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Booked: Long-haul low-cost Norwegian LGW to LAX

After a 14-hour economy cabin flight to Dubai earlier this year, I vowed to stop flying over 8 hours (give or take) in economy cabins. It wasn’t an awful flight by any means, but when you save lots of money (and spend no points) flying low cost carriers on every other flight you take, you like to think that when it gets to the really long flights, you’ll be able to fly in style.

Our rookie travel days, before we were Lattes & Runways.

And that would have remained the plan, were it not for Norwegian’s truly low fares. We’ll be in London in March with no destinations planned thereafter, and in browsing different options we saw Norwegian had sub-$250 one-way fares to Los Angeles. LGW to LAX is an 11-hour flight, long enough that we’d strongly prefer to fly business, but award flights from London carry notoriously high fees, and we didn’t think 50,000+ points and $500+ per person was worth it. Another option would have been to place out of London and into a city with lower fees, but we didn’t think that worth the hassle

Besides the low price, what tipped the scales for this option was that it’s a westbound flight. An 11-hour westbound flight departing at 1PM gets us into LAX at 5PM, ready to fall asleep (after a long day of working on the plane) and wake up early for Disneyland.

We do have concerns. Mostly, in our current life as backpackers we live out of carry-on size backpacks. While these technically should conform with Norwegian’s carry-on rules, when stuffed to capacity they may not. And worse, Norwegian weighs your carry-on and personal item together.

Current backpack load

The way we dealt with this was to pay for a checked bag using our Ritz Visa card. Through our negligence, we haven’t fully used our $300 travel credit this year, so by adding the checked bag online before December 31, it had no marginal cost to us. We purchased the checked bag separately just to make it easier to use the travel credit.

We hate checking bags, not because of the cost but because of the hassle and the risk of loss (especially high when you are living out of your bag). We might not even use the checked bag we purchased, but we might have to make an exception. Arriving at 5PM we’re not going to be doing anything that night anyways, so waiting for our bags won’t be a real delay.

Have you ever flown Norwegian? What did you think?