Norwegian 787 Premium In 10 Pictures

Hello from New York! Norwegian has been an incredibly disruptive airline when it comes to both shorthaul and longhaul flying, and there’s no denying that they’ve altered the airfare landscape on transatlantic flights. So I figured it’s about time that I try them.

Yesterday I took Norwegian’s 7hr30min flight from London Gatwick to New York JFK, and wanted to share my initial thoughts in this post, with a full trip report to follow. The total cost of my ticket was $650 one-way, though only $492 of that was actually airfare — the rest was government taxes, including the UK’s high air passenger duty.

I was on what I think is the earliest transatlantic flight there is, as it left London at 6AM and arrived in New York at 9AM.

Norwegian Premium passengers get lounge access at London Gatwick. The No1 Lounge is actually very nice and reminds me of a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, though I hear it gets really crowded during the day (fortunately it wasn’t busy at 4AM).

I believe my flight was in Norwegian’s “new” Premium cabin. A while back they announced that they’d greatly increase the number of premium economy seats they have, but in the process reduced pitch from 55″ to 46.” So I think I had the seats with “just” 46″ of pitch.

The cabin had a total of 56 seats, spread across eight rows in a 2-3-2 configuration (this takes up the entire space between doors one and two on the 787-9).

The seats were comfortable, and were significantly more spacious than most transatlantic premium economy products. The cabin was also only a bit over half full, so I had an empty seat next to me, which was nice.

While the seat doesn’t go anywhere near flat, it has pretty generous recline, and the footrest goes up quite a bit (though annoying the footrest can’t be extended further out, which seems impractical for tall people).

Each passenger received a very comfortable blanket, though there were no pillows.

Headphones were in cute Norwegian branded cases, but were really only cheap earbuds.

Norwegian offers Premium guests two meals on these flights — there was breakfast served after takeoff, and then lunch before landing.

There was no choice for the breakfast, as it included an omelet, a croissant, and some fruit. While the presentation wasn’t great, the omelet tasted good. Though overall the meal quality is definitely more in line with economy than business class (which is an area where airlines differ — some offer economy quality meals in premium economy, while others offer near business class quality meals).

Before landing there were three choices for the meal, including chicken, beef, and salmon. I selected the salmon with pumpkin risotto, which was much better than it looked. This was served with a small salad, a bread roll, and an apple cake.

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary throughout the flight, and could be ordered through the inflight entertainment system. You’d simply pick your selection, and within a few minutes your choice would appear.

If you wanted to eat anything between meals, that you had to pay for, and you had access to the same selection as economy. You’d even pay through the inflight entertainment, as you could swipe your credit card at the bottom of the screen.

The crew was friendly, and to my surprise, British (I know Norwegian is creative in many ways, like being registered in Ireland, and having Thai crews working flights out of Northern Europe).

The inflight entertainment was solid, with about 40 movies, and a similar number of TV shows. Unfortunately there was no wifi, though Norwegian is planning on installing wifi on their 787s soon.

I have to say, all things considered I was really impressed. I think I feel the same way about Norwegian that I feel about Aloft hotels. They’re pretty no frills, but they do really well with the essentials, and I quite like that.

While I wouldn’t want to take Norwegian on an overnight flight, I’d fly them again in a heartbeat on a daytime transatlantic flight, especially one from London to New York, which is short.

What an all around pleasant experience, flying a brand new 787. While I suspect the food is better in premium economy on other airlines, Norwegian offers significantly more legroom and friendly service. No wonder Norwegian is so popular.

If you’ve flown Norwegian Premium, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. It really does look like a great option for a daytime east-west translantic flight. It sounds similar to my VS premium economy flight years ago. That was a ~10hr London-SFO flight, and being daytime was quiet comfortable.

  2. Yeah, nice westbound option… fare is about the same as the surcharges for a BA premium flight. Same cash and save the points. Love the 9AM arrival time.

  3. Now that you have reviewed most First and business class seats you should start reviewing premium economy and comparing them, especially as more and more airlines are installing premium economy.

