Up in the air junior bird man. Remember when flying was as easy peasy as putting your thumb and pointer fingers together to make a mask out of your two hands and then, with mask in place, singing and zooming around the house? Sigh, how I long for those days. Now it is surfing the web for air fares, thinking you found a deal and then pulling out your hair as your dates won’t work. Errrrggggg. With an extended family that we adore deciding they should all be getting married this year, we have been flying back and forth to Italy more than normal. That meant one of us had to handle the insanity that is ticket buying. Thank God, Jack enjoys the hunt and doesn’t cave under the price chase pressure.
This flight back Jack booked us on “low cost” (their website words not mine) Norwegian Air. Compared to our usual flights in premium economy seats, we saved about $1500.
WHAT A BIG LIE! – BECAUSE WE SAVED $1500 we promptly booked a hotel in Rome for four days, first class train tickets to Benevento and ate in great Roman restaurants – What? Jack is reading over my shoulder AGAIN and says the air fare savings is the story. Stick to the story. Beh.
Norwegian Air now flies directly to Rome from Newark – a much easier airport for us to get to. So for a base price of $959 for two premium economy tickets one way, Jack started shopping. Of course the $959 number was only good after we wanted to go. Our tickets form Newark to Rome cost $1293. Getting back next year will cost us the $959. Still pretty cheap. Jack bought the $32 priority boarding privilege. Not bad. Then you add on the airport fees – eleven different fees to be exact. What the hell is Council City Tax (HB) or US APHIS FEE (XA)? Smack the fees on and our price for two premium economy seats was $2535.
The Norwegian Experience —-
Tony and Andrea once again drag our suitcases to the curb and kiss us good-bye. We were there the requisite three hours early and were the only folks at the Norwegian Air counter. The woman who helped us was charming and fun. We dumped our luggage and headed for the included Arts Lounge. This is the “First Class” lounge for a slew of low cost airlines. We discovered that Premium Economy is also considered First Class by Norwegian air. Actually, they only have two classes on a plane – couch and premium. The lounge was incredibly full of furniture and people speaking a babel’s worth of languages. The chairs were comfortable and they had a hot buffet. Did I mention that our flight was leaving after 11:00 PM? Snacks, wines, sparkling wines, beers, hot food and comfortable seats – hmmm next time we should come earlier.
I read our tickets and realized that the flight was operated by Privilege Style. A quick google resulted in our knowing that this was a charter company that offers flights on behalf of other companies. Gulp. Maybe we need to cancel the flight or just walk to Pontelandolfo. The ever tranquil Jack brought me another glass of something alcoholic and said it was an adventure.
We easily got through TSA and went to the appropriate gate. At 11:00 PM I noted there wasn’t any plane at the gate. A glance at the call board didn’t even have a flight listed. I had to restrain my Jersey girl bully and started to get up to find out the story. Suddenly, an announcement was made to the 100 of us sitting at the gate. “Norwegian Flight 7194 was leaving from the other f%&^ing side of the airport – RUN.” No, they didn’t say that but they should have. We all got up and power walked to the other side of the terminal. There this line of pissed off people calmly – NOT – went through the TSA drill for a second time. Our priority boarding fee wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. By the time we got to the right gate they were boarding everyone.
Then we turned left into the plane. Our seat – my God our seats – they were the size and shape of Business Class seats on other airlines. There was a security screen that Jack could raise between our seats so I couldn’t talk to him. The seats reclined flat and bed like. There was tons of leg and wide butt room. Cozy and comfortable. Each of us was given a very Nordic throw to keep us warm. Pillow? Nope. Headphones to watch the video screens? Nope. Cute little bag with earplugs and eye shades? Nope. But hey it was cheap and I carry all that on anyway – well not the pillow. I put on my eyeshades, plugged up my ear and slide the seat down to bed. Ahhhh – what is that I hear – a cocktail cart. Whisk, I was up and had my hand out. Sorry no Scotch. They had wines, beer and sparkling wines. I sipped my Prosecco and went back to sleep mode. About an hour later my nose woke me up sniffing hot food. I vowed since this was a red-eye flight I wasn’t going to eat but the smell – – –
We both had pretty tasty salmon, salads and I don’t remember – oh year a funny messy bunch yummy potato thing. All was served in a cardboard box with plastic cutlery. Remember this is a low-cost carrier. Since my earplugs weren’t compatible with the entertainment system, I popped open my iPad and watched the movie I had downloaded. Actually, I will make sure to always do this. Than, the choice is really mine. After the movie, the mask was back, ears were plugged and the big snooze happened for a few hours.
At 11:30 AM Italy time, we were all woken up to the scent of coffee. Instead of breakfast, we got a cardboard box of a brunch thing – teeny tiny pigeonesq eggs, salad, salami, salad covered in crumbly cheese and mild Nordic cheese. Not the best food – remember this is a low-cost airline. Correction – Jack said the food was good!
Would we fly them again? Hell yeah – the seats went flat and were big. Will I let Jack convince me to drop a bundle on a mini Roman holiday? Hell — maybe.
PS – This is the time to register for 2019 Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo!