Norwegian Airlines have been offering low cost transatlantic flights from Stewart Airport in Newburgh New York since the middle of June. Despite a few set backs the services are up and running to Dublin, Belfast, Shannon and Edinburgh using a mixture of brand new 737 Max and 737 – 800 aircraft. Over the past week the Deal Traveller has tried out both aircraft flying to Edinburgh on the Max and back from Dublin on the older 800 series.
Getting to and from Stewart:
Stewart is located about 60 miles north of Manhattan. Outside of driving there are three ways of getting to and from the airport. 1.) There is a bus service from Port Authority Bus Station which costs $20 each way 2.) Metro North Hudson line between Grand Central and Beacon and a taxi from there. 3.) Metro North Port Jervis Line between Hoboken and Salisbury Mills and a taxi.
The buses leave Manhattan well in advance of flight departures so I opted to take the train to Beacon for my outbound to Edinburgh. This cost $16.50 and took about an hour and forty minutes it was then a $30 taxi ride from Beacon to the airport. (The below number is the local cab firm in Beacon) The view along the Hudson is excellent when taking this route and arriving after the buses meant check in was clear once I got there.
When I arrived back the experience taking the bus was seamless. It left about 30 minutes after the flight landed and got to Manhattan in under 90 minutes. Having already cleared immigration in Dublin arrival was super smooth and probably as good a commute as you can have from any of the NYC area airports.
Stewart is a tiny airport with very little to do or look at. I would not recommend arriving with hours to spare. However on the brightside security moved very quickly and door to gate was probably 15/20 minutes. Pretty cool for an international flight. There is a small cafe and duty free shop but nothing else.
However on arrival this is excellent gate to sidewalk was literally 90 seconds a huge benefit.
My outbound flight to Edinburgh was on the brand new 737-Max. While it was cool to fly on an obviously brand new plane a 737 is still a 737 and there aren’t many differences to report. I chose to book seat 2F based off the original seat plan which was published when the flights went on sale. At that time there was not going to be a row 1 on the right hand side of the cabin. In the meantime they squeezed an extra row in and the lady in front of me looked very comfortable in 1F which had a lot of extra leg room. If row 1 is available it is worth paying th extra. There is no entertainment on board and all food and drinks cost extra.
On the return from Dublin they operated the older 737-800 aircraft as it doesn’t have the range it means they cannot fly with full capacity so I got myself a row of three at the back of the aircraft for the daytime flight the allowed me stretch out a bit and sleep for most of the daytime flight. The captain announced a couple of hours in that we had a very clear view of Greenland and it was great to see and take some photos of for the first time. Unfortunately the ground staff got a little exited about boarding and left everyone wait in the tunnel for over 20 minutes which was unnecessary and very Ryanair like.
Crossing the Atlantic has always been exciting for me. Going to the big airports, travelling on wide bodied planes are part of the experience. While the food, drinks and entertainment in economy on the larger airlines has generally gone downhill over the years, I still find it a bit of an adventure.
What Norwegian are offering kind of takes away from the romance of traveling. Sure this trip cost me under $200 in peak July for a round trip to Europe, absolutely unheard of even a year ago. But unless the savings are similar I don’t think I would use them on a regular basis.
The ability to buy one way tickets is a bonus and a seamless arrival process was great but all in all it was a little disappointing. Bring back the 747….