Norwegian has hired the Hi Fly A380 again for their lucrative Gatwick to JFK route, replacing a Boeing 787 Dreamliner which normally operates this service.
What are the details?
Norwegian has given their old friends at Hi Fly a call to book their famous A380 aircraft over the weekend, replacing one of their Boeing 787s that normally flies the route.
Long-time readers will know that Norwegian is no stranger to hiring the Hi Fly A380, using it extensively on the same route last year when many of their 787’s in their fleet were grounded due to engine issues. It is not known at this time if there is a similar problem with the aircraft, but only that the A380 has been used on this service on the 18th of August.
A Norwegian spokesperson said to Simple Flying,
“We had reduced 787 Dreamliner availability yesterday and hired a Hi-Fly A380 to operate flight DI7017 from London Gatwick to New York JFK on 18 August. We take great pride in ensuring our customers’ journeys remain unaffected and the A380 offered those passengers a high-quality experience.”
Hi Fly is a wet-leasing airline. What this means is that they don’t just rent out aircraft for other airlines to use (as well as companies and private organizations) but they actually provide the pilots, fuel, in-flight meals, entertainment and even an aviation certificate. Essentially, you or I could hire Hi Fly tomorrow and start up a new airline overnight. They are one of few companies in the world to offer this and the only one in the world to offer an entire A380 for wet-lease.
And it is that last fact that makes some passengers incredibly excited…
What makes the Hi Fly A380 so special?
The A380 that Hi Fly operates, tail number 9H-MIP, is a 10-year-old ex-Singapore Airlines plane. It has a modern fit-out, with three classes across the two decks.
For Norwegian passengers who have bought a standard business class ticket, they will find themselves upgraded to a lie-flat business class seat only found on certain high-end Middle Eastern and Asian carriers. Whilst the soft product might not match Singapore Airlines (such as food and entertainment), many passengers will appreciate the difference.
But there are a few passengers who are about to be very lucky. The aircraft actually has several first-class private suites that made its previous role for the south-east Asian airline incredibly sought after. These are fully enclosed spaces that give you essentially your own cabin in the sky.
Unfortunately, it is a day flight so it’s unlikely they will really be able to take advantage of the lie-flat beds but perhaps if you have nothing else to do you onboard can become an amateur nap enthusiast.
For those in the economy cabin on the lower deck, there will be plenty more room to lay about as the aircraft can carry an extra 250 or so passengers. Whilst it is completely possible Norwegian will offer more fares at a discount (as the aircraft is going to New York anyway they might as well fill it up) it is unlikely at this last-minute stage.
What do you think? Have you flown on the Hi Fly A380?