Tag Archives: Aviation

Norwegian Air Shuttle

My trip to Stockholm was full of firsts for me.  Not only was this my first trip to Stockholm, but it was my first 787 Dreamliner and first flight with Norwegian.  I searched high and low on the internet, looking for reviews and videos that would prepare me for my first Norwegian experience.

Departure

I had originally planned to only travel with carry-on luggage since my flight from Seattle to LAX was early in the morning, and my flight to Stockholm didn’t depart until the evening.  Now that LAX has a connector from Terminal 4 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), I figured I could sit in the lounge to wait out the 5 hour layover.  I was booked in Norwegian’s Premium Cabin, which granted me lounge access.  Norwegian, however, does not allow mobile or online check-ins for flights to/from the United States.  I had to leave the secured area of the airport and wait 3 hours for checkin to open at the TBIT.  There isn’t much to keep one entertained on the check-in side of the TBIT.

Once check-in was opened, I dropped my bag and headed through security.  I headed immediately to the Oneworld Business Lounge and waited out the remainder of my layover.  I had a lovely salad, glass of wine, and relaxed before the 11 hour flight.

ONBOARD: Having watched a few video reviews of Norwegian, I already knew what to expect when I boarded the aircraft.  The cabin is light and airy, and the seats give you plenty of space to stretch out for the long flight.  I have to say, the 787 is an amazing aircraft, and I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to fly on one.  The giant windows were fantastic.  I liked that there are no shutters, and you can still see out when the cabin crew have them blacked out for sleep time.  We hit a few bumps over Canada and Greenland, but the 787 really made everything smooth.  The aircraft is quiet too, compared to the others I had been on.

The seats recline a lot further than economy, but nothing compares to the lie-flat beds you find on other airlines.  The IFE comes out of the armrest, and when the people in front of you are reclined you’re pretty much stuck in your seat.  That is, however, unless you know your seat mate well enough to climb over them.  If I fly Norwegian again, I will be requesting an aisle seat for easier access to the lavatory and to get up and stretch.

A meal was served after we had been in the air for about an hour.  I had the beef, which was a bit dry, but still edible.  I had definitely had worse.  I opted for the chicken option on the way back, which was borderline terrible.

The cabin crew were very friendly; always happy to help and always with a smile.  I even overheard one of the flight attendants telling a passenger what a great company Norwegian is to work for.  It’s always nice to see/hear when people are happy with their jobs.

Return

I had a marvelous time in Stockholm, but I have one complaint.  The airport is HORRIBLE!  The check-in area is small and congested.  It’s very chaotic trying to maneuver through the crowds.  I found Norwegian’s check-in area, but was faced with a very long line of people.  I could see there was a separate line for Premium, however there was no sign and it was roped off.  I couldn’t tell if they were not allowing separate Premium check-in or if I needed to just let myself in.  I finally found a staff member willing to help, and he said I could just go right through.

The airport is not easy to navigate.  I searched for about 30 minutes for the lounge.  I finally found it, far away from Norwegian’s dedicated gates.  This lounge was HORRIBLE!  No plug-ins for electronics like most lounges have.  The seating was not comfortable.  Also, the food and drink selection was very substandard, compared to other lounges I’ve been in.  I spent about 10 minutes there, and made my way back toward my gate.  I had to go through Passport Control, and once through there I was restricted from moving around the airport.

Thankfully, Norwegian’s customer service is top-notch, otherwise I would have been in a terrible mood the entire way back.  The cabin crew were just as nice as the first leg of the trip, and they took very good care of me.  I even had the row to myself, so I didn’t have to climb over anyone to get to the bathroom.

Overall Experience

I am giving my Norwegian Air Shuttle experience 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I think they should offer a better Premium product, even if that means raising the price a little.  The food could be better too.  I also believe they should cut ties with Menzies, the company that runs the lounge at Stockholm Arlanda.  That was a terrible lounge, and I won’t take advantage of that privilege next time I’m there.

Museum of Flight

Seattle is airplane country.  Boeing’s headquarters is here, which means any time you look up at the sky, you’re likely to see a brand new jet on its test flight.  You’re also likely to see hundreds of general aviation aircraft zipping through the skies, as well as the seaplanes that make up Kenmore Air‘s fleet.  I remember a time, before the threat of terrorism became too serious, that my dad and I would head out to the airport to watch the planes.  Back then, we could get up closer that you can now.  Planespotting was something my dad and I could always bond over.

Now, when I have the urge to be around airplanes, but don’t have a ticket to go anywhere, I can head over to the Museum of Flight.  The museum provides visitors with excellent exhibitions on the origins of flight, as well as an exhibit centered around space exploration.  Retired aircraft hang from the ceiling for everyone to enjoy. They’ve just completed their Aviation Pavilion, where visitors can get up close and personal with some amazing aircraft.  I just came from the Members’ Preview, and they have done am AMAZING job putting this all together.  The Aviation Pavilion opens to the public on June 25th.  Boeing’s first 747-100 is on display, which visitors can enter.  It isn’t set up like a passenger jet, as it only made test flights.  The same goes for the Boeing 787-8 on display.  Visitors can also step inside a retired British Airways Concorde, which was the fastest passenger jet ever in service.  Docents are always on hand to answer questions about the various aircraft on display.

I’ve been to the museum several times, and still haven’t seen everything yet.  Every time I go, I see something new and interesting.  If you live in the Seattle area, or visit several times a year, I suggest purchasing a membership.  It ends up paying for itself, if you are an aviation geek like me and would like to go back a couple of times.  I have the lowest tier of membership, and I can always bring a guest for free.  Members also get 15% off at the gift shop, and I never leave empty-handed.  If you haven’t been to Seattle yet, definitely put this on the top of your list of places to visit.