Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Flight check: Stockholm to London Gatwick on Norwegian Air

Winston Aldworth flies Norwegian Air DY2851 from Stockholm to Gatwick.

Norwegian Air's fleet features portraits of famous Scandinavians on the tail. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image by Alan Wilson
Norwegian Air's fleet features portraits of famous Scandinavians on the tail. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image by Alan Wilson

The plane: B737-800NG - a well-pimped version of the Boeing classic. The cabin seemed to have a little more space at head height. Norwegian Air's fleet features portraits of famous Scandinavians on the tail, ours carried an earnest-looking, old, bald guy with a beard and spectacles. A quick scan of the inflight magazine reveals more pictures of plane tails, and the earnest-beardy look is a common motif among the Scandinavians portrayed. Particularly the men.

Class: Just the one.

Price: $81. That's cheap.

On time?: Other countries set their clocks by Scandinavian reliability.

My seat: 7E. An aisle seat. Not a heap of legroom.

Fellow passengers: A few Brits, but mainly Swedes heading to London. Plus me and a London-based Kiwi pal.

How full: Seemed to be 100 per cent. This is a busy route for an airline that is the third-largest budget carrier in Europe.

Entertainment: There's free WiFi. The inflight magazine features a travel story about Almhult, the hometown of Ikea. The safety instruction card features a picture of the emergency door with flames outside the window - you don't often see safety info on planes that acknowledges the reality of what happens in a crash.

The service: The staff are a mixture of Scandinavians and Brits. A nice young fella from East London brings us food and drink and strikes up a go-nowhere conversation about New Zealand. He's heard it's very nice.

Food and drink: Two cans of fizzy drink cost $6.50. A pretty average BLT costs another $10.50. We were starving.

The toilets: Clean as a Scandinavian whistle.

Luggage: We paid extra to store one big bag (it can be up to 20kg) in the hold and we loaded up more of our kit in the carry-on bags.

The airport experience: At Arlanda, just outside Stockholm, you can vote on a touchscreen to show how clean you think the toilets are. It's Scandinavia, they're immaculate. The city's fast and reliable rail service links to the airport. "But," my mate points out, "it's f***ing expensive."

Would I fly this again?: Yes. This flight came with a great price and compared with the garish horrors of one or two other European budget airlines, it was a pleasure to fly.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 29 Jul 2014 18:03:40 Processing Time: 452ms