British Airways B767 Club Europe Review

On May 30th I attempted to fly to Edinburgh onboard the BA B767 in their Club cabin in order to write a review for you all. I missed the flight.

The old cockpit of the B767

Thanks to a friendly flyertalker who read my blog post on the missed flight – I went back to have another go. This time, I made the flight! British Airways have seven B767s left in their fleet which once boasted 31. With all the long-haul configured aircraft now retired, the seven remaining aircraft are set up in a domestic configuration with 259 seats. The aircraft is, however, available to configure is several different ways. The first 17 rows are available to sell as ‘Club Europe’ seats (BA’s short haul business class product) but in practice it is very rare that all of these rows are used in CE (Club Europe) configuration. For my flight, the first five rows were configured for Club use. What this means is that the middle seat in the middle rows aren’t available to sell which gives the club passengers some extra comfort. To clearly show which seats are used for Club seating, white antimacassars are used. I flew onboard G-BZHB which is due to be retired in November 2018. I sat in seat 5A and had the only free seat in the whole of the club cabin next to me thanks to it being blocked for sale. The cabin may look tired but I found the old seats very comfortable for the 55 minute flight.

Cruising up north

The aircraft is powered by 2 Rolls Royce RB211-524H engines, has 3 galleys and 8 toilets onboard.

British Airways’ Club passengers are allowed to use Terminal Five’s ‘FastTrack’ facility located to the left of BA’s A desks. Having slept very badly the night before, I decided to make my way to T5 bright and early to spend my time in the lounge instead of rolling around in bed and not sleeping. Arriving at T5 is very easy no matter what transport you take. I arrived on the 490 bus from Twickenham and was up in the departures hall 5 minutes later. If you have an early flight out of LHR then you should take note of my following mistake. To my surprise, T5 doesn’t actually open its check in desks until around 4.45 for the Edinburgh shuttle so I couldn’t check my bags before then. This resulted in a 30 minute wait in T5 for the bag check facility to open for my flight. Even if I had been able to drop my bags, however, the Galleries North lounge at T5 wouldn’t have let me in until 5am anyway. Once through security, I went to the South lounge for some breakfast and then positioned myself in the North lounge to watch the sunrise and landings on runway 27R.  BA’s lounges are laid out nicely with a choice of pastries and rolls for breakfast and a wide selection of drinks.

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I headed down to my A gate before the gates were announced to meet the crew as they arrived. I was met by cabin manager Elaine and her crew for the day who were more than happy to let me on early to get some shots of the aircraft. My passport and boarding pass were checked and I came down to the aircraft to have a look around.

The empty Club cabin

I only had a few minutes before boarding began but it was really nice to check the cabin out and chat to the crew before the 767s get retired next year. Boarding was handled seamlessly and we pushed back and began our long taxi from T5 to 27L for takeoff. Service began while we were still on the ground as the crew brought hot towels round to the Club passengers. We banked right out of Heathrow and began our scenic cruise towards EDI. Breakfast (yes, my third of the day) was served very soon after takeoff and consisted of a full English and selection of bread roll of croissant. The basket of bread came around a few times during the flight, as did the offer of more drinks. I was very well looked after by the crew and (as always) ate far too much.

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The crew that operate the 767s are known as ‘Eurofleet’ crew. They operate on the smaller jets (319,320,321) and the 767. I found the crew very welcoming and I could sense they were a lot more relaxed than many mixed fleet crew I have encountered on my BA travels. The 767s are fitted with overhead screens in the aisle but these were not used during our short trip. Newspapers and magazines are provided on boarding to all passengers, however. Seeing as the majority of the passengers were commuters, there was just about time to have a read of the morning papers before coming in to land.

The scenic route got even better as we began to descend into Scotland. As we hit water to the east of Edinburgh, we began to bank onto our final approach which offered a fantastic view of Edinburgh for those on the left of the aircraft. But as pictures speak a thousand words I’ll let you look at the slideshow below.

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We landed at around 9am in Edinburgh and, as Club passengers, left the aircraft first. As a domestic arrival, no checks were needed and I was out the door 10 minutes later.

I had a really enjoyable flight with BA on their old girl the 767. I’ve on an A319/20 a handful of times but flying shorthaul on the 767 felt quite different. Firstly, I found the crew very relaxed and well organized. They stopped to chat with most of the club passengers onboard and seemed genuinely happy to be operating the flight. The space on the 767 also seemed a lot nicer than that in the Airbus fleet. Being a jet with two aisles makes it feel a lot more spacious and I liked that.

Conclusion

Flying on the 767 was a great experience to have before they become a thing of the past next year. I had a really enjoyable flight with British Airways and think the morning 767 shuttle is a great option for those wanting a stress-free ride to Edinburgh

Norwegian B787-9 Premium Economy Review

If you’ve been reading my delivery reports recently, you’ll know that Norwegian are receiving B787s at a rapid rate. They currently have 32 on order but that will most likely be rising in the future. I flew one of their 787s on DY7016 – New York JFK to London Gatwick – in Norwegian’s ‘Premium’ cabin to see what they were offering.

Norwegian have both B787-8 and B787-9 Dreamliners in their fleet. The -8 variant has 32 premium seats and the -9 has 35. I flew on G-CJUI, a 787-9 model that was delivered to Norwegian in April 2017. The aircraft is setup with 42 rows – the first 5 rows are fitted with ‘Haeco model 3050’ premium seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and the following 37 with economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.

The comfort of the premium cabin really impressed me

The Premium seats offer a generous 46” of pitch and 19” of width. The legroom offered is actually the most you will find on any premium economy product on any airline behind Open Skies who offer an inch more. This gives you an idea of the generosity of the product. This compares to the economy seats which offer only 31” of pitch and 17” of width. My seat for the transatlantic flight was 3J.

The 787 Dreamliners boast a complete overhaul in onboard product from the old aircraft people are used to flying. Ranging from windows with automatic dimming to a state of the art cockpit, the 787 really is how the next generation of flying will look. The flight deck is similar to that of the B737MAX which I flew a few days earlier in terms of automation.

The flightdeck during ground preperation

The aircraft is powered by two Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines which generate a whopping 74,000lbs of thrust each. With that said, they are some of the quietest engines in the industry, thanks to noise reducing chevrons fitted to the rear. The aircraft has 3 galleys and nine toilets. The toilets are also fitted with mood lighting which automatically changes when the doors are locked and unlocked. The crew rest is fitted at the rear of the cabin above the rear galley.

The Trent 1000 engines that power the aircraft are one of the most silent in the industry

Premium passengers are treated to complimentary lounge access at available airports. One of those airports is New York JFK. Norwegian used to use the Korean Air lounge but have recently moved to the Alitalia Lounge at gate 3. I’d heard mixed reviews of Korean Air’s lounge but was eager to find out what the Alitalia lounge offered. The lounge offers complimentary WiFi which I found a little slow at times. There is no hot food available, just sandwiches and salads from the fridge, crisps and other light snacks and quite a wide range of soft drinks and alcoholic beverage. The lounge windows offered a view of a few gates and it was nice to watch the sun go down and some evening departures.

The view from the lounge

I sat down with a light dinner and did some work. While the lounge is a nice way of relaxing before a flight, it is nothing special.

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Once the cleaners were finished I was allowed free access onto the aircraft to photograph the cabin and meet the crew.

 

 

Our scheduled departure time was 23.00 but we were delayed during boarding and finally pushed back 20 minutes late at 23.20 – nothing major and handled very well by the cabin crew. After boarding, I was offered a drink and given a set of headphones by Louise who was operating as one of the two premium crew for the day. We took off from runway 22R at 23.50 and were offered another drink shortly after.

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We began our cruise at 39,000ft before ascending to 41,000ft until we hit the western point on Wales where we began to descend for arrival into LGW. The cruise was smooth apart from some very heavy turbulence over the eastern point of Canada. Dinner was served 50 minutes after takeoff at 12.40 New York time. For dinner, I was given a choice of ‘Savory Grilled Chicken Breast’, ‘Rich and Tender Grilled Beef Filet’ and ‘Seared Shrimp Basted in Creamy Lemon Beuree Sauce’. The meals in Premium are still served in Norwegian’s standard boxes. I would love to see a plated meal introduced to Norwegian’s menu. I went for the beef, seeing as I had chicken on the MAX trip up to New York.

Dinner is served

The meal was well presented and tasted good. I was, without a doubt, full for the rest of the trip. After the meal service, the whole cabin was offered tea or coffee and a choice of either Cognac or Bailey’s. This was a really nice touch.

Premium seats are fitted with flip-out IFE screens which come out of the middle arm rest. The screens are bigger than those in economy class and have a good selection of films and TV programs available. I really enjoyed the different maps that were available to use during the crossing and had these up for most of the flight. The IFE also has a nice feature which allows you to order drinks (complimentary for premium passengers) and snacks.

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Charging points are included in the premium seat which allows to work on the go. This compares to the economy product where there are two plugs per three seats.  The 787s haven’t, yet, been fitted with wifi which is a shame. I’d love to see this coming in the future.