  4. This seat looks exactly (or similar) to the J seat Egyptair has on their new-ish 737s. I flew on it in September on the MUC-CAI route and I found the seat extremely comfortable. I kinda wish Alaska selected this seat as their new F product. Yes, I get it, it’s not lie flat, it’s still a way more comfy ride compared to the standard domestic F seats all US airlines have atm.

  5. Last week I flew Norwegian from Singapore to London Gatwick in premium economy. 13+ hours made for a long flight, but I had the bulk head seat so there was some extra legroom. The best thing was I paid $89 all-in. Last Spring Norwegian advertised this crazy rate for a couple hours. grabbed it before it disappeared.

    The food was very good for when compared to an economy meal.

    By the way, the leg rest does extend, there’s a separate control on the inside of the arm rest, opposite side where the remote controller is.

  6. I want to say their seat pitch was never 55″ but more in the 48″ range reduced down to 43-45″.

    I know someone over at DY and they have a huge amount of European crew, especially from Hungary, Poland, Czech etc… most live in London. They are a friendly bunch.

    They should offer an upgraded menu for a fee in addition to the complimentary meals.

  7. I flew both their old and new configuration LGW-SIN return a few weeks ago. Good luck getting out of the window seats on the new config if the person in front is reclined. Impossible without disturbing the person in front and next to you.

    When they reduced the pitch they should have also reduced the recline!

    Also I wish the leg rests went just that LITTLE bit higher. Luckily I brought my inflatable footrest which made 15.5hrs on the outbound bearable (2.5hr tech delay on departure)

  8. Flew in Norwegian Premium on the 787-9 in 4D. It was a great choice given the price point (a bit more than double the price of economy but on par with the traditional carrier economy fares). The seat was comfortable and the recline and leg rest with foot support made sleeping an option. The foot support height could be controlled with the bottoms on the side of the seat. I didn’t have a problem with those who reclined in front of me as there was plenty of room. However one behind me had a problem but he was 400 pounds.

  9. I love the on screen ordering. I wish more airlines did that.

    Simpl and easy for everyone

    I also wish more airlines allowed us to more order meals

    I’d definitely try this from East to West

  10. I fly it all the time. It’s excellent. The crews are consistently friendly and the new 787s really make a difference. With a good neck pillow, it’s even OK for an overnight flight (but they’re easy to avoid given the late morning departure from JFK to LGW). They used to use the KAL lounge at JFK T1, which was gruesome, but they’ve switched to Alitalia which I like a bit more. The Rewards programme is also exemplary: there’s no searching for reward seats or upgrade availability as you can just use your points to pay all or part of any fare that you book. It’s quite generous too

  11. I’ve never been more disgusted with an Airline as I have Norwegian.

    Customer Service is absolutely terrible, the flight attendants on my JFK->LGW flight nearly useless (the captain had to hang my jacket for me!)

    On the way back I got stuck in Air Europa’s Dog Sh1t economy for 8 hours with no meal, drinks or anything.. and then they lied to me about my compensation for getting downgraded. I’ll spend the extra $1,000 on Delta’s new Premium Select any day..

  12. Ben,

    Norwegian has a bunch of airlines. The LGW-US flights are operated by Norwegian Air UK, a British airline. Norwegian Air International and Norwegian Long Haul are Irish, Norwegian Air Argentina is (duh) Argentine. Norwegian Air Shuttle is… Norwegian.

  13. I flew Norwegian premium from Rome to LAX (nonstop) last March on a daytime flight. I was very impressed by the value for the money. This was the old premium layout with massive legroom; I was in the first row. The seat was certainly more comfortable than any premium economy seat I have had on other airlines. The main meal was a filet mignon steak (very tender) but the entire meal was served in a cardboard box (I think with plastic cutlery though I can’t remember for sure); the cardboard box made it extremely difficult to cut the steak. But the food was otherwise well above average for premium economy and as Ben observed one can always order additional food from the general menu if hunger strikes. Overall very good value and I would do it again for a daytime flight, no question.

  14. We flew LAX-MAD in October. 1A and 1C. Great service and food actually good. Managed to get some sleep and arrived with no jet lag. Flight was delayed 3 hours so got to use Oneworld lounge. For the money, this can’t be beat.

