Flying Overnight with Kids – should you use a low-cost airline?
Today we welcome to the blog Crystal from Southern Snippets who shares with us her experience using low-cost European carrier Norwegian to fly USA to Europe. Is using a low-cost carrier worth it flying transatlantic overnight?
This post is part of our Flying with kids series – pop over to see all our family airline reviews and flying advice
When we planned our big adventure overseas we began our flight search on Google Flights. We were pretty flexible with dates and even open to which city in the US to fly out from.
We have Southwest points, along with a companion pass, so getting to most major cities would not cost us very much. After some research, it looked like flying Norwegian Airlines out of JFK to London would be the most cost-effective.
The economy seat was $180 but we opted for the low fare + option because it included a bag for each person, seat reservations and a meal, which brought our total to $240 a ticket. So, we finally had a date set to begin our 10-week journey across Europe.
Our plane was scheduled to leave around 11 pm. We thought this would be great, we could run the kids all day in New York, they would be exhausted and then sleep like angels on the plane! But here is what really happened…
What to expect on-board Norwegian
We arrived 2 hours before departure, prepared for an international flight only to learn that our flight was delayed an hour. So, we bought time at one of the restaurants inside the airport. After an hour delay, we finally boarded sometime around midnight.
Boarding was pretty simple and typically organized chaos as we all boarded the 787 Dreamliner. The rows were three sets of three, so we had selected three together and one across the aisle. The flight attendants were all so nice and attentive to the kids. Boarding did not seem to take very long and in no time we were headed across the Atlantic for our six-hour flight!
Getting kids comfortable and sleeping on an overnight flight
After they dimmed the lights, we tried to get the kids comfortable which was a lot harder than I had anticipated. I think they were also fascinated by the screen in front of them with movies and games.
We ended up buying 2 blankets for the kids, hoping to get them a little more comfortable. We were finally able to get the kids adjusted and calm after about an hour or so into the flight, but then all the overhead lights came on.
It was sometime around 2 am and apparently meal time. I remembered our ticket had included a meal, but I never dreamed it would be served at 2 am! The kids had a “kid’s meals” which was spaghetti with bread, chocolate cake and a juice. It was even served in a cute container and designed to be kid-friendly. They also brought the kids their food before serving anyone else in the cabin.
I was served a salad, chicken over potatoes and vegetables (which was surprisingly pretty good) and some sort of chocolate cake for dessert. Jason had the beef with potatoes and he seemed perfectly content.
The meal also included beverages, your choice of either wine or beer. While the meal was quite nice for “airplane food” it was 2 am and made debating with a 6-year-old about why he could not eat the chocolate cake a little more of a challenge.
Related reading: Keeping kids entertained on board with no electronics
Finally, after getting everyone fed and situated once again we were finally able to get a little rest. My big 6-year-old could not get comfortable and wanted to sit in my lap which was how he slept for an hour of the flight and you can guess how I slept.
A few hours later the cabin lights were turned on again. This time for breakfast. Everyone was served a brown paper bag with a prepackaged ham and cheese sandwich with a juice.
It was not the greatest, but it may have been because I was not hungry and just wanted sleep! The flight attendants also came by and offered tea or coffee. Shortly after they collected the trash it was time to land.
If you are planning on staying awake, the meals and service does make the time go by quicker but makes it difficult for anyone wanting to sleep. I think the kids slept maybe 2-3 hours on the plane and of course not the best sleep.
I think I may have dozed off for an hour or so, but not sure I would call it sleep. Deplaning was easy, and all of our bags arrived so that was a plus. I think any overnight flight with kids is going to be a challenge and Norwegian did try to make everything go as smooth as possible. I think my only suggestion would be to leave the 2 am meal out and maybe just serve breakfast.
Norwegian: The verdict
\Overall Norwegian safely got us and our bags from New York to London. It was obviously not a luxurious flight, but we found a good deal, so I can’t really complain. To save a few hundred dollars I would probably do it again and give up one night of sleep. Unless we win the lottery!
About the Writer – Crystal Brown
Crystal is a mom from Tennessee who, along with her husband Jason, decided to take the road less traveled and homeschool the kids for a year to travel. They have currently been to 17 cities over 2 months while traveling through Europe. They wanted the kids to see so much more about history and science than could ever be taught in a textbook. Their family loves to travel and explore new adventures, but the best gift is spending time together and seeing the world through the kid’s eyes!
Thanks to Crystal for sharing her Norwegian experience with us. You can follow more of Crystal’s family adventures here:
Have you had an experience flying long-haul with Norwegian? Or any other budget airlines?
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