Around an hour before landing  we were offered breakfast. I have to say I thought the breakfast was superb. I wasn’t expecting anything major for breakfast but was greeted with a really nice mix of food. My breakfast included a bread roll, slice of parma ham, ball of cream cheese, two slices of cheddar cheese and a selection of fruit pieces accompanied by a coffee. I was really impressed with the breakfast.

Breakfast was the best meal of the flight I thought

Perks of flying premium include a complimentary blanket, headphones, unlimited complimentary drinks, dinner, breakfast, pre-boarding and access out of the aircraft before economy passengers. Thanks to a good flight time we landed at 11.09am on runway 26L at London Gatwick, thus making up for the delays at JFK. Disembarkation was handled professionally and premium passengers were speedily whisked off the aircraft.

The premium seat offered by Norwegian is a cheaper option than most premium economies. I selected a random date in summer 2018 to compare prices. A premium economy fare with British Airways from LHR-JFK on July 17th will set you back £1707. On the same date, a Premium fare with Norwegian will cost you £502. Being a lot cheaper, you would expect Norwegian’s premium service to be a lot worse than that of its competitors but I didn’t find that. I found that I had a surplus of legroom (46” – more than any of its competitors in London) and enjoyed complimentary drinks throughout the flight. A premium fare also gives you the flexibility of taking two checked bags onboard, seat reservation and fast track access at selected airports. Upgrading to Norwegian’s premium fare from a basic economy fare, on my selected day in summer 2018, will cost you £140.

The comfort and value of the Premium cabin really impressed me

Norwegian’s premium seat offers better levels of comfort at a very competitive price and that should be taken advantage of by all you keen travelers.

Disclaimer: This trip was provided by Norwegian Air.

More Boeing 787 Reviews on LondonSpotter:

Stewart Airport – The Airport that Could Change how we Travel

When you think about New York’s airports, New York/ Newburgh Stewart International probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Located 60 miles to the north of NYC in Orange County, Stewart Airport is small and remarkably quiet. With only 9 gates, its size, in terms of passenger count, is incomparable to that of JFK and EWR. The small airport could, however, be about to boom.

Before Norwegian’s arrival to the airport, Stewart Airport (SWF) handled only a dozen or so domestic flights everyday. With the arrival of Norwegian in mid-June, SWF has been connected to the world through flights to the UK and Scandinavia.

Stewarts only terminal is so small that it is is unidentifiable as an international airport

Why have Norwegian chosen Stewart?

For starters, Stewart’s landing fees are a lot less than that of New York’s major airports. Flying here costs Norwegian far less than flying into JFK (which has some of the highest fees in the world, I was told). The second reason is that being such a small airport, SWF can offer Norwegian a whole host of slots. With turnaround running smoothly, the plan is to unload passengers and cargo then load back up and depart 90 minutes later, thus reducing ground fees even more. These cheap fees that Norwegian are receiving don’t just mean that they make more of a profit at the end of the day, however. What it means is that transatlantic travel is now readily available to more people than ever before.

With only a small terminal, Stewart Airport isn’t your average international airport

Being so small, queues are almost non-existent and it is only a short walk before you’re out of the door and on your way into New York. After landing from Edinburgh, visiting the flight deck and being last off the aircraft, it only took me 30 minutes to be out the door and on my way. This is something New York’s major airports can’t beat.

Whilst visiting the airport last month, I was really impressed with the enthusiasm from Stewart’s staff to make a success out of Norwegian’s arrival. I met with General Manager Ed Harrison and COO Oscar Hollenbeck who told me all about the history of the airport and how they plan to build on what they now have to make Stewart a highly regarded airport with a large network of flights. I was told about expansion plans to accommodate more aircraft and ways in which they were working with new airlines to start flights from the airport. New initiatives are starting to support the increase in traffic such as the startup of the Stewart Airport Express Bus into the city. The bus is the only direct link Stewart has to the city but has been designed so that passengers never miss it. With a flexible schedule, the bus waits until the Norwegian flights have landed (even if delayed) and passengers are out of the airport until leaving. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children. Initiatives like these are what Stewart Airport are working so hard to develop as it is necessary in supporting the large increase in traffic.

Stewart Airport has a fascinating history, too. SWF was developed in the 1930s as a military base for the US army and is, still, home to some military operations. The airport was redeveloped in 2000 when it became the first US airport to be privatized. UK based National Express Group won a 99 year lease of the airport but sold it off to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who acquired the final 93 years of lease in 2007. In 2016 it was announced that Norwegian would be linking Stewart airport to Europe via UK bases in Scotland and Ireland and Bergen in Norway. In doing this, SWF has been linked to a vast network of locations on a global scale.

The military base at Stewart is home to a fleet of C-17s

Those who travel into SWF often overlook the surrounding areas of the airport and travel directly into New York. The Hudson Valley is home to the US Military Academy at West Point, the world famous shopping outlet at Woodbury Commons, which attracts a whopping 16 million visitors every year, the Culinary Institute of America and the home of President Franklin Roosevelt. While Stewart may be growing on the basis of being a New York airport, its surrounding areas have some hidden gems which will surely begin attracting more travelers through SWF.

Stewart is bigger, in size, than New York’s Newark Airport yet has a tiny amount of operations in comparison. For this reason, Stewart is a perfect airport for expansion. The plans that are in place include new international arrivals halls and, in the longer term, a new terminal. These moves will help attract the investment needed to become a world-leading airport. Alongside physical expansion, Stewart needs to be looking online to see how they can expand and market themselves in cities around the world. Social media is beginning to be utilised in order to begin spreading the word that Stewart is growing and could be becoming a big name in the aviation industry.

The huge runway at Stewart could once be used by the space shuttle in an emergency

Stewart Airport may not be right in the middle of New York but that might just be its best selling point. With acres of space to expand, SWF has huge potential to become a prominent airport of the future. With flights already to Scotland, Norway and Ireland, it can’t be long before Stewart attracts more airlines and more passengers and becomes the cheaper option for transatlantic travel.

Norwegian 737 MAX Flight Review

Norwegian B787 Premium Class Review

 

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August Delivery Report

In August, there was one delivery that stuck out for everyone. Yes, the delivery of Delta’s first Airbus A350 (N501DN). The aircraft is expected to enter service on October when it will begin to serve Delta’s Detroit-Narita route. The new delivery will be fitted with the new ‘One Suite’ and ‘Premium Seat’ cabins. The new ‘One Suite’ is a business class product that offers a sliding door to a private area with a lie flat bed. The new premium seat features 38 inches of pitch and a width of 17 inches. Only four other A350s were delivered in August. Lufthansa received their 4th on August 15th (D-AIXD), four days later Vietnam Airlines took delivery of their 8th and final A350 (VN-A893). The two other deliveries went to Hong Kong Airlines (B-LGA), a new airline on the list of A350 operators, and Cathay Pacific (B-LRS)

Delta’s new Premium cabin (photo: delta)

While Airbus only delivered 5 A350s, Boeing had a much more productive month with the 787. 11 787s were delivered in August. Saudia (HZ-ARH), Scoot (9V-OFJ) and United (N26970) all received their final 787s and El Al Israel received their first (4X-EDA) The new product comes fitted with a complete overhaul in onboard product which you can read all about here. Other airlines to receive Dreamliners were KLM (PH-BHM), who have one more on order, Air India (VT-ANZ and VT-NAA), who have two yet to be delivered, Air China (B-1466) who, also, have two more on order, Norwegian (G-CKNA and G-CKKL), who I flew with from JFK-LGW, and finally American (N829AN)

Norwegian received 2 787s to add to their rapidly growing fleet

Airbus may have had a disappointing month in terms of A350 deliveries but they made up for it in A320neos. Seven new Neos were delivered to six airlines. Air Asia received the most with 2 (9M-AGE and 9M-AGG) and have four more on order. Other airlines to receive the A320neo were Indigo (VT-ITW), SAS (SE-ROA), Vistara (VT-TNE) and Pegasus (TC-NBK), who will receive only one more. Novair were the only airline to take delivery of a 321neo (SE-RKB)

The MAX had quite an impressive month in August. A new airline was added to the list of operators – Southwest, who received N8710N. Norwegian received their final 737MAX on order (EI-FYF) and Lion Air received two more (PK-LQG and PK-LQH). FlyDubai took delivery of their second MAX (A6-FMA).

The state-of-the-art MAX

Five new B777s were rolled out of Seattle this month and delivered to four airlines. Emirates added two to their ever growing fleet (A6-EQE and A6-EQF). The other airlines were EVA Air (B-16739), Kuwait (9K-AOM) and Air China (B-1430).

The A330 also had quite a big month with six airlines receiving seven new aircraft. Wamos started the month off with delivery of EC-LNH, Saudi took delivery of TC-OCF, Hong Kong Airlines began operations with B-LHD, Tap Portugal received (CS-TOX) and Air China ferried B-8385 back to China. China Eastern received two (B-8972 and B-8962)

And to finish… An A380 was delivered in August. Emirates brought A6-EUY home to Dubai.

