routes

Norwegian Airlines head to Denver and Seattle

 

Good news for flyers who want to get to London from Seattle or Denver – on the cheap.

Norwegian Air – which has been rapidly expanding its long-haul, low-budget route network – just announced it will be launching new flights from both Denver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport in September, flying a 787 aircraft on the new routes.

Launch fares – available now – to London from both Denver and Seattle start at $199 one-way (including taxes) in economy and start at $839 one-way (including taxes) in the airline’s premium cabin, which includes sleeper-seats, drinks, meals and extra luggage allowance.

Service from Denver to London launches September 16, with twice-weekly flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, then increases to three times per week, adding Thursdays, beginning November 2.

Service from Seattle to London will launch on September 17, with four flights per week on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays.

Another option for getting to London from Seattle launched last week, with the start of a daily Virgin Atlantic flight between London’s Heathrow Airport and Seattle.

With Seattle and Denver, Norwegian will be offering nine nonstop routes from the United States to London, “more than any American airline,” Norwegian Air notes, and 48 transatlantic flights from 13 U.S. cities (both seasonal and year-round).

Here’s their current map of U.S. destinations and routes.  More are likely to be added.

 

 

Virgin Atlantic lands in Seattle & is welcomed by Sir Richard Branson

Courtesy Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic marked its new service between London Heathrow and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday with an inaugural flight from London to Seattle that featured a live-streamed in-flight performance by up-and-coming UK pop-star Raye and an on-the-ground welcome of the Boeing 787-9 by Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic’s service replaces the flight currently operated by the carrier’s joint partner Delta Air Lines and will increase the annual capacity on the route by the more than 40,000 seats, Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger told Today in the Sky during the flight to Seattle.

“The Seattle market also fits better with the Virgin brand,” said Kreeger, “Seattle is a young, entrepreneurial, innovative, outdoorsy risk-taking kind of city and when you think of the element of the Virgin Atlantic brand and who we attract, it just seems like a great fit.”

At a press conference following the arrival of the flight and the kick-off of several days of in-city celebrations and events, Kreeger noted that the Virgin brand was already well known in Seattle and on the west coast thanks to the airline’s U.S. sister, Virgin America.

Alaska Airlines (Delta’s major competitor in the Seattle market) purchased Virgin America last year for $2.6 billion and announced last week that while Alaska will adopt some of Virgin America’s amenities and some of its cool ‘vibe,’ it will retire the Virgin America name and brand by 2019.

Noting that he thought he’d be polite when asked about that decision, “But I decided not to be,” Branson shared his thoughts on that decision at the post-flight news conference.

“It’s baffling and sad,” said Branson, “When I sat down with Alaska, I genuinely believed that they would treasure the brand, that they would treasure the people, that they would treasure the product and that they knew what they were buying,” he said. “And that the last thing they would do would be to rip the heart out of it, which seems effectively like what they decided to do.”

“It just seems such a waste,” said Branson, “I wonder what it was that Alaska bought and why did they bother?”

Branson also noted that Alaska has to continue on paying royalties on the Virgin America brand under the licensing deal until 2040, “despite what you might have been told.”

The Virgin Atlantic route to Seattle (VS105) departs Heathrow daily at 1:20 p.m. and arrives in Seattle at 3 p.m. and leaves Seattle daily at 5:50 p.m. and arrives the next day in London at 10:50 a.m.

 

The route is being served by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft with 264 seats, including 31 lie-flat “Upper Class” seats, 35 premium economy seats and 198 economy seats.

Photo – Harriet Baskas

 

 

 

China’s Xiamen Air arrives in Seattle

 

Xiamen Airlines inaugural flight linking Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle, 26 September 2016.

(Courtesy Port of Seattle)

On Monday, China’s Xiamen Airlines kicked off its inaugural flight linking Seattle with Shenzhen and Xiamen.

It’s a big deal for the airline, as the route represents their first route to the United States and the first direct route between the US and Shenzhen – one of China’s wealthiest cities.

Here are few more pics from the inaugural day events.

 

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Travel Tidbits: e-cigs, Cuba & mascots

Lucky Stirke smoking

The U.S. Department of Transportation has finalized a rule related to smoking on airplanes and now the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial flights is officially forbidden.

According to DOT: “The final rule applies to all scheduled flights of U.S. and foreign carriers involving transportation in, to, and from the U.S.”

havana

Many U.S. airlines – including Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and United – filed applications this week for regularly scheduled flights to Havana and other airports in Cuba. 110 daily flights will be approved, so stay tuned and start planning your trip now.

Frontier mascot

And, Frontier Airlines is running a contest to pick a school mascot to be featured on one of its new Airbus 320 airplanes.

The winning mascot’s organization will win 20 roundtrip tickets and every time you vote you get entered in a contest to win a free flight.