Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Flight Report: $490 to Stockholm on Norwegian... Plus, first time on a 787!

One of the new benefits of being in Oakland is that I have a new option for getting to Scandinavia: Norwegian flies to Stockholm, non-stop, from Oakland. It's a ten hour flight where you step on in California and off in Sweden. That's pretty much unheard of, since I've always had some connection, either in Europe or on the East Coast. The most convenient was always SAS, who flew to Copenhagen and then onward to Stockholm... but this is a new level of convenience.

Plus, my ticket was $490 round trip. I've paid more to get to the mid-west. For that price, you might be wondering what you get and how scandalous Norwegian will treat you once you get to the airport. After all, prices that cheap make people think of RyanAir and their shenanigans.

Turns out, you get exactly what you pay for. In my case, I opted to skip any additional services like food, drinks, checked bags, and a reserved seat (saving $140 in the process) and I got what I paid for: A spot on a plane. They did weigh my carry on (there is a 10kg limit that IS enforced), but none of the Ryan Air stuff like being forced to check in online or pony up a hundred dollars.

On the plane, there is no free drink or food service, but you can ask for a glass of water in the back for free. Otherwise, the best move is to bring it with you; Even at airport prices (and Oakland Airport does suck for food), it's still less than buying it on the plane. I didn't get a snap of their meals, but it looked like standard airline fare. Not worth the money they want for it.

The bottom line is this: I'll fly with them again. They are cut rate, but they are at least nice about it.

Another big bonus for this flight was that I finally got to fly on a 787. I've been waiting for the opportunity to take a trip on one of these aircraft and Norwegian runs them on their international routes (to the US and Thailand). Inside, it is pretty spacious. The cabin is nice and the storage pulls up pretty far to give it the feeling of having extra room. The new electrochromatic windows are alright, but they let in far too much light for my taste (see the last image). It's harder to sleep than with traditional blinds that can be pulled down. I suspect in the future they will either do both or have to dramatically improve the technology.

While the inside is nice, the real stunner is the wings. These things are amazing. They move like they are almost organic and on lift off, the bend in the wing is pretty dramatic. Most other wings are pretty stiff, but these flex in the wind and you can see them curl as the lift starts pushing the plane upwards. Check out this video of what I'm talking about.. (not mine). Pretty exciting to see them in action in person!

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