Airbus rolled an A380 out to Emirates towards the end of the month

Next month I’ll be back with an overview of what’s happened in the delivery world of September!

featured image by Airbus

 

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Norwegian Boeing 737MAX Flight Review

On June 29th, Norwegian became the first European airline to receive the new, state of the art, Boeing 737MAX. The new 737 variant boasts a reduced fuel consumption of 14% from the B737NG. While Norwegian made the headlines by becoming the first European airline to receive the aircraft, they also made the noteworthy decision to operate it on transatlantic flights during the high season. I flew onboard EI-FYA, the first of the MAX aircraft to be received, on flight D81600 on August 25th from Edinburgh to New York Stewart Airport to see what all the fuss was about.

The view from the jetbridge

The Aircraft

The aircraft is set up with 189 standard economy seats in 32 rows of a 3-3 configuration. The seat chosen by Norwegian is the ultra-thin Recaro Leather seat, the same as that on their -800 models. This is a seat Jet2 also use. The effect of using this slim, leather seat is more legroom and a lighter aircraft.

Exit row 16

LED mood lighting is also in use on this aircraft which is used to improve passenger ‘comfort and ambience’. The aircraft offers three extra seats on the front port side compared to some of the 737-800 models. Each seat offers 29-31” of pitch and 17.2” of width. These measurements are nothing major to brag about for Norwegian as they are up to 2 inches smaller than the measurements on the 787. The exit row seats have a much more generous 38” of pitch and are located in rows 15 and 16. I was sat in seat 16A.

Exit row 15

The aircraft is fitted with 2 CFM International LEAP-1B engines. These engines are designed to increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. They are fitted with chevrons, similar to those on the 787, to reduce engine noise.

CFM International LEAP-1B engine

The MAX has two galleys, one at the front and one at the rear and includes three lavatories.

One of the most modern elements of the B737MAX is the cockpit. The flight deck boasts huge screens with higher levels of automation than any other 737 before it.

The flightdeck of EI-FYA

The Flight

After arrival in Edinburgh I was taken on a ramp tour by Norwegian’s ground staff, Swissport. The tour was an amazing way of viewing the new MAX up close and I was really impressed with the way Norwegian have kept the aircraft looking so brand new. The tour took me inside the aircraft, too. I was able to get cabin shots and cockpit shots before heading back to the gate and boarding as a normal passenger.

Still looks brand new

Boarding began once the aircraft had been turned around from its short hop to Oslo during the day. My seat for the flight was 16A, an exit row seat, and I was really impressed with the comfort and legroom offered. Doors shut 15 minutes later and we pushed back, on time, at 17.15. We took off on runway 24R from Edinburgh and I was amazed at the small amount of noise the aircraft produced on the takeoff run. After takeoff from EDI we banked right and began our initial cruise at 33,000ft over the north of Scotland to the Southern tip of Greenland before ascending to 38,000ft for approach into the US and Canada.

Departure from Edinburgh’s 24R

Only after landing could I look at our flightpath for the day. I would have liked to see Norwegian introduce a flight map on the overhead screens.

We were looked after fantastically by the four cabin crew members who went above and beyond to meet our needs throughout the flight. I am really happy I had the opportunity to meet them. A special thank you to Eilidh and Kevin who went above and beyond to make sure we were happy during the flight.

My ticket included a ‘Nice and Tasty Meal’ which was served at 18.30 and consisted of a choice between chicken or beef. I chose the chicken. The meal consisted of a piece of chicken on rice with a peas and sweetcorn side, a small pot of pasta and for dessert, a Belgian chocolate square. I was really impressed with the food I was served and would definitely recommend it. The meal comes with one drink of your choice, too. It will cost you £25 to add this meal to your ticket. Other buy on board meals include sandwiches at $7 and salads at $9.

We landed at Stewart International at 19.40 local time to conclude a flight of 7 hours and 10 minutes.

On final approach into Stewart

So, what exactly does a passenger do for 7 hours? Norwegian aim to provide complimentary wifi on their 737MAX aircraft within a year, but for now, it is non-existent. While the framework for internet connectivity is in place, final preparation needs to be completed. The aircraft provides no IFE apart from a few screens above the seats. On the 737-800 product, seats are fitted with headphone jacks to tune into the audio on the screens but the MAX isn’t equipped with this. This raises the question of the necessity of them. Without Wifi, passengers should download their own entertainment before flying and maybe load up a portable charger, too. The seats aren’t equipped with any AC or USB power ports so a full battery is needed to take you across the Atlantic. Passengers are, also, not given any blankets or pillows for the flight. I, however, didn’t find this a problem as temperature and comfort didn’t were not an issue.

My choice of entertainment was editing, of course.