  15. Can anyone help me out and tell me why Norwegian has so many airlines (like reader Alpha Golf mentioned in the previous comment)

  16. I was considering Norwegian for an NYC trip next January – it came up with some good prices with a hotel in Expedia – and I was a bit antsy about booking them.

    This confirmed my worse fears.

  17. Lucky, given that Norway is a oil producing country but very liberal and most of the southern US states are oil producing but very conservative do most norwegians consider white Republican males as scum and sub human POS as well?

  18. Gatwick being a mostly leisure airport means there’s not many people around at 4am. They start denying PP access to the No 1 Lounge from about 9am right through until 5pm (when most of the US flights have boarded).

    Even if you do get access during the day it’s an absolute zoo. But when it’s not busy, yes, it’s quite a nice lounge.

    Does that mean you didn’t visit The Grain Store?!?

  19. “Can anyone help me out and tell me why Norwegian has so many airlines (like reader Alpha Golf mentioned in the previous comment)”

    For {COUGH} tax and aircraft leasing purposes. It’s all a complex shell game.

  20. I have used both the No. 1 Lounge and The Grain Store at LGW. The Grain Store is by far better and you can always get in and get a seat.

  21. I just flew them for the first time from SIN-Gatwick, it was under 600 dollars for premium and I have to say I was very impressed!

    Got lounge invite to SATS premier, which is used by a few other airlines and it was quite nice, good buffet food options and all kinds of beverages. Also had a pre flight shower!

    I had seat 4A on the original (more spacious ) 787 config. It was a full cabin so with the fairly deep recline, i did have to wake up my neighbour to go bathrooms.

    Agree food was more like economy but found seat rather comfortable and managed to sleep for about 6 hours in the 13 hour flight.

    Service was really good and attentive, again mostly British crew and they offered me free snacks inbetween, when they proactively went through cabin checking if anyone wants anything to drink, i asked for some snacks, didn’t have to pay.

    I would certainly choose Norwegian premium over any European legacy premium economy.

  22. I did Stockholm – Oakland last year and bought an Economy ticket for $250 USD one way and then did the bidding for upgrade before flight. I put it lowest bid of $250 and got it, so for $500 I got premium seat for 11-12 hour flight. Since the seat is angled, it could be more comfortable but overall it was fine. To be honest, if you don’t mind bringing your own food and water, Norwegian economy is way better than most of US carriers. I do London Gatwick – Chicago all the time and on Norwegian the ticket is cheap and you get a 787 Dreamliner with IFE and comfortable Economy seat with pretty good pitch. When I’ve flown United LHR-ORD, it is 2-3x the price and you get 1980s 767 that looks like it is falling apart and old school IFE that doesn’t work half the time.

  23. The Grain Store was good, and had plenty of room, when we arrived at LGW (connecting on DY) a couple of months ago. The No. 1 Lounge was completely full; apparently I needed a reservation?

    Anyway, I realized afterwards that with my PP membership, I should have ordered a full 45 GBP worth of food (me + 2 guests) and taken the extra to go for our DY long haul flight. My wife, toddler son and I just ordered lunch’s worth of food, and were hungry halfway to OAK.

  24. Norwegian’s Standard economy on a new 737 with Boeing Sky Interior was pretty good for a short return hop LGW to Oslo a few years back.

    I was thru LGW twice this week and the queue for No 1 lounge 8am Wednesday was about 40 pax long already. BA lounge was less crowded. Lifts to lounge level appeared not to be working, either, because Gatwick. It has, at least been tarted up a bit since my last trip thru – remodelling, new LED lights, etc , but is still a pretty crowded, badly laid out South Terminal.

  25. Air NZ also offers at-seat ordering of complimentary drinks and snacks on its long-haul flights. It’s something BA might try now it charges for economy drinks and snacks. Took the crew LGW to Marrakesh over half the 3-1/2 hour flight to serve an almost full Econ cabin, complicated by our group of 30 having one person pay for all.

    Order, swipe, wait might speed things up, especially as they only take card or Avios payments.

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