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Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

UK
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Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

Has anyone experienced the Omega Travel 'Northern Lights' flights? I wondered what the success rate is - also there is no information on the time the flights depart, etc... The customer reviews on their own web site is pretty non informative. Any feedback appreciated as this is an idea for a Christmas present.

Scotland
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1. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

I've seen these advertised and often wondered the same. In the end, I've always concluded that it was too much to pay a) on the chance that you might see the lights and b) for the limited view you might get from the inside of a plane (I assume there is some swapping of seats to allow all the chance of a window at some point). I think I read on one of their adverts that the success rate was around 1/2, although I'm not very confident I'm recalling that correctly.

I guess if you really want to see the lights, then a trip to Tromso is what you need... though that's obviously much more expensive, and nothing's guaranteed there, either!

All that said, I've not done it, and would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has... or from you if you decide to do it.

Edited: 10:53 am, October 28, 2012
UK
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2. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

Thanks for this Scots_Al. We have seen the Northern lights many times - last month in Greenland and Baffin Island, and previously in Tromso and further north. Your thoughts - and concerns- are much in line with mine - it's just that hubby had been moaning about missing out on more sightings this year as a 'prime' winter for them and I was casting around desperately for Xmas pressy ideas! I think we will hope to see them from where we live in the Highlands this winter - and remember our Arctic viewings with appreciation of how lucky we are.........and I will find another present idea unless there are a astring of glowing recommendations from this forum query! Thanks again.

London
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3. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

We took the tour to see the Northern Lights from Gatwick, which must be a very similar, if slightly longer trip. Omega has been running these trips since 1997, when people wanted to observe the Hale-Bopp comet. They have a good record of success in seeing the Lights- over 80%. However, the astronomer giving the introductory lecture on the aurora was willing only to give the trip a 50-50 chance. I suspect that he always does this, so as not to disappoint. This is a wise move. What you make of this trip depends heavily on your expectations, and we had hoped to see the Lights as we’d seen them on the TV, dramatic and vivid with rippling streams of light. We did see the aurora, but it was much less exciting than our imaginings. This is clearly not the fault of the tour, nor of the Lights themselves, but of the way that TV and other media always show us the most sensational version of any phenomenon. It was a mixed experience. The trip is well organised: we had to meet in the Gatwick Hilton to hear two lectures about the stars and about the aurora. Then we checked in immediately and shortly afterwards boarded the plane, which took off about 9pm. There was very little waiting about, and once on the plane we had a light meal of sandwiches and a scone with tea or coffee. It was as nice as airline food usually is, but welcome all the same. About half an hour before arriving “on station”, the lights are turned off so your eyes can get used to the dark. Once that is done you can see the stars very brightly and seemingly quite close, which is wonderful, but we were very frustrated by the necessary fact that plane windows are so small and thick. Sights at the edge of the window were distorted and although we were advised to carry mirrors and to use binoculars, we didn’t find that they helped much. Besides that, one has to keep swopping seats so that everyone gets a fair chance of seeing. This isn’t very easy in a plane. We were lucky in that we had only two seats occupied in our row, and could in any case lean across each other. But you can’t lie across the lap of a complete stranger and most rows had three seats, which made for a lot of people squeezing about in the aisle at once.That said, we did see the aurora, which looked like a large brightish cloud and to my eyes definitely pale green. It was rather disappointing that there were no flashes or curtain effects or what the commentator called “structures”. The aurora was actually much easier to appreciate from the plane window than the stars were. About the astronomers: the two initial lectures differed greatly. The one about the aurora was quite technical but clear and very informative. The lecture on the stars had plenty of information in it but was almost ruined by the irritating jocular style of the lecturer, who made weak jokes in silly voices and moreover spoke so quickly that it wasn’t easy to understand him. During the flight there are two commentators on the plane, one for each side, and it was a considerable relief to find that the annoying speaker was not one of them. If you know a lot about the stars you would certainly enjoy seeing so many, and so brightly, but despite the best efforts of the astronomers, it wasn’t easy to translate what they were saying into what we could see. As with all trips to see the Northern Lights, the lights themselves are bound to be something of a gamble, so you assess your trip on how much you want to see the other things that are supposedly dependable, and we found the stargazing part of it disappointing. That said, it was as well done as it could be (bar the irritating speaker). The plane, once it is on station, circles so that each side of the plane gets to see everything from every angle, the interior darkness makes the outside clearly visible and the pilot takes advice from daily reports of where the aurora is likely to be strongest. If you don’t pitch your hopes of astral drama too high, it’s not a very expensive trip, you will certainly see stars (and a bit of preliminary study would help a lot) and you have a very decent chance of seeing the aurora.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

I might have read the previous post if there had been some paragraphs in it.

