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Norse Atlantic launches Cape Town flights from Gatwick – but drops Caribbean routes

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Norse Atlantic has launched a new route from London Gatwick to Cape Town.

Flights will start on 28th October and operate three days per week, leaving London on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

This is the second new route for Norse in two months, following the announcement of Gatwick to Las Vegas flights last month. Las Vegas will launch on 12th September.

Norse Atlantic launches Gatwick to Las Vegas flights

What is intriguing is that the return flight will be during the day.

The outbound leaves Gatwick at 8pm, landing in Cape Town at 9.30am. The return leaves at 11.45am, landing in London at 9.35pm.

Whilst this is the logical thing to do, British Airways leaves its aircraft on the ground for 9-10 hours in Cape Town. Despite the high cost of doing this (aircraft are expensive toys to have sitting around and not earning) it seems that the high paying business traveller market prefers it.

As Norse has no business class, it is potentially taking a gamble on its passengers preferring a day return flight rather than an overnight one where they will struggle to sleep. This model seems to work ok for Virgin Atlantic who also fly straight back.

There is also no overnight curfew at Gatwick, meaning that the aircraft could still operate if the departure from Cape Town was delayed by a couple of hours.

As with all Norse flights, you get a modern Boeing 787 aircraft and a two class cabin – economy and premium economy. The airline inherited Norwegian’s long haul fleet when the latter moved to being a purely short haul airline.

We rate Norse Premium highly. It has, by a huge margin, the most personal space of any competing premium economy seat. You can also see how Norse Atlantic’s premium economy compares to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic here.

Economy is, well, economy. The only problem is that Norse charges for literally everything, including meals, so the headline price (£499 return in this case, and £1,199 for Premium) is a long way from what you will end up spending.

You can read our review of flying Premium on Norse Atlantic from Gatwick to New York here.

PS. In the same week as announcing Cape Town, Norse Atlantic has quietly dropped its two Caribbean routes. Flights from Gatwick to Barbados and Montego Bay have been removed from sale.

Comments (53)

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  • Aston100 says:

    How bad is the weather in SA during northern summer?
    Like too bad to enjoy Cape Town and a Safari in Kruger?

    • signol says:

      We went in August a few years ago, just before the pandemic. Cape was high teens, early 20s, dry and sunny. Cooler in the evening.

    • Gordon says:

      Just a heads up, we booked Kenya and Uganda for August, (High season) and the NP fees have all increased, High season they have doubled in price to $200 for Masai Mara NP & Amboseli NP $100. Not sure about SA!

    • Thegasman says:

      Better to head to KwaZulu-Natal in southern hemisphere winter. Drakensburg mountains are stunning for hiking, historical sites like Isandlwana & Rorke’s Drift, lovely beaches around Umhlangha & some great game reserves that can rival Kruger for wildlife. The Cape can be very hit & miss at that time of year in the same way a British summer can.

    • Andrew says:

      Winter in Kruger can be good because it’s drier there’s less foliage/grass. This means animals congregate ant water holes and they’re easier to spot. But it can be very cold at night. Luckily day temps rise nicely, especially further north.

  • Solo says:

    Any idea when these are going on sale? Be interesting to see if fares reduce on BA/VS

  • ADS says:

    “The only problem is that Norse charges for literally everything, including meals, so the headline price (£499 return in this case, and £1,199 for Premium) is a long way from what you will end up spending”

    looking at o/b 28th Oct and i/b a week later

    headline fare £497
    carry on + standard hold bag £193
    one meal on each flight £48
    Total £737

    Qatar selling the same dates for £609 from LGW or £636 from LHR

    • CamFlyer says:

      And how much longer does it take to fly LON-DOH-CPT as compared to LON-CPT nonstop? That pricing difference looks fair.

      • Rob says:

        South Africa is one of the places where I’d put a premium on flying direct (if in Business) since on BA its overnight both ways and no real time difference, so it’s so easy. Hanging around in Doha at 3am puts a big damper on it.

        In economy of course you might be happy to stretch your legs ….

        • bernard says:

          Having flown the route for years, the late morning day flights are the way to go.
          Sleeping on BA with its club sheep gaps in the middle of the seat, slooooow meal service, lack of drinks, and then gossiping loud crew, slamming and opening galley doors all night long, the sleep quality is low.
          Norse premium on a day flight probably way better use of $$$ then BA club or premium pleb.

          • Bagoly says:

            Agree with the logic of Business overnight and Norse PE for daytime.
            Same as TATL.

      • ADS says:

        other thing to consider is that if something goes wrong with your Norse flight, your best outcome is probably the next Norse flight in a couple of days time

        whilst QR for example has multiple daily LON-DOH flights and two A350s every day from DOH to CPT

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Who needs a meal on an 8pm night flight? Eat on the terminal with a couple drinks and sleep as soon as it’s airborne.

      The way back breakfast in terminal and bring buy a sandwich or salad while you might want a hot meal I bet paying £24 would be a massive disappointment tbh.

  • Norfolk&Chance says:

    London to cape town has been ripe for some competition for ages. Didn’t norwegian try it for a bit?

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