no Wi-Fi (yet), however there is a USB port to charge devices.
Unfortunately the B & C seats were taken too. It was a pretty much 100% load from what I could see.
The door was promptly closed and we pushed back to a manual safety demonstration.
11 minutes behind schedule we departed London.
Soon after departure the flight attendants delivered pre-ordered meals, and then they passed through with the buy-on-board trolley.
I got myself a coke with ice which cost me £2. The menu is pretty good, not a huge amount of options but plenty of alternatives of sandwiches and noodles if you don’t want to spend £30 on a pre-ordered meal.

Shortly after, the flight attendants distributed US Customs cards, and one of them even let me keep their pen (unfortunately not a Primera branded pen :( )
As the flight chased the sun, it was hard to sleep, and so I decided to stand up for quite a large portion of the flight.
I even managed to talk to the flight attendants in the rear galley for a little while.
I had always thought the crews were shipped over from Scandinavia, however I was informed that the majority of flight attendants and pilots had been recruited just a few months ago from the UK, many of whom had moved over after the unfortunate demise of “Monarch”, they were all very friendly, and seemed very happy to be at Primera, they told me the airline is looking to open flights to Orlando and even as far as India when the LRs are delivered later this year. Apparently, Wi-Fi is also on the way when 5G is introduced, whatever that is :lol:
At prices this low, Disneyland dreamers are going to go insane should Primera announce Orlando flights! :lol:

Anyway, I didn’t want to disturb them too long and I returned to me seat.

The remainder of the flight passed without incident.

We touched down in Boston 4 minutes behind schedule. We then waited on the ramp for 30 minutes for a gate to become available.

We finally disembarked, I bid farewell to the crew and went on my way.

I hope you enjoyed this report, my total spend for this trip, including money spent in London came to just under $550, which I think is pretty incredible.

Comments and questions are always welcome, and please leave your thoughts too.

Until next time, take care
Posts: 232
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:56 am

Re: Across the Atlantic for less than the cost of an iPhone

Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:26 am

Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 1999 6:09 am

Re: Across the Atlantic for less than the cost of an iPhone

Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:59 am


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