If you’re looking for a comfortable ride across the Atlantic, then choosing the exit row seat is very important. The extra legroom under the seat in front results in quite a comfortable ride and space to stretch your legs. The legroom offered on a normal seat is, as you might expect, on the small side. With less legroom than the larger 787 models, you are likely to feel the limited space over the 7 hour flight. You can choose your own seat for a price of £25 on the cheapest ‘lowfare’ ticket and I would definitely suggest that. At no extra cost than a normal seat, you can sit in the exit row or front of the aircraft and enjoy much more comfort.

The exit row offers 38″ of pitch. A comfortable option.

We landed at SWF’s gate number 1 and were led through into the first ever airport I have witnessed where you reclaim your baggage before getting through security. Being last off the aircraft meant that we had a slight queue getting out of the airport but nonetheless, were outside 40 minutes after touchdown at 20.40. This is a huge selling point for both Norwegian and Stewart. With so few flights it is almost unlikely you’ll be held up for anymore than 30 minutes after arriving on stand. Until the arrival of Norwegian, Stewart handled only domestic traffic. For this reason, measures have had to be taken to establish a sterile area where international arrivals can be cleared. This requires the erecting of a screen to block access into the landside departures area. You can read more about this in my upcoming article on Stewart Airport.

Baggage reclaim

Norwegian have to be praised for the product they are offering. They have opened up transatlantic travel to people that, before, could never afford it.

How have they done it?

By using modern, efficient, aircraft, they are cutting the fuel costs by up to 14% from the older 737NGs. They mix this with flying into smaller airports where landing fees are a fraction of that of bigger, more popular airports (ie: JFK and EWR). The final money saver is a model that lets passengers choose the products they want to add to their ticket. By not offering complimentary food and drinks, seat selection or hold luggage, passengers have to pay for what they need.

This model means that getting to the East Coast can be as affordable as a train journey from London to Manchester and is opening up the market to people that could, previously, never afford the privilege.

The state of the art B737MAX uses up to 14% less fuel than the older 737NGs

CONCLUSION

By flying on Norwegian’s 737max to the East Coast, you aren’t going to receive a service comparable to other airlines in regards to complimentary amenities. But you also aren’t going to pay anywhere near what you’d pay other airlines. Norwegian offers a no-frills service that is cheap – very cheap, and for this reason they have to be congratulated

I had a very enjoyable flight with Norwegian on the MAX and I am really impressed with the business model they have created, that lets more people than ever before fly transatlantic, and hope to see a lot of you do it in the future.

disclaimer: this trip was provided by Norwegian Air

More Boeing 737 Reviews on LondonSpotter:

July 2017 Delivery Report

In July it was Airbus who made the front pages as they delivered their 100th Airbus A350 aircraft. China Airlines received the aircraft and held a small ceremony at the Toulouse delivery centre. At the end of June, Airbus had 628 firm orders for the aircraft and plan to churn out 10 every month until the end of 2018. They must have been to busy organising the ceremony this month to meet that target as only four other aircraft were delivered. Cathay Pacific, Thai, Singapore and Asiana all added one aircraft to their growing fleets.

China Airlines were one of four airlines who added to their fleet of A350s in July. Photo: Airbus

The A350’s main competitor, the 787, made the headlines in Korea as it was delivered to Korean Air’s base in Seoul. The B787-9, HL8081, was the first Dreamliner delivered to them since April and their 3rd in total. Other airlines to receive the B787 included Norwegian, who topped the tables for most 787 deliveries this month with three, Air India (1), LOT (1), Etihad (2), JAL (1), Saudia (1), KLM (1), Hainan (1) and ANA (1).

Norwegian added three 787s to their fleet. Two have a UK registration and one a Norwegian. Photo by Boeing

The small Spanish long-haul airline who operate weekly flights to South America from Madrid Barajas with three A340-300 aircraft acquired off Gulf Air have taken delivery of a B777-200 aircraft. EC-MIA was originally delivered to Asiana in 2002 and then operated for Privilege Style, a Spanish Charter airline. Other B777 deliveries include single additions to the fleets of Kuwait, China Eastern, PIA and Saudia and a double addition for Air China.

Another airline to put an old aircraft back into service was Wamos Air. The arrival of EC-MQK, a Boeing 747-400, means that the aircraft will once again fly commercially after being returned from lease in April. The B747 was originally delivered to Malaysian in 1998 and has since operated for NasAir, EagleExpress and Saudia. Korean Air also added a 747 to their fleet, a 747-8i.

Wamos Air increased their 747 fleet by one. Photo by Pawel Guraj on airplanephotos.net

S7 received their first A320neo in July while Scoot acquired 23 A320s off of TigerAir after the merger was announced on July 25th. Air India received their first A320neo in a month, taking their total number of NEO aircraft to eight. Lufthansa were another airline who received a NEO aircraft; it was their first since December 2016.

