Flight Review – Norwegian Premium, Fort Lauderdale to London GatwickBack to Forum
I have just completed my first ever flight with Norwegian Airlines which was a long haul from Fort Lauderdale to London Gatwick in their Premium Cabin. I have decided to do a review as there was a distinct gap between my expectations and the reality.
BOOKING – I booked this flight over 4 months ago. The fare was £473 one way in Premium which did come with restrictions. I noticed that the unrestricted fare was only £200 more which could have been useful since we subsequently discovered that Orlando may have been more suitable for our travel plans. There was a problem with the site confirming the booking which entailed a few webchats to resolve. The problem came to light when the flight documents failed to come through and it later transpired that I had misspelt my name somewhere in the process.
CHECK IN – Norwegian use Terminal 3 (FLL is a 4 terminal airport). There was a separate queue at FLL for Premium passengers and we were finished within 10 minutes. The Norwegian desks are not far from the security lanes.
AIRPORT – You do not get any fasttrack or TSA Pre at FLL but the queues were not long and we would have been through quicker had there not been a hold up with a girl in front of us. Our flight departed from the E pier which was not far away. There are no lounge facilities in this terminal not even Priority Pass and the pier was busy. It also only had one establishment for eating and drinking which meant we had to queue for a seat. This is worth bearing in mind if flying from FLL. Boarding was held up for 15 or 20 minutes due to some issue with boarding passengers with wheel chairs. I did notice that FLL airport employees were quite a grumpy lot which stood out in contrast to the Orlando airport employees we had experienced earlier in the day.
ON BOARD – My wife and I were in seats 3A & 3C. The Premium seat is basically a Premium Economy seat with about 46″ leg room. My experience is that this leg room is the sweet point for premium seats. Anything more is basically a waste of space whilst the more standard 38″ seat pitch makes it difficult to get out of your seat if the seat in front is reclined. Hopefully one day, all premium economy seats will be around this mark.
However, the seat itself is anything but sweet. I found it very uncomfortable due to the lack of padding in the seat. This meant you could feel a bar in the seat across your back. I am tall and need the headrest raised but it was not possible to raise it high enough without it digging into my back. The seats themselves did look somewhat shallow in height in any case. Altogether this meant the flight got off to a poor start.
IN FLIGHT – We departed 15 mins late. Norwegian provide a blanket but no pillow. I had to use the blanket to try and compensate for the lack of comfort in the seat but what I really needed was a pillow for my back. Seat recline is reasonable and the leg rest is decent as well but its operation was not intuitive. The TV screens slide out of your seat like a tray table. I thought the TV screen itself was excellent and was noticeably better than the BA club world screen (which I had experienced on the outbound flight to the extent of watching the same film for direct comparison). The choice of films was small compared to BA though.
We were served dinner about an hour after take off. Again this showed up an issue with the seat in that the tray table was very shallow i.e. it would only lie flat if you have thin thighs which I don’t. The meal itself was served in an unusual format, a long oblong cardboard box with plastic cutlery. The food itself was unmemorable though.
I am a poor sleeper on overnight flights but I attempted a couple of hours rest but this is where a pillow would have helped.
The cabin crew were OK overall but they feel a little distant in their interaction with passengers.
OVERALL – I was extremely disappointed with the seat itself and therefore I will not fly with them again if I can avoid it. This is a shame because the fares are attractive and they are expanding into areas suitable for my itineraries. For a long haul flight, the first priority has to be the physical comfort of the seat and in this respect Norwegian failed big time.12 Aug 2018
Thanks for the review.
I guess we get what we pay for. Sounds like a decent alternative to WTP given the extra space. The food sounds poor but probably edible? If you know to bring your own pillow, the extra 8 inches of legroom over WTP would be the clincher for me. I’m also tall (195cm).14 Aug 2018
You are taller than me. I completely agree that the extra 8 inches and cheaper fares are tempting but you do need to take a pillow and extra padding for the seat back. The food was Ok, just not memorable in any way.14 Aug 2018
It’s worth noting that if flying LGW-JFK with Norwegian in the coming days (on one of the twice daily flights) you will get to sample the A380.