Madrid
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5. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

Thats why I skipped it.

Watford, United...
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6. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

It's actually not a bad review but a bit late for the OP perhaps. I've broken it down into paragraphs....

We took the tour to see the Northern Lights from Gatwick, which must be a very similar, if slightly longer trip. Omega has been running these trips since 1997, when people wanted to observe the Hale-Bopp comet.

They have a good record of success in seeing the Lights- over 80%. However, the astronomer giving the introductory lecture on the aurora was willing only to give the trip a 50-50 chance. I suspect that he always does this, so as not to disappoint. This is a wise move. What you make of this trip depends heavily on your expectations, and we had hoped to see the Lights as we’d seen them on the TV, dramatic and vivid with rippling streams of light. We did see the aurora, but it was much less exciting than our imaginings. This is clearly not the fault of the tour, nor of the Lights themselves, but of the way that TV and other media always show us the most sensational version of any phenomenon. It was a mixed experience.

The trip is well organised: we had to meet in the Gatwick Hilton to hear two lectures about the stars and about the aurora. Then we checked in immediately and shortly afterwards boarded the plane, which took off about 9pm. There was very little waiting about, and once on the plane we had a light meal of sandwiches and a scone with tea or coffee. It was as nice as airline food usually is, but welcome all the same.

About half an hour before arriving “on station”, the lights are turned off so your eyes can get used to the dark. Once that is done you can see the stars very brightly and seemingly quite close, which is wonderful, but we were very frustrated by the necessary fact that plane windows are so small and thick. Sights at the edge of the window were distorted and although we were advised to carry mirrors and to use binoculars, we didn’t find that they helped much. Besides that, one has to keep swopping seats so that everyone gets a fair chance of seeing. This isn’t very easy in a plane. We were lucky in that we had only two seats occupied in our row, and could in any case lean across each other. But you can’t lie across the lap of a complete stranger and most rows had three seats, which made for a lot of people squeezing about in the aisle at once.

That said, we did see the aurora, which looked like a large brightish cloud and to my eyes definitely pale green. It was rather disappointing that there were no flashes or curtain effects or what the commentator called “structures”. The aurora was actually much easier to appreciate from the plane window than the stars were. About the astronomers: the two initial lectures differed greatly. The one about the aurora was quite technical but clear and very informative. The lecture on the stars had plenty of information in it but was almost ruined by the irritating jocular style of the lecturer, who made weak jokes in silly voices and moreover spoke so quickly that it wasn’t easy to understand him. During the flight there are two commentators on the plane, one for each side, and it was a considerable relief to find that the annoying speaker was not one of them.

If you know a lot about the stars you would certainly enjoy seeing so many, and so brightly, but despite the best efforts of the astronomers, it wasn’t easy to translate what they were saying into what we could see. As with all trips to see the Northern Lights, the lights themselves are bound to be something of a gamble, so you assess your trip on how much you want to see the other things that are supposedly dependable, and we found the stargazing part of it disappointing.

That said, it was as well done as it could be (bar the irritating speaker). The plane, once it is on station, circles so that each side of the plane gets to see everything from every angle, the interior darkness makes the outside clearly visible and the pilot takes advice from daily reports of where the aurora is likely to be strongest. If you don’t pitch your hopes of astral drama too high, it’s not a very expensive trip, you will certainly see stars (and a bit of preliminary study would help a lot) and you have a very decent chance of seeing the aurora.

London
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7. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

I was trying to be helpful by giving as full a review as possible while saving space. If someone else had done the same for me before I tried the Omega trip I would have been grateful, rather than making idle criticisms of the structure of the review.

UK
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8. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

I was trying to be helpful by giving as full a review as possible while saving space

=======

Didn't you mean "Iwastryingtobehelpfulbygivingasfullareviewaspossiblewhilesavingspace" ? :-)

Its not as if TA is very cautious with its saving of space is it, look at all the acres of white space here.

I found your review very helpful, thanks, but more so in the "paragraph version" :-)

Oxford, United...
1 post
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9. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

I've been wondering too about these flights to see the Northern Lights, found this forum, read chelseabun's account- very helpful, told me all I wanted to know- then found that the forum seems to have been hijacked by wouldbe literary critics. I don't know which is worse, the plain rude ones or the patronising characters who can't deal with a piece of continuous prose unless it's been broken into little snippets for slow readers. Have you got anything to say about the Northern Lights? or Omega travel? No? Then don't waste our time. Tripadvisor is supposed to be about sharing useful information.

Exeter, New...
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10. Re: Glasgow flights to see Northern lights with Omega Travel co.

Thank you for you review. I m a bit stack for birthday present ideas myself and I m considering booking with Omega holidays. Although still not sure if it is worth £200 each.