Norwegian 787 taxiing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
High risk, high reward. That’s how I viewed my booking on Norwegian. They recently started serving Denver, Colorado (DEN) from London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) using their ever-expanding fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The one-way, one-stop fare from my family vacation in Copenhagen was only $600 per person in their “Premium” cabin – a steal for holiday travel.
Why did I need a one-way fare? I had used United miles to book my family from Denver to Copenhagen (via SFO) on Christmas Day. 30,000 miles per person for a pretty convenient one-stop routing on United and SAS was too good to pass up. But it made getting home a challenge. That’s one of the things that drew me to Norwegian. Also, we’re not exactly rolling in international service here in Denver. Norwegian is a new player, and I wanted to try them out.
For some reason, international travel has not reached the same parity as domestic U.S. travel when it comes to one-way fares. Piecing together an itinerary in the states is pretty easy, but just try booking a one-way flight from London to Denver. Norwegian is disrupting that model with its a la carte approach to everything, as are its long-haul international competitors such as WOW and Icelandair.
Lovely weather in London right before boarding – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
So, why high risk, high reward? Norwegian only flies to Denver three times per week. They also don’t interline with other carriers. So, when things go bad (delayed/canceled flights) they go really bad. I knew not to expect to be booked on another carrier if things went wrong. I had a backup plan in case we got stuck in London (there are worse places to be stuck), but we were lucky that our travel was flexible.
So, how was the trip? Did I win the gamble? Read on…
Norwegian’s inaugural flight to Seattle from London Gatwick, a Boeing 789, rolls up to the parking stand
It was a homecoming of sorts (at least for the Everett, Wash.-built 787-9) as Norwegian kicked off new 4x-weekly service from Gatwick to Seattle on Sunday, Sept. 17.
Norwegian flight DY 7131 taxiing after landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Gotta love those red-headed jetliners.
It was a lovely Seattle morning. The rain that had been forecast was late in arriving, and the plane landed early; everything came together nicely.
Two U.S. pilots stepping off the first 787-9 at Boeing Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
With the Emirates Milan saga, where US & Italian airlines are backing a play to force the Gulf carrier off the Fifth Freedom New York route, it led me to look into similar instances that have happened over the last few months that perhaps lead to a deeper situation.
It seems that US-based airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are trying their hand at stopping outsider airlines from getting to the United States rather than just expanding themselves.
Let’s take a closer look.
Norwegian Air’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image from Norwegian.
Last week, the first 787 destined for Norwegian Air rolled out of the Boeing paint hangar up at Paine Field (KPAE).
Wonder if anyone has called Norwegian’s livery Rudolph.
For those of you who attended this year’s Aviation Geek Fest may remember seeing line 102 on the factory tour in its white protective coating.
Norwegian Air’s first 787 Dreamliner.
The most striking and noticeable feature about this scheme is the fully painted red nose/front third of the aircraft, which for me looks very different compared to all of the white front halves that we have seen on every other 787 at this point. It’ll take a little to get used to but definitely is nice to see something a little different.
The tail, like on all of the airline’s 737s, features an important historic person that means something for the country.
Sonja Henie was chosen to be on the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner.
Sonja Henie is featured on the tail of the first 787 and is a three time Olympic Champion and film star.
Side angle of Norwegian’s first Dreamliner.
So far this is easily one of the sharpest looking 787 schemes and will be the easiest one to pick out of a line up.
Due to the current woes facing the Dreamliner, it is uncertain when Norwegian will be taking delivery of their first plane.
||This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent.
Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.
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