Norwegian Is Leasing A 747!

Filed Under: Norwegian, Other Airlines

At the moment there are some serious issues with the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines being used on some 787s. This has led to an operational mess for many airlines, especially those that rely on the 787 for longhaul operations.

One of the airlines most impacted by this is Norwegian, given that their longhaul fleet is made up exclusively of 787s, which has meant that many of their planes have been grounded and restricted in terms of the routes they can operate.

As a result, Norwegian is having to lease several planes from other airlines to operate their flights. For example, I know the airline has been leasing a Hi-Fly A340, which they’ve been using to fly between Los Angeles and Paris. This is the same plane I flew between Ponta Delgada and Lisbon last year when I had booked Azores Airlines.

This plane was a former Emirates A340, and while it’s a blast from the past, talk about a huge upgrade for Nowegian passengers. Norwegian’s highest cabin is premium economy, so those passengers were seated in the plane’s (outdated) first and business class cabins. Going from a recliner seat on Norwegian to a flat bed former Emirates first class seat is awesome, eh?

As an aviation geek it looks like Norwegian has an even cooler aircraft lease on the way. Norwegian will be leasing a Wamos Air 747-400 to operate one of their two daily flights between New York JFK and London Gatwick between June 8 and July 23, 2018. Specifically, the following frequency will be operated by the 747:

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

For those of you not familiar with Wamos Air, they’re a Spanish leisure charter airline, and their fleet includes five 747s, all of which used to fly for Malaysia Airlines or Singapore Airlines.

Yes, I’d be about as happy-looking as the guy in the below picture if I ended up in a former Singapore Airlines Raffles SpaceBed when booking Norwegian premium economy.

I also sort of love how Wamos Air describes these seats:

Travelling Business Class with Wamos Air is undoubtedly your best choice. On a par with any great airline’s First Class, its seats convert into a practically horizontal bed and let you rest pleasurably and make transoceanic journeys in the greatest comfort.

Over the course of this charter they’ll be flying two different configurations. Between July 4 and July 9 they’ll be flying the 455 seat version of the 747 (which still has a first class cabin), while on other dates they’ll be flying the 475 seat version (which doesn’t have a first class cabin). Are you ready for the most exciting part? Are you sitting down?

You can assign yourself a former Malaysia Airlines 747 first class seat in the nose of the 747 for the cost of a premium economy ticket.

For example, a one-way flight from New York to London will cost you as little as $615.

That. Is. So. Awesome.

Malaysia-Airlines-747-First-Class

While these cool seat assignments are possible on the dates with the less dense 747, I find it strange that it’s not even possible to select a business class seat on the other dates. For most of the lease period I can only seem to select economy seats located in rows 2-5 when booking premium economy. The seatmap doesn’t seem to show the upper deck business class seats.

I find this strange, since the seats in the 3-3 configuration shown below are simply economy seats in the nose of the plane, which aren’t premium economy at all, unless I’m missing something.

So if you’re an aviation geek and are looking for a blast from the past and a product upgrade, consider a transatlantic flight on Norwegian this summer!

(Featured image courtesy of William Verguet)

Comments

  1. that is pretty cool.

    Might be worth doing a rundown of how all the 787 operators are dealing with the problems. I have a trip on Lot scheduled WAW-ORD. But not until September so I presume things will be fixed by then

  2. I thought Norwegian’s highest cabin is premium cabin, which is comparable to a regional business class seat. It’s a 2-3-2 configuration similar to EK’s 777s. Whoever gets to sit in those first 2 rows of the former EK A340 first class are definitely lucky!!!

  3. Hi Ben

    Big reader of your blog! Congrats! I am scheduled on the first of these DI flights operated by wamos this Friday. Seems like premium is not offered at booking nor for an upgrade (un’ike my inbound on the 787).

    Could it be they decided to fly with a closed upper deck (which would be very un-norwegian from a revenue management perspective)? Or worth heading to airport early and see if anything can be done there?

