Norwegian offers a compelling premium product for the price point. My flight from London Gatwick to Los Angeles in Premium Class represented a good first experience with Norwegian Air.
After taking the Gatwick Express from London Victoria Station to Gatwick Airport, I quickly found a deserted check-in area for my flight to the USA. Norwegian does not offer online check-in for flights to the USA.
Boarding pass in hand, a silver stick on it granted me access to the priority security lane. It took just two minutes and none of my bags were flagged (I know better now – all liquids must be taken out of the bag).
After spending some time at the No1 Lounge (South), I headed to the gate early so that I could be among the first to board. Boarding commenced 40 minutes prior to takeoff.
Norwegian Air Shuttle 7095
London (LGW) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Friday, September 21
Distance: 5,480 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 5D (Premium Class)
I was first onboard and directed to left to the Premium Cabin.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class Seating
The Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class cabin features 56 recliner seats in a 2-3-2 format (eight rows of seven across seating). That’s a fairly high density for the aft cabin of a Dreamliner, but legroom is quite generous at 46 inches. Seats adjustments are controlled by a pair of buttons: one to recline the seat and one to raise the legrest. The footrest can be extended manually by your foot or hand.
I only have Lufthansa compare it to, but found this seat much more comfortable. In particular, I appreciated the legrest as opposed to a footrest that lowers from the seat in front. I also appreciated the excellent blanket on the seat, which was business class quality. No pillows were offered.
This is not a seat for sleeping. I tried to take a little nap, but failed. Thankfully, this was a day flight for me and the seat was comfortable for working. Flying the other way, however, I think this seat is much closer to an economy class experience than a business class experience.
An in-flight-entertainment (IFE) monitor flips up from the center console while a power port is available in the console near the floor.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Prior to takeoff, FAs offered complimentary headsets to each Premium Class passenger.
The IFE system is quite easy to use and exclusively touch-screen. I found a number of recent Hollywood movies available as well as some beloved (and not so beloved classics). All told, there were over 50 movies available. TV shows and games were also available, along with a moving flight map and duty free shopping.
Most intuitive, however was the ability to order food and drink from your IFE monitor, which I will discuss below.
Norwegian does not offer wi-fi onboard its intercontinental flights, which is a big drawback to flying Norwegian in my book. But I know it is a non-issue for many of you.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class Dining
Meal service is buy-on-board on Norwegian Airlines, but Premium Class passengers receive two meals onboard. Shortly after takeoff, a hot meal was offered. Choices included beef, turkey, or risotto. No menus or further description were provided. Norwegian could have at least included a description of the three meal choices on the IFE.
I chose beef and received a box that looked like a business class meal on longer SAS flights within Europe. Inside was a main course consisting of beef sirloin, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, and cooked tomato. Also in the box was a very tasty salad with bleu cheese, pumpkin seeds, onions, and arugula as well as cheesecake drizzled in strawberry sauce. Hot bread was also offered.
In all honesty, this was a very nice meal. Had it been nicely plated, it could have passed for a business class meal. It wasn’t enough though…I was still hungry afterwards.
I was under the impression that Premium Class passengers could order as many snacks as they wanted during the flight, but I can see where that might get out of hand and the snacks were all for purchase only. While I held off, I was quite hungry by the time the second meal was served 90 minutes before landing.
That meal included slicked chicken (or maybe turkey?) on a bed of salad with Cesar dressing. Also in the box was some butter, cheese, and a chocolate bar. Another bread roll was offered, though this one was not as good as the one served with the earlier meal service.
Pre-departure beverages included orange juice, apple juice, or water. My seat mate across the aisle asked for alcohol and was denied.
If you get hungry between meal services, you can order snacks off your IFE screen:
Cocktails and soft drinks are complimentary throughout the flight. Other than occasional water runs, the FAs will not patrol the cabin. Instead, anytime you need something you order it off your screen and it will be brought 1-5 minutes later. I think it was a great system and reminded me of the good old Virgin America days.
By the way, passengers in economy class can pre-order this food for a fee.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class Service
The FAs were well-intentioned and somewhat friendly. One FA working my side of the aisle was a bit surly while the other, pictured below, was quite friendly. Another male FA seemed to handle much of the beverage service between meals and was also friendly.
Don’t expect to be called by surname or anything like that, but it is definitely a step above economy class.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class Lavatories
Lavatories are quite pedestrian, but remained clean throughout the flight. I stayed hydrated and had an aisle seat, so visited the lavatory at three different points throughout the flight.
Norwegian Air 787-9 Premium Class Drunks
A pair of Dutch guys traveling together across the aisle from me quickly became boisterous after downing several bottles of hard liquor. I was happy to see FAs cut them off and they fell asleep.
We left on time, landed on time, and I could tell that the passengers around me were quite happy with the overall product. I guess I was too for the ~$750 price point, though quite honestly I was absolutely restless by the time we landed in LA (just in time for rush hour traffic). I do recommend Norwegian Air, but also note that it is an excellent daytime product and a less comfortable nighttime one.