I am a huge fan of Norwegian because I believe they offer a good service in both their short-haul and long-haul operations. I booked a seat in their premium cabin on a flight from London Gatwick to New York JFK early in 2017. I originally booked a seat on the 17:10pm flight from Gatwick but due to a change in aircraft, I asked to be moved onto the 6am flight which was granted. Here is the review of my experience in Premium Economy service provided by Norwegian.
Norwegian’s contact leading up to my flight was great. They sent reminders that my flight was soon and what was required. Norwegian also informed me of any changes to my booking and this happened on two occasions. The first time Norwegian informed me of a change in my booking was to notify me of a change in aircraft being used for the flight. The situation was quickly resolved and I was rebooked onto the 6am flight on the same day. The second time Norwegian got in touch was to notify me about pre-checks and also that check-in was being opened an hour earlier to deal with this.
Check-in & Security
As part of the premium economy package, you are entitled to fast track check-in which includes two checked bags up to 20KG and 1 cabin bag weighing up to 10KG, access to the No1 Lounge in the South Terminal, fast track at the gate, fast-track boarding and a seat in the premium cabin. I arrived at London Gatwick at 2:30am to ensure I had enough time to access the No1 Lounge but sadly the lounge does not open until 4am. A Norwegian staff member greeted me on arrival and began to ask me pre-check questions before allowing me to check in. There were only two people ahead of me in the premium check-in queue when I arrived and there were approximately 20 people queuing for the economy check-in.
The economy check-in queue was being handled by two check-in attendants and the premium check-in queue was being handled by one. The gentlemen who checked me in was very polite, gave me clear instructions and wished me a pleasant flight.
As I mentioned, the No1 Lounge does not open until 4am meaning I had to wait approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes before the lounge opened. The No1 Lounge in the south terminal offers panoramic runway views, a relaxing and quiet space with a fully stocked bar and a small selection of food. I reviewed my experience in the No1 Lounge and you can read about it here.
The lounge also has monitors to keep you up to date with your flight information. The gate information was shown at 4:40am and the flight was departing from gate 19.
On arrival, there was a queue to access passport check and a member of staff was checking our details before we were allowed to progress any further. After the pre-checks were done, we were sent forward to the boarding pass and passport check where economy and premium economy passengers were separated into different queues. Premium economy passengers were prioritised by the staff. Our flight was due to depart at 6am and we began boarding at 5:20am with premium economy passengers being boarded first.
Cabin & Seat
After being guided to my seat, all premium economy passengers were offered a welcome drink with the choice of apple juice or water.
The seat was a good size, comfortable and came with 55 inches of leg room. You were also given a blanket to use during the flight. The premium cabin has 35 seats based in a 2-3-2 configuration in 5 rows. My seat was 5G and I was situated in the last row of the cabin. The seat comes with a TV monitor and a tray, both are situated in the armrests.
We taxied to the runway at 6:15am and were airborne at 6:20am. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is a fantastic aircraft and take off was so smooth, I did not even realise we had left the ground. Shortly after taking off, the cabin crew made their way round the cabin offering everyone a tea or coffee.
Unfortunately, there was no supply of headphones on the plane and a few people, including myself, went without in-flight entertainment. According to the cabin crew, this was due to the catering company not providing Norwegian with the headphones. The selection of movies was not great but I am sure they could keep you entertained for the duration of the flight.
Food & Beverages
At 7:20am, our breakfast meal was served and we were again offered drinks of our choice.
The cabin crew then came round to collect our rubbish and offered us a choice of drinks. Now that food had been served, the rubbish was collected and the cabin was silent, the cabin lights were turned off and everyone settled into their entertainment or went to sleep. At this point in the flight, there was still 6 hours to go.
I do not sleep well on flights and I began writing this post on the flight. During the flight, I used the monitor to order drinks which are complimentary for premium passengers. This service seemed to take a little time and I was often waiting 5 minutes for my drink to arrive.
Midway through the flight, the cabin lights were turned back on and the cabin crew began serving the next meal.
After our second in-flight meal was served, the cabin settled down again. Cabin crew members only appeared to offer extra drinks and serve customer orders.
We landed at 8:30am, 1 hour before our scheduled arrival. After a 10 minute wait sitting at the edge of the runway waiting for clearance to cross the takeoff runway, we were ready to join our gate and disembark. There was a 15-minute wait at the gate because the airport staff did not start work until 9am and were not willing to start earlier. I said my goodbyes to the cabin crew and began my New York City adventure.
- Great service by the staff
- Modern aircraft
- Comfortable seating
- Very competitive prices compared to other competitors
- No headphones provided on the flight
- Lounge does not open until 4am (would be better if they could open earlier)
- Could provide a better choice of movies
I am a huge fan of Norwegian as I mentioned earlier in the review and I believe what they are currently doing in the transatlantic market is fantastic. Although people may be drawn to the cheap fares of economy with Norwegian, the Premium Economy experience is worth the extra cost.
In the future, I hope to see Norwegian expand on premium economy and bring in a business class cabin. I believe this service will still be cheaper than their competitors and they would begin to acquire more customers from other airlines.
Overall I enjoyed the whole experience. The ticket price was good, the service was fantastic and I am sure Norwegian will only continue to grow.
Disclaimer: The premium economy ticket was purchased using my own money and I am not in partnership with Norwegian. All opinions stated in this review are my own.