SWISS took delivery of their second CS300 aircraft to add to their fleet of CS100s that are replacing the Avros on their short-haul flights. You can read our exclusive trip report on the CS100 here.

SWISS CS100 cockpit by James Oates. Read our exclusive CS100 flight review on the flight review page.

And yes, I haven’t forgotten about the A380. In July Airbus rolled out one A380 to Emirates.

Next month promises more exciting deliveries and more to talk about. Join the discussion in the comments section below or on social media. Tag your Instagram stories with #londonspottercouk to join the discussion.

Norwegian Get MAXxed and Other June Deliveries

In June, it was Norwegian who stole the show as they received delivery of their first two B737MAX aircraft, EI-FYA and EI-FYB.

EI-FYA and EI-FYB at the Boeing delivery centre. Photo from Boeing

Norwegian are the first European carrier to operate the aircraft and will be using the MAX between Europe and the USA. Norwegian have named their first 737MAX “Sir Freddie Laker.” In 1966, Laker revolutionised air travel by founding Laker Airways and beginning the movement of “no-frills” air travel, a model which has been adopted by most of the successful airline business models today.

“This aircraft allows us to open up new, unserved routes and offer both Americans and Europeans even more affordable transatlantic fares. It will also provide our passengers with a quieter onboard experience, whilst it significantly reduces both fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.”

Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s Chief Executive Officer.

Have Norwegian revolutionised transatlantic travel or will the plan fall through? Get in touch to have your say.

WOW Air took delivery of their first A321neo on June 20th. The aircraft is registered TF-SKY and will operate out of Iceland to the USA and Europe.

EasyJet have taken delivery of two Airbus 320neo aircraft, G-UZHA and G-UZHB. Both aircraft were delivered to London Luton, however G-UZHA has relocated to London Gatwick where it will operate from now on.

Easyjet receiving their first A320neo and their 300th single-aisled aircraft from Airbus. Picture from Airbus

SAS Scandinavian received two more A320neo aircraft, taking there total number to nine. SE-ROC and SE-ROB were the new arrivals.

Finnair took delivery of two new Airbus A350s, while Cathay Pacific received three. Singapore, Thai and Ethiopian added just the one to their fleets.

Finnair continued to add to their fleet of A350s in June. Photo from Finnair.

American had the most 787s delivered in June with three, followed by Air Canada on two and LOT, Etihad, ANA, Saudi, Air Europa and Ethiopian who upped their total number by one.

After Airbus rolled out three A380s in May, June was another disappointing month for them as they delivered none. Emirates, Singapore and Qatar currently have aircraft built and still at Toulouse so look out for them in next months delivery report.

Is there a future for the Airbus A380? Get in touch via the comment section below or social media to have your say.

Other new stories:

Drastic route change for United who have surprised many from partly withdrawing from the UK market. But why?.

A new business class product onboard El Al Israel has made many turn their heads. Its a pretty impressive upheaval of what used to be a very outdated product.

For all of you reading I can reveal that there are some exciting trips coming on LondonSpotter travel blog! Make sure you hit the follow button so you can keep up to date with all the latest trips, news and much more. You can read about all my trips here.

Ryanair Takes Delivery of 450th 737-800

On March 21st, budget airline Ryanair took delivery of their 450th next generation B737-800.

“Ryanair is proud to partner with Boeing and has operated an all-Boeing fleet since 1994. Our current order of 737-800s and the 737-MAX 200 ‘Gamechanger’ will allow us to grow our fleet to 585 aircraft and our passenger numbers to 200 million per annum by 2024, maintaining our position as Europe’s largest, and greenest and cleanest airline”

Ryanair’s Chief Operations Officer, Mick Hickey.

The new B737 Max will hold up to 200 passengers which adds an extra 11 seats from the current B737-800s but most importantly, will provide huge savings on fuel efficiency. Ryanair currently has 100 unfilled orders of the aircraft. The order means that Ryanair will carry 200,000,000 passengers by 2024.

“Ryanair has consistently demonstrated the outstanding economic, reliability and safety capabilities of the Next-Generation 737-800, using this airplane as the foundation to become one of the biggest airlines in the world. To deliver the 450th 737-800 is truly a significant milestone in both companies shared history and we look forward to supporting Ryanair on the next phase of its incredible journey with the introduction of the 737 MAX 200.”

Monty Oliver, vice president, European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Other related news:

  • Norwegian have already unveiled their plans to use the 737 Max on transatlantic routes. The airline have 108 on order.
  • Easyjet are set to receive their first A320NEO in the next few months. They have a total of 130 on order.
  • Asiana have taken delivery of their first A350XWB. This is the first of two that they have on order.