Premium economy paseengers will be seated in business class.14 Aug 2018
I flew Norwegian from LAX to CDG a couple years ago in premium. I had access to the One World Lounge and it is quite a large place with lots of cold and warm foods, beverages – you can make your own smoothie – and even Australian Sunday newspapers/magazines. The lounge at CDG was not that nice, only offering cold foods/sandwiches in a much smaller location (that’ s the round terminal one which must be 50 years old by now and still smells of urine and tobacco).
Anyhow, there is a lot of leg room in premium but the seat in front of you reclines to the point that you have to be an acrobat to exert yourself out of yours.
Food is average and comes in small portions. So is the TV programme unless you want to learn how to cook reindeer meat or make Swedish meatballs. There might also be some quirky Norwegian detective series on. Bring your own headphones because the ones provided are of poor quality.
Overall, the flight is quite fast, flying at higher altitude and arriving most often than not early. Biggest drawback is baggage extraction at either CDG or LAX terminals. It is extremely slow and this is where you waste most the time you have gained at much higher altitudes.
The aircraft itself is very quiet, comfortable with self-dimming light and windows.
Cabin crew is young, shy or quiet and wears the most silly uniforms I have seen in a long time.
I will be flying them again next month, this time open-jaw into LGW and out of CDG from the West Coast. I have not been to LGW in 40 years so I do expect a bit of a mess there and hopefully will be able to make a safe Brexit to France where the cuisine will definitely be a lot better.
I will also be flying Ryanair from STN.16 Aug 2018
I have not been to LGW in 40 years ……. and hopefully will be able to make a safe Brexit to France where the cuisine will definitely be a lot better.
The myth of the superiority of French food has been well and truly blown out of the water.
1 user thanked author for this post.17 Aug 2018
I flew Norwegian from LAX to CDG a couple years ago in premium. I had access to the One World Lounge and it is quite a large place with lots of cold and warm foods, beverages – you can make your own smoothie – and even Australian Sunday newspapers/magazines.
How on earth did you have access to the Oneworld lounge in LA when you weren’t flying Oneworld?17 Aug 2018
JJlasne, flight altitude is not decided by the airlines or captain, there are international rules and fixed altitudes to follow. Odd thousands east to west and even thousands west to east. However an aircraft can submit a flight plan indicating altitude, all long haul will go to higher altitude when weight allows (after burning some fuels).17 Aug 2018
I’m bringing this thread back rather than start a new thread.
Last month, my wife and I did a return trip from Gatwick to Austin. We ended up on Norwegian despite our experience documented here since we struggled to find any reasonable premium fares once we started searching around May onwards. In the end I realised that Norwegian’s Premium Flex fare was only £1400 return which meant we could cancel or change our flights at no cost. We booked these tickets at the beginning of June and in the end went with our original booking.
I won’t do a full review here as many of the issues I raised last year are still here today. I will note the following though.
1. Unlike other airports, Norwegian give Premium passengers fasttrack and access to a lounge at Gatwick (MyLounge). Since our flight departed at 1030, we decided to have breakfast in the lounge before the flight. Big mistake, the lounge is awful, the food was rubbish and a waste of time.
2. This time, we remembered to take a cushion along and it made a considerable difference. It didn’t fully resolve the seat height issue but at least this time I was a lot more comfortable in the seat.
3. Flight was on time both ways which meant we arrived in Austin at the same time as the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt. Since Austin only has 3 transatlantic flights a day, immigration is small and struggled to handle the numbers which was not helped by a broken baggage claim belt.
By taking a cushion along (which the airline should be providing themselves) I would now give Norwegian more consideration in future. The unrestricted premium fares are a decent price and give you added flexibility for transatlantic travel.15 Aug 2019
Just to add @Bath_VIP for clarity the fast track is only where available and the lounge access is only when a Premium Flex fare (like yours) has been purchased. The discounted Premium fares do not qualify.
I’d be inclined to agree with your comments about MyLounge. The main No1 Traveller lounge also seems to be suffering similarly. Hopefully they can maintain standards at the Club Rooms where available.15 Aug 2019