Since my last post on Norwegian airlines, I’ve received two more emails with some really tempting deals. The first email was for expanded fights to Europe (from larger airports, this time around), while the second was from the East Coast to the French Caribbean.
Are any of you going to take advantage of these sales? I am sorely tempted!
Even though there is reason to be worried about flying (Ultra) Low Cost Carriers like Ryan Air and Monarch, particularly with the news of late, there isn’t reason to rule them out altogether. Norwegian is running quite a nice deal for those living on the East Coast who are looking to get to Europe. This flash sale is only open through tonight (Oct 2, 2017) just before midnight (23:59). Flights start at $99 per person, each way, and though the airports you fly from aren’t the bigger ones (Boston/Providence versus Boston Logan, and New York/Newburgh, for example), you can see some pretty amazing cities.
Though a low cost carrier (technically), Norwegian has a very young fleet including many Dreamliners and 737 MAXes with orders for A321LRes placed. Though the 737s flown by Norwegian don’t have premium seats (akin to Southwest), the Dreamliners do have premium seats with additional recline.
For a full breakdown of Norwegian’s fare-structure, head over to their website. One thing to keep in mind is that while the fares show that you can only have one carry on item, you are still permitted one personal item. The combined weight limit varies based on your fare, though.
The simplest part of all of this is the frequent flier program: NorwegianReward. At its essence, it is a cash-back program which makes it very easy to understand. You, naturally, earn more when you book flexible fares versus more restrictive fares, and you have the option of earning points through other avenues as well (hotels, rental cars, even Groupon).
Though it’s unlikely I’ll be taking advantage of the sale this time around, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future offers!
The Boeing 757 is an iconic plane in its own right, though not always as distinguishable to the untrained eye as a 747 or A380. It has been in production from 1981 to 2004, and in service since 1983. In fact, many airlines are holding onto their 757s tightly because of the versatility offered by this plane, in range, passenger capacity, and flight abilities.
While browsing Reddit’s /r/Aviation subreddit, I came across an article about Norwegian looking to Airbus to use the A321neo to take the place of their 757s. While Norwegian is a staunch Boeing supporter and purchasing their new 737-MAX, they recognize that the 737 simply does not have the range that the 757 does, even with the improvements provided by the MAX variants. The A321neo’s Long Range variant, however, does meet this need.
Benjamin from Business Insider goes on to explain that the issue is the size of the engines and the way the original 737 was designed. As I mentioned the other day, he A321neo-LR uses the CFM LEAP-1A engines, while the 737-MAX uses the CFM LEAP-1B engines:
An upgrade to a larger engine will likely involve a redesign of the 737’s landing gear. That’s because the 737 was designed in the 1960s to be powered by Pratt & Whitney’s JT8D engine with a much more compact fan diameter of 49 inches.
This means that whether it decides to modify the 737 or to build a new plane from scratch, it’ll be a move that will likely cost billions.
Also in the Business Insider article, there is a link to Patrick Smith’s Ask the Travel, where he discusses the shortcomings of the 737 from a pilot’s perspective. Most of what is discussed won’t directly affect a passenger, but one excerpt stands out:
Short runway? Stiff headwinds? Full payload? No problem. With 180 passengers on board, the plane can safely depart from a 6,000-foot runway, lifting off at a measly 135 knots (assuming flaps at 15 or 20), climb directly to 39,000 feet, and fly clear across the country. Nothing else can do that.
While the cramped cockpit of the 737 (versus A320, A321, or 757) isn’t something we won’t experience as passengers, one thing we can appreciate is versatility. The 757’s cabin is also roomier than the 737, as the 737 was initially designed as a regional jet.
Like I said, there are many airlines that are holding onto their 757s (Delta still has more than 150 in service) to be able to optimize the ratio of passengers to fuel-costs and maintenance. If the A321neo-LR can fill the void left by aging 757s, it would be a huge win for Airbus.