    Thanks!
    JB

  4. “On a par with any great airline’s First Class, its seats convert into a practically horizontal bed ” LOL I’m sold

  5. I crack up every time I see someone post those “great” Avianca premium fares to South American locations via BOG. Most of the JFK-BOG segments are operated with old Wamos planes and they are frighteningly awful; to the point of you’d have to pay me to fly them, not vice-versa

  6. Actually on the other dates choose economy and you can select row 13+ where the seat map shows 2 – 2 seats ie 4 seats across a 747. No idea whether it would be honored, but certainly a great deal if it where.

  7. Norwegian used a Wamos 747 last summer for their short-haul flights within Europe. I was supposed to fly the very last one from OSL to PRG, though it got swapped out for the usual 737-800 in the end. Passenger reviews weren’t great, though – most people were shocked to board an old, visibly aged widebody with very limited service and no wi-fi. Unless you were an avgeek, the only upside was the unparalleled amount of personal space, as there were only about 180 passengers on a 455-seater jumbo jet 🙂
    I guess it’s a somewhat different story when you actually get to sit up front…

  8. If I were to fly on the long-haul premium economy, and connect to a Europe short-haul without premium, do you know if the 2 bags fly free for the entire trip or do you have to pay for the second leg?

  9. Does anyone know if this includes all of their 787 flights? I’m flying EWR-BCN in about a week. It’s scheduled for a 787, but will it be a HiFly A340?!

  10. @Peter Yeah my thoughts exactly, i know one of the flights is using a 787, since they cant be used on MAD/LHR due engine penalty, and the other one is using a leased 332 from Wamos. I was considering booking via BOG but didnt want to play lotto with AV, so decided to go straight via MDE.

  11. As some others have mentioned, Wamos also has a charter 747 leased to LATAM–this is EC-MDS, which used to fly for NZ as ZK-NBV, their last retired 747. I believe it still has NZ interiors fitted, but won’t be used for the Norwegian charter given its contract to LA.

  12. @ Lucky – I was at LAX the other day looking up my flight on flightaware and found the flight Norwegian is using the Hi Fly plane on. However it showed not as an A340 but as an A330. After looking around it appears to be CS-TFZ, an A330 which is flying the LAX to Paris route on behalf of Norwegian.
    The plane you were talking about (The A340 CS-TQZ) is currently in Australia.

  13. *Very* interested in JB’s experience flying today (Friday).

    I am booking a LON-NYC return next week and the Wamos/Norwegian 747 seat map is tempting me. Might those ABC|HJK 6 seat rows (2-6) be business class seats? They show up as bookable on an economy ticket and that’s transformative for a red eye.

    What’s up with row 10, 20, 24, 28, 29, 39, 40, 49-54 (6 seats only), rows 11-19 (not in seat map), and 26,27 (3 seats only!). I wonder if this is the upper and lower decks are partially merged?

  14. Just booked for June 27th as I needed a cheap flight from London-NYC and this works perfectly. Booked in economy but LowFare+ so I get to choose a seat – planning on going for the nose, anyone have specific knowledge of what are the good seats up there? Currently in 3A but 2A is also available along with K seats in almost every row. I’d appreciate any input and I’ll update with my thoughts once I’ve flown it in a few weeks!

  15. Update after having flown it: a blast from the past indeed:
    Ground norwegian staff in JFK ill equipped to face demand, no online check in, gate area was a mess. I estimate a wait of 60min to place a bag (with flights to AMS, CPH, CDG and ARN at the same time)
    No communication whatsoever woth boarding time 1h after scheduled departure time
    Staff well intentioned but no command of english. No communication from flight deck at any time.
    Not working IFE
    Very very slow boarding. Crew and ground staff were not staffed and ready for a full 747

    I learnt my lesson and DY is dead to me.

    JB

  16. @JB many thanks! You’ve saved me from taking a risk I’d have regretted I’m sure. Though DY on their own metal with their own staff has been pretty decent 3 out of 3. I only ever book when a long layover due to mechanical issues is not too problematic.

  17. Hi,

    I am actually scheduled to fly on the Wamos replacement aircraft from Gatwick to JFK in two weeks time.. needless to say after reading all the reviews about how old the planes really are I am quite terrified.. do you actually think it is safe to fly on such old planes? Surely there is a higher risk of being onboard these aircrafts? I booked Norwegian but found out about this replacement aircraft too late to change my ticket.. I am a nervous flier so this news from Norwegian really didn’t help..