Anything you want covered on my next post? Drop me a message on Instagram and I’ll try fit it in!

Until Next Time Aviators

Photo by Boeing Company

BA Inaugural B777 Economy Review

On March 25th 2017, British Airways began operations to Madrid with a Boeing 777.  I was on the inaugural flight. I was eager to arrive at London Heathrow early enough to spend a good amount of time in British Airways’ Galleries Lounge before departure.

BA’s South Galleries Lounge

Our flight departed from Terminal 5’s B gates so we hopped on the transfer train and arrived within minutes. Our aircraft had been changed the night before from a 777-200 to the 300ER variable which was great news for us as it offered the experience to witness the huge GE90 engines in action. They put on quite a show. The aircraft was G-STBD.

G-STBD seen at her gate before boarding for Madrid

We boarded punctually and took our seats ready for pushback. The Boeing 777-300ER is configured in a four class layout. The newly designed First Cabin takes up rows 1-4 in a 1-2-1 configuration allowing plenty of privacy and new electronic blind windows. BA have received some criticism for their First product with some comparing it to the high end business products used on other airlines. The Club, or business, cabin is unique to BA with its alternating forward and backward seating allowing for a 2-4-2 configuration while still allowing some kind of privacy and a lay flat bed. British Airways’ new Premium Economy or World Traveller cabin is featured with an enhanced seat and a larger personal television. World Traveller features a new slimmer seat, with a hard back. Rows 21-50 are configured in a 3-3-3 economy layout.

The views from the club cabin were fantastic! Our 777 was fitted with GE90 engines which delivered a fantastic sound on takeoff and some amazing pictures during the crossing. The crew onboard were friendly and apart from one crew member, were happy for us to roam through the Club and First cabins taking pictures. It was also very nice to be recognised onboard by one of the crew members themselves!

 

 

The flight offered me the opportunity to experience one of British Airways’ long- haul jets for an affordable price and gave me a good insight into the service BA are offering onboard their 777s.

It is hard to fully complement BA on this product, however. The Club seats may be comfortable and tick boxes for being lie-flat but still come up short of other airlines because of the forward/backward layout. Passengers are faced with the decision to draw the centre blind in order for some privacy or lie awkwardly close to another passengers heads. This is the only drawback of a well organised B777-300 product.

The day wasn’t over yet! Our return leg was operated by one of Iberia’s A340-600s.

Until Next Time!

More Boeing 777 Reviews on LondonSpotter:

Iberia’s A340-600 Flight Review

I always love having the opportunity to fly onboard a long-haul jet on a short-haul route as it gives me a fantastic opportunity to blog about the experience on a bigger plane that I wouldn’t usually be able to afford a seat on.

My trip began in Iberia’s lounge for One World Silver members which overlooks a northern taxiway at MAD. The food was excellent and free WiFi was provided as well as a spectacular view of TAM’s Airbus A350. After eating far too much, I headed to my gate which was, too my surprise, packed!

I was very surprised by the amount of passengers on the flight. By looking at the load sheet I saw that it was almost at it’s 352 passenger capacity. Justification for using such a large aircraft on the route, I suppose.

The aircraft is split between two cabins; Business Plus and Economy. The BP cabin is used on the front 12 rows of the aircraft in a 1-2-1 configuration while the economy cabin covers rows 14-52 in a 2-4-2 configuration. Both the business and economy cabins are equipped with seat-back televisions showing a wide range of films and documentaries in different languages but as this was only a 2.5 hour flight, I was keen not to waste anytime.

My day had been extremely busy as I had been up at 3.30am that morning to catch the bus to LHR for my morning flight out to Madrid. I have to embarrassingly admit that I fell asleep in the middle of the flight for around 25 minutes. What a waste, I thought! I made a small trip to the rear of the aircraft so as to see the whole economy cabin and I was really impressed with the state of the cabin seeing as our bird, EC-JLE,was approaching her 12th birthday! The seat gave generous space and at full recline, 2 windows. What more could an avgeek want?

As with other airlines today, including Iberia’s IAG and Oneworld partner BA, Iberia has ceased to offer a free food service. In economy, you had the option to buy certain sandwiches and meal deals but I restrained myself. It is sad to see this being put in place on many national carriers at the moment and was one of the main reasons Air France stuck out to me. As the flight came to an end, I couldn’t help but wish we had circled for a little longer or even returned to Madrid! An excellent flight on one of the most beautiful aircraft out there and a really special treat for any avgeek wanting to travel on a long-haul jet that is strapped for cash.