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14 Day Norway Cruise
From Southampton, England To
Norway, Iceland & Scotland
Norwegian Jade

Flight to London, England
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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Left: Area of Gates 150-159 at Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.
Right: Our Norwegian Dreamliner Waiting For Boarding At Gate 157.

If you are only interested in the cruise portion of this trip, then please wait until at least Monday, September 3, 2018. That is the day we board the cruise ship. Until then I'll be posting about our travel to and touring London, England.

We woke up at 6 AM Pacific Time in order to get ready to take a SuperShuttle at 7:20 AM from Anaheim Hills to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The shuttle van arrived right on time. We booked a "shared ride" as the cost was only $85 including tip. This is not much different than what we've paid in the past for an UberX non-shared ride to LAX. The problem with using the lower cost UberX instead of UberXL is you can never be sure what size vehicle they will send. There were 3 of us heading to the airport along with 4 medium size suitecases, 3 backpacks, and some assorted smaller bags such as pocketbooks. Some UberX vehicles can fit 3 people and all that luggage and some can't. But booking any Uber vehicle category higher than UberX will almost definitely be more than booking a shared airport shuttle service. The airport shuttle van is a pretty big van that can usually handle up to 7 people along with quite a bit of luggage.

SuperShuttle seems to calculate pretty accurately what time they need to pick up their passengers to get them to their flights on time. Even though it seemed like picking us up at 7:30 AM for an 11:30 AM flight was a bit early, it wasn't. Due to the rush hour traffic at that hour, it took about an hour to pick up the next set of passengers at a hotel on just the other side of the same city. After picking up the second and only additional set of passengers the van was able to get on the highway and made pretty good time using the car pool lanes.

We arrived at the airport about 9:45 AM. That gave us enough time to check in and stop for some coffee before our flight started boarding at 10:30 AM, an hour before the scheduled departure time. Norwegian Air Shuttle does provide self check-in at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. At a kiosk you can type in your confirmation number and scan in your passport and the kiosk will print out your bag tags and your boarding pass. Norwegian does not at this time provide for LAX departures any way that you can check-in online at home and pre-print your boarding passes. However, doing the self check-in at the kiosk very much expedited the check-in process. We were able to go right to the very short bag drop line instead of the longer full-service check-in line. At the bag drop they just checked to make sure that we had our passports and our boarding passes, made sure each bag did not weight more than 20kg (44 pounds), and took our bags. We were then on our way to the gate!

Unfortunately TSA Pre-Check is not available at this time at the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal. Normally we don't have to take our computers out of our bags, or take off our shoes and belts. There wasn't as huge a crowd departing today at this early hour so we didn't have go deal with the long lines and long wait that we dealt with the last time we flew overseas.

My wife and I really like Norwegian Air Shuttle. You can often fly non-stop from the United States to many locations in Europe for less than $200 per person. This is a super economy fare that does not include any checked bags or any food. For this low fare you can't even pick your seat! But for just another $90 per person you can check one 20kg bag (44 pounds), get 2 meals served during the flight, reserve any availabe seat in Economy Class, and get Group A Priority Boarding. That is still a fare of less than $300 per person to fly non-stop to Europe!

View From My Window Awaiting Departure. Windows on the Boeing Dreamliner Aircraft are 60% larger than most other aircraft which gives a great view out the window. Instead of a shade to block the sun the windows feature an electronic dimmer. You can dim the amount of light coming in the window without reducing the view. You can dim the window to totally opaque if you want to sleep.

A video screen on the back of each seat features a huge number of movies that were just recently in theaters plus episodes from a number of popular TV shows. There is enough video entertainment to never get bored no matter how long the flight! You can also order snacks, drinks, headphones, and even duty-free merchandise from the screen. You just need to swipe a credit card on the screen for payment. You can either leave your tab open for later purchases on the flight or close out your bill after each purchase. If you order drinks or food via the screen, the flight attendants will bring your purchases to you at their first opportunity which usually doesn't take too long.

Just some info about the Boeing Dreamliner including Safety Info.

Some of the great views out those really big windows.

An interesting cloud formation and the cloud shadow on the ground.

I probably should have photographed my meal before I dug into it. It looked a lot more appealing before I opened up everything and spread it out on my seatback table. I liked the food that was served. A free beverage is served along with the first meal including the option of wine or beer.

In addition to the extensive free video library mentioned above, you also have the option to display the flight status or an interactive 3D map of the route of the flight. The display also features extensive information and close-up maps of all Norwegian Airlines destinations.

Left: A turkey sandwich, brownie, and apple juice was served about 90 minutes before our flight was to land. Right: The Boeing Dreamliner appears capable of some very interesting and beautiful cabin lighting.

There seemed to be some miscommunication with the private Estate Car that we had booked from Sutton Airport Cars for 85 GBP from Gatwick Airport directo to our hotel in London. They asked for all of our flight information which we gave to them. Normally when we book a private car service the driver will be waiting for us as we exit the airport holding a sign with our name. We did see a couple of drivers holding signs but neither was ours. Our flight did arrive an hour earlier than scheduled, but we figured the private car service would be aware of this since they had our flight info and would be waiting for us at the earlier time. But, since they weren't there with a sign, we had no idea if they were waiting somewhere else and had no idea where to go to meet them. We tried calling them several times but we only got an answering machine. Eventually about an hour later we did connect with our driver. I don't think they ever checked on the flight status and thus were not aware that our plane arrived an hour early. That was a bit troubling not knowing where our driver was and not being able to contact him. On a separate topic, note that the private Estate Car is a stick shift. I thought this was interesting as I have never seen any type of car-for-hire in the United States that is a stick shift. Manual shift cars in the United States are pretty rare overall other than maybe some sports cars.

Since we arrived at our hotel at about 9 AM, several hours before the official 3 PM check-in time, they did not yet have a clean room ready for us. But, the hotel was extremely accommodating. They said their cleaining staff was just starting to clean the rooms and they would give to use the very first room that gets cleaned that meets our requested room type. They said that would be about 10:30 AM. So, to kill some time, we went next door to Joe & The Juice and had some really good coffee. We then went back to the hotel and waited in the lobby. We didn't have much of a wait before the hotel staff came over to us and let us know they had a room ready for us.

Left: Photo of the entrance of Holiday Inn London - Mayfair. Right: A photo of our room. This is a pretty good size room relative to prior hotels we've stayed at in London. I've never before seen a London hotel room with 2 beds where both beds were at least Queen Size. Most London hotels I've stayed at had just a single twin bed. The room even has a small refrigerator.

I've dashed off this report rather quickly just to have something posted about our trip to London. I may later go back and make some additions or changes to this report. I have not had a chance to do detailed proof reading so I'll probably be doing that later and be making some corrections. It has been a long day so I'll be getting some sleep before doing any further posting or going back to review and modify what I've already posted. But do stay tuned as there probably will be more postings later today or tomorrow!

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