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British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

London, United...
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British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

Hi all,

You may have noticed that I posted a similar question asking whether I should travel with British Airways or easyJet when travelling to Jersey to see my relatives. Since then, I have been to Jersey and flew with British Airways. It was a morning flight, and we were served breakfast - although there wasn't much quantity to it. The crew were impossibly nice - much nicer than easyJet's in our experience - and we are glad we have flown with them.

Before we visited Jersey, we were considering visiting Los Angeles and the rest of the West Coast of America as a 50th birthday and retirement treat for him with the rest of my family in August 2015. Los Angeles is no doubt the most convenient airport for us to fly into according to our planned itinerary , so please don't suggest any other airport. We have looked at American (too expensive); United (reviews aren't great); Air New Zealand (too expensive and no recline in PE) and finally British Airways and Norwegian Airlines, which both stand out positively to us. Although we cannot gather the sum of how much flights will cost in August 2015 until August or September this year, we have created a 'dummy booking' for the same month and duration this year - and have found Norwegian to be £50 more than British Airways.

We would happily pay £50 more if we were sure we wanted to fly with Norwegian, so price isn't really a problem here. However, when it comes to Premium Economy (the class we would travel in), Norwegian and BA offer the same seat width, but Norwegian offers 8" more seat pitch.

We've heard there are some problems with Norwegian though - they fly from the bustling South Terminal at London Gatwick airport, where British Airways flies from Terminal 5 at London Heathrow which, according to research, is a much better terminal. British Airways also offer the A380, which is a lot newer than the A340 Norwegian are currently offering when their 787-8 Dreamliner faults (which it has been doing recently). British Airways also offer double the baggage allowance that Norwegian do.

I know this sounds like a silly question, but considering how apparent seat pitch is nowadays, would you fly with Norwegian to Los Angeles or with British Airways? Norwegian also seem to offer a bit more seat recline. We are still a bit wary as Norwegian has had problems with their new aircraft in the recent past, and they offer a small baggage allowance - and is the South Terminal that bad?

Please reply,

Harry.

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1. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

I think you're overthinking this a tad. If Norwegian really has the legroom and recline, it would be worth it for such a long flight. You can always book a lounge at Gatwick South if you're worried about the terminal.

BA has had frequent sales though, so I would wait until at least the end of this year if not beginning of 2015 though and compare fares then before deciding.

Bangkok, Thailand
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2. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

Norwegian is trying to run a low-cost operation on international routes, including the ones to the USA. This means that they will not be able to rebook you onto other carriers if they have equipment problems.

Currently they have a very limited set of aircraft that can fly intercontinental routes. This means that passengers may face very long delays if there are problems. Passengers on their first intercontinental route to Bangkok have already suffered from this, having to wait over a day to fly.

I would not book with Norwegian if you cannot afford really long delays. In any case, it is a good idea to buy travel insurance that covers your additional costs if delays happen.

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

Also you will have to pay for drinks and snacks onboard. With their premium cabin you do get 2 meals included. Also they only fly twice per week, Ba fly twice daily

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

I find Norwegian are fine for shorthaul flights but would avoid them for longhaul for the reasons stated in post 2. Also worth noting that you'd make 13k+ Avios with BA, enough for a reward return flight to a number of European destinations or enough for a one-way upgrade to Club World on most BA longhaul flight in Premium Economy.

Dallas, Texas
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5. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

British Airways AB380 a no brainer .

London, United...
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6. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

Thank you for all your replies.

Parklandwalk is probably right that I am over thinking this, haha, but in response to RonaldoC - I must have selected the flights from a different section on their website because it never stated they flew only twice a week. We cannot afford to have a delay as there is quite a tight schedule in terms of driving days etc. I am assuming that if we a flight is cancelled on one specific day, we would have to board a different flight several days later. :$

I also find it quite silly that an airline would charge extra for meals...but then again it is a LCC.

Regarding the Avios pint reward scheme, I've seen it before and it does look quite appealing. Signed up AFTER I took the flight to Jersey, but it probably wouldn't have earned me that many points considering I spent 25 minutes in the air.

Thank you,

Harry.

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7. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

If you look at August 2014 they have 2 flights a week (Wed/Sun). Of course that may change anyway by 2015. If the service takes off (pun intended) they may introduce more. Alternatively they may run less. That's partly why it's a bit premature to compare but yes they are likely to have less flights/week than an old warhorse carrier like BA. How important frequency is to you, only you can tell.

If you fly at all frequently collecting Avios on BA may well swing it as they can be used very easily and effectively for upgrades and the fact that food and drinks are included on BA is definitely a plus. Having said that 46'' seat pitch in Premium is significantly better than BA's WTP IMO.

I wouldn't dismiss Norwegian. They've been doing well and are a much needed kick up the derriere on long haul but it depends partly I think on what your travel habits are generally, whether they are the one to pick. I would certainly wait and compare early '15 when BA are likely to have sale prices and go from there and there should be more reviews of the Norwegian flight experience by then too (not that those are always reliable IME!).

Helsinki, Finland
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8. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

Norwegian is great for short haul. I would never fly with them long haul. Delays, problems with meals, no re-routing, they've had problems pretty much all the time. Their package just is not designed for long haul where all sorts of things do happen. And if the other option is BA, it's really a no-brainer.

Sussex
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9. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

We have booked to fly to LA with Norweigan Air in July 2014 coming back mid Aug. Our flight includes meals and allows us 2x checked baggage max 20kg per pcs. For 5 adults its £3,600 . We found this to be so cheap compared to other airlines and yes its on the Dreamliner which Thomson have been using for the past year. We don't find the south Terminal at Gatwick to be a problem plus it is so much nearer to us than Heathrow which is a pain to get to for us being on the south coast.

Edinburgh, United...
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10. Re: British Airways or Norwegian Air Lines to Los Angeles?

All those things are well and good but the problem is if your plane goes tech and Norwegian has no way of getting you to your destination for several days. In those situations, you are likely much better off with BA. That's not to say that will happen of course, hopefully everything is on schedule for you.