These Norwegian Air Passengers Are Getting A Surprise Upgrade To An A380

Filed Under: Norwegian

I’ve written extensively about how Portuguese aircraft charter company Hi Fly has the first ever secondhand A380. Many of us have been curious about which airline would be their first major customer.

Yesterday Hi Fly’s A380 operated a flight on behalf of Thomas Cook Scandinavia, technically making them Hi Fly’s first client. Then earlier I wrote about how it appears that Hi Fly will be operating some flights on behalf of Air Austral between Paris and Reunion in late August and early September.

While Air Austral had been rumored to be considering a Hi Fly A380 lease, my front-runner for this lease was Norwegian… and it looks like that it is indeed the case.

Hi Fly’s A380 will be operating one of Norwegian’s daily Boeing 787-9 flights between London Gatwick and New York JFK between August 3 and August 13, 2018. The following flight will be operated with the A380:

DI7015 London Gatwick to New York JFK departing 5:05PM arriving 8:05PM
DI7016 New York JFK to London Gatwick departing 11:00PM arriving 11:00AM (+1 day)

It’s very possible the lease will be extended beyond that, but as of this moment those are the dates that have been loaded with the aircraft.

If you look at the seatmap, you’ll see that Norwegian Premium customers are in for a huge treat. Norwegian’s top cabin is premium economy, and those passengers seem to be able to select seats in first and business class, both of which feature fully flat beds.

Norwegian’s 787 premium economy

Hi Fly’s A380 first class

Unfortunately it looks like the Norwegian frequencies operated by the A380 are sold out in both directions for the entire period, which is a real shame, since I would have loved to book it.

I also don’t really get how that’s possible, since Norwegian’s 787-9s have 344 seats, while Hi Fly’s A380 has 471 seats. So I’m not sure if they intentionally oversold the flights by 125+ seats each, or what exactly happened here.

Anyone lucky enough to be flying Norwegian between JFK and LGW in the coming days?

  1. “intentionally oversold the flights by 125+ seats each”
    No way they will do that. When there is an aircraft swap leading to change of gauge, the authorized seats will be different than the available seats. Often time, airline does this intentionally to be safe.

  2. They may have swapped the aircraft but the seat inventory has not been switched- thus it’s still appearing as sold out. Or may be they’re just restricting the capacity on the A380 to that of the 787 to permit easier plane swaps.

    Regardless, I’d like to see the faces of those booked in premium economy who find themselves entering one of the SQ suites.

  3. Are you telling us that Singapore gave out Jo Malone products that you see by the bed in the picture you provided? I highly doubt that, especially those sizes. I would like to know though.

  4. Could one of the reasons they are not filling the additional seats have to do with the number of attendants assigned to LGW-JFK flights?

  5. I know it wouldn’t make any sense, but it would be funny if they were to use this on Norwegian’s LGW-SIN route.

  6. How do you know who is allowed to get what seats? A lot of assumptions are being made that suites are going to be given out and that crew are willing to provide the extra services needed to support those premium cabins. Will a full crew compliment really be provided?

  7. I’m booked on DI7015 on the 13th of August. I just went to look at the seat map and it’s showing a 787-9. Disappointed doesn’t begin to describe it…..

  8. Prob blocked off the seats till they can figure out how to make additional revenue by selling seat upgrades to biz or first class seats. Gotta imagine they are gonna charge a fee to select those seats even if the service is just similar to economy or P Econ.

  9. I imagine it would be quite a surreal experience to be lounging in the Poltana Frau upholstered seats and munching on take-out meals served in plastic tupperwear on Norwegian premium. Frankly, it’s a bit dangerous and discordant from a branding and customer expectation perspective but given the availability of wide-body aircraft, I guess there is no choice.

  10. With just 1 aircraft good luck when they have a tech or weather delay as they have no back up A bit like air Belgium And Norwegian will be responsible

  11. DI7016 JFK-LGW seats on sale but as economy and business. Still nice price for SQ suite or biz seat.

  12. I’m on the 5:50am flight from LGW-JFK in the coming week. So disappointed! They keep sending me emails to bid for upgrade. No point I guess.

  13. There seems to be plenty of availability for premium economy for those flights now (I searched on kayak, but other sites probably show it as well). You should book it Lucky, it would make a great review!

  14. Ok, although you can book these flights, it says that ‘seat reservation is not possible on this flight’s, even in premium economy.

  15. You can book the 17.05 flight on the 10th showing the 380….but when you go through to complete booking will not allow you to select seats.

  16. I have the 17h flight on the 22 August and just got a text saying we are now on the HiFly a380.

    seatmap still shows 787-9.

    Sadly we were in economy with bulkhead seats (doubt they will give us Bulkhead on the new flight).

    Hopefully they will update seat maps at some point, but maybe not. considering upgrading (£250 each) but unsure how this will all play out…

    I did a dummy booking for the 17h flight on the 8 Aug and they are indeed still selling premium… though when I got to the seat selection it said “seat selection not available for this flight”.

    Has anyone actually been able to select new seats for flights now operated by HiFly? Call centre is useless of course, didn’t even know what I was talking about…

  17. Alex: for £250 the upgrade is a no brainier, IMO. Cheapest business class ticket you’ll ever buy.

    Loads of availability now lucky, do it!

  18. Sorry Alex I misread the 22nd as the 12th… wait and see if the lease gets extended past the 22nd in that case.

  19. Total price [PREMIUM]
    incl. all taxes and surcharges $2,164.80

    Round trip for both flights operated by Hi-Fly, it doesnt let me select seats though

  20. @James A

    It’s definitely been extended as I’ve been texted by Norwegian confirming!

    Still mulling the upgrade, as it’s my partner and I comes to about £540 total.

  21. Do it Alex! And get to the airport 5 hours before the flight to bag F

    In all seriousness it’s a fantastic deal for SQ business/first but it defends on how affordable it is for you. A380 economy will still be an upgrade over what you were due to get.

  22. HiFly do seem to have some issues getting used to their A380, as the turnaround times currently are quite appalling. I assume this will get better once they have more experience with this beast. For example, last night’s DI7015 into JFK arrived at 12:01 AM, and the return flight DI7016 didn’t leave until 4:39 AM… Currently about two hours underway to LGW, where it’s supposed to arrive at around 3:15 PM, leaving less than two hours before its next flight back to JFK.

    I agree with other comments about how they (HiFly) would need to densify the cabin (less premium seats, more Y) in order to make the A380 truely competitive.

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