    Thanks!

  18. This might be good news if you are booked in premium (or whatever Norwegian calls its above economy seat) but if you are booked in economy it’s a nightmare. I flew from JFK last Friday (15th June) and had the most uncomfortable flight ever. When I first sat down I assumed the passenger in front of me had reclined their seat but no, that was all the room I was going to get. The foot rest (totally useless because of the lack of leg room) makes it even more uncomfortable. Norwegian and Wamos should be ashamed of themselves. Norwegian for switching from a shiny new Dreamliner with decent(ish) seat pitch to a tatty old 747 and Wamos because I believe that such cramped seating makes it dangerous. I just hope they never have to evacuate the plane in a real emergency. Specifically to Ane, I don’t think the plane is less safe than any other per se. In fact, I think if it’s been flying for 20 years and has been properly maintained, it’s probably safer than a new plane in terms of something failing mid flight. It’s having to evacuate in an emergency that concerns me.

  19. @ Sean
    No you will not get any special treatment. Expect the worst flight of your life (although the Wamos staff are lovely and I felt worse for them). Flew out to JFK on 10th on the 747, 6 hour delay due to aircraft fault. It was rough…

  20. Just landed from my flight. Yeah, it was delayed, but I paid a 4th of the price of other airlines. My seating chart matched the final image. They are indeed economy seats in the nose. Tier 1 seats are 2c,2g,7d,7f,9c,9g, these provide all the leg room. Seats 2a, 2i do not recline due to the curve of the hull going to the nose. Seats 9a, 9i have obstructed leg room. Hope this helped someone.

  21. I was scheduled to fly this week but with all the reports of delays and inconveniences I decided to see if Norwegian would be flexible with changes. Messaged them on Twitter and they offered a free change or full refund due to the fact that it was wetleased. So I got a full refund with no fees – worth a shot if you booked before this announcement and no longer want to fly the Wamos wetlease.

  22. @SNTA

    That sucks! Doesn’t a six hour delay qualify you for EU 261 compensation though?

    –You were flying from an EU airport (IIRC, the UK is subject to these rules until Brexit happens, and it hasn’t yet)
    –This was a Type 3 flight (not within the EU, greater than 3500 km) as LGW-JFK is ~5584 km and out of the EU; your departure was delayed >4 hours and your arrival was presumably delayed >3 hours
    –This was not extraordinary circumstance (though the airline will probably claim it was)

  23. Hi,

    flew on the Wamos replacement aircraft from Gatwick to JFK on Friday, June 29th except..:

    at 10 am I got a message saying my flight (scheduled for 5.05pm) was cancelled. I tried calling their customer service line with no success, you literally have to wait for ever. I found that their Live Chat service is actually much better, you wait around 15 mins before you are connected to an agent who explained what my options were. Unfortunately, the next available flight they could put me on was 2 days later which would have made me miss my friend’s wedding. I was panicking at this point as a new ticket on the day would have cost 1000 pounds. Eventually, the agent said they will open a hot line which will give me more options but they didn’t know when..

    I waited for about an hour before I received a text message saying the hotline is live. I called literally immediately and waited for 1hr 5mins till it got answered. After the agent got my booking details the line got disconnected and he never called me back which i think it is awful. I called the hotline again and this time waited more than 1.5 hrs till they answered.. I got rebooked on a replacement aircraft they said at the exact same time like my original flight..

    Upon arriving at the airport I realized that some people had it worse than me.. The 5.05pm flight from yesterday had to come back an hour after take off as something on the plane caught fire.. So these passengers alongside the 11am passengers from the same day as my flight were being all squeezed in my 5pm flight which got cancelled for us if that makes any sense.

    Anyways, very off from Norwegian.. It was the first time I booked them and I don’t think I will risk it again. Wamos aircraft was as everyone described it – old and in bad shape but at least we got to NY in time (I had lost hope earlier in the day).

    The flight landed 1hr later than my original flight. Am I still entitled to compensation if my flight was cancelled but then re-booked? I found the following information on their website very confusing:

    “Cancelled flight”

    If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to the rights listed under ‘What you’re entitled to’. You are not entitled to compensation if:

    – you’re informed of the cancellation at least 2 weeks before the scheduled departure time; or
    – you’re informed of the cancellation between 2 weeks and 7 days before the scheduled departure time and you’re offered a rebooking, allowing you to depart no more than 2 hours before the scheduled departure time and reach your final destination less than 4 hours after the scheduled arrival time; or
    – you’re informed of the cancellation less than 7 days before the scheduled departure time and are you’re offered a rebooking, allowing you to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled departure time and to reach your final destination less than 2 hours after the scheduled arrival time.

    “Right to compensation”

    Compensation will not be payable if the cause for the delay or cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. This may include, but may not be limited to, weather conditions affecting both the scheduled flight and earlier departures, strike action and other work conflict, air traffic control, unexpected illness of airline crew and other unforeseen circumstances that represent a safety hazard beyond our control.

    If you’re involuntarily denied boarding, or your flight is cancelled or delayed by 3 hours or more on arrival due to reasons within our control, you’ll be entitled to the following compensation:

    €250 for flights of 1500 km or less; or
    €400 for flights within Europe of more than 1500 km, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3,500 km; or
    €600 for flights of 3500 km or more.
    The compensation set out above will be reduced by 50% if we’re able to offer you rebooking on an alternative flight and the arrival time of that flight does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight booked:

    by 2 hours for flights of 1500 km or less; or
    by 3 hours for flights within Europe of more than 1500 km, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km; or
    by 4 hours for flights of 3500 km or more.

  24. @Ane

    You mentioned your flight was canceled, but then they rebooked you on a flight that ultimately left at the same time as your original flight? (As if they “uncanceled” the canceled flight?) Sorry, just trying to understand what you wrote.

    It sounds like they:
    1. Canceled less than 7 days, as they notified you the same day
    2. But then rebooked you
    3. And you departed and arrived around the expected times, respectively

    Is that correct? If so, it seems like you might not be entitled to compensation. :/

    Also to clarify, was the plane absolutely awful? I’ve read some reviews saying the plane has:
    a. Cramped Seats
    b. Smells like pee
    c. Clueless Crew

    I’m thinking of canceling and booking with another carrier. Lol.

  25. @BL

    Sorry for the confusing explanation from my part but you got it right! They ultimately put me on my original flight.

    I don’t understand why if they cancel less than 7 days (same day in my case) your rights for compensation drop. Basically, I find that the clauses in ‘Cancelled Flights’ and ‘Right to Compensation’ overlap. My case applies to both the final clause in ‘Canceled Flights’ which would mean no compensation but also to the 50% compensation clause of ‘Right to Compensation’. I ended up not going to work that day hanging on the phone all day so definitely feel there should be some compensation. I will try and let you know.

    Regarding the aircraft:

    Expect an old aircraft with cramped seats and no entertainment.
    I didn’t find that the toilets or any other areas smelled like pee.
    The crew was nice and helpful. The benefit is that everyone gets food and drinks! I asked for a couple more drinks later in the flight after dinner and it was no problem!

    I had read so much about Wamos Air and was prepared for the worst. But it was such a quick flight, a little over 6hrs, and it was so cheap that ultimately I think it was worth it. I wouldn’t go for it if I had the choice but for me it wasn’t the worst thing either..

    Good luck!

  26. @Ane

    Wamos: I came across reviews like this (https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1-d10816891-r593217226-Wamos_Air-World.html) which gave me pause. This is also where I was getting the “pee smell” idea from. I sure hope it’s not like that!

    But you’re saying they served food [to everyone]? That’s intriguing, because that’s usually something one must specially order and pay for ahead of time. It’s Norwegian after all. Maybe Norwegian’s trying to placate frustrated customers.

    Flight: Your experience sounds downright confusing and aggravating. So sorry you and everyone on your flight had to go through that. One of the oddest bits is that the flight was canceled but then essentially reinstated? Meaning, you were eventually placed on a flight which ultimately departed at the originally scheduled time.

    It definitely sucks your day was disrupted. Since it’s not clear whether you’re entitled compensation, you could try writing to them regardless. There should be plenty of resources online, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_Compensation_Regulation_261/2004#Cancellation (Assuming Wikipedia is accurate)

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