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We had never been to England so when we heard that Norwegian Air was going to start offering direct flights from Tampa, Florida to London, we were thrilled! For our long haul flights, we’re used to flying with major US airlines so flying with Norwegian Air was quite new to us. Crystal flew with Norwegian Air for the first time last year when she went to Martinique and had a pleasant experience flying in their economy class. When we booked our flights to London, we decided to try their Premium Cabin.
What’s great about Norwegian’s Premium Cabin is that you get a premium experience without having to pay the premium price tag. Unlike other airlines where First Class, Business Class, or Premium Class come at a high cost, Norwegian Air makes it attainable for the rest of us who can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a long-haul flight.
Some other great facts about Norwegian Air are that they have been voted the World’s Best Low-Cost Long Haul Airline for four years in a row, they have a user-friendly website that is easy to navigate, and they fly one of the youngest fleets in the world, one of them being the 787 Dreamliner, which we were able to experience on our trip to London. Oh, and bonus that Norwegian does good for the world by partnering with UNICEF, raising millions of dollars and filling planes with emergency aid to help children in need around the world.
If you’re wondering what a Premium Cabin experience is like on Norwegian Air, it’s a hybrid between Premium Economy and Business Class. Here are the major highlights and perks from our trip to London.
There are two options when it comes to flying in the Premium cabin: Premium and PremiumFlex. We had the PremiumFlex tickets which offers free lounge access, free flight changes, and the ticket is fully refundable. The standard Premium does not include these three options, so make sure to look over the comparison chart to fully understand what your ticket entails.
2. Special Check-in Counter
We love being able to check-in at a designated counter. The lines are typically shorter which gives us more time to relax if we happen to be running late. Our check-in experience at both Tampa and Gatwick airport was reasonably fast and a pleasant experience.
3. Baggage Allowance
With the PremiumFlex ticket, we were both allowed two 20 kg (44 lbs.) checked bags and 15 kg (33 lbs.) carry-on hand luggage. Norwegian was very strict with their baggage weight and weighed every single bag to make sure they were not over the weight limit. After the carry-on bags were weighed, they placed a yellow tag on each bag to indicate that our bags have been approved to carry on board. Since we were traveling to London for only a few days, we didn’t check any bags and boarded with our Away Bigger Carryon Suitcase and Pacsafe Backpack.
4. Fast Track
Fast Track is only available at select airports and it’s comparable to TSA Pre-check in the United States. We both have TSA Pre-check so it wasn’t necessary to have this perk in Tampa, but having Fast Track access in Gatwick was a huge time saver for us. Fast Track at Gatwick moved us much faster through security as the lines were significantly shorter compared to the standard security line.
5. Lounge Access
Lounge access is also available in select airports. There was no lounge access in Tampa, but we got to take full advantage of the lounge at Gatwick and had some snacks and coffee while we waited for our flight. The lounge at Gatwick was fairly busy, but we were able to find seating just fine.
There was a variety of hot and cold food along with plenty of beverages including wine and liquor. We didn’t have any cocktails, but we both enjoyed some coffee and snacks like the popcorn and granola bites. If we had more time at the lounge, we probably would have made some pancakes or enjoyed the game area. There was also an option to step outside if you wanted some fresh air.
6. Premium Seats
The Premium seating is what makes all the difference and, in our opinion, the most important part of our experience as it’s where we spend most of our time. We imagine most travelers pay the extra bucks for the comfortable seats, especially for the long haul flights.
We definitely had plenty of leg room compared to a standard economy cabin. Economy gets a seat pitch of 31” whereas Premium cabins receive 43”-36”. Our seats don’t fully recline into a flat bed, but it reclines far enough to get a good night’s rest. The seats also had a footrest which made a huge difference when you reclined your seat for some sleep.
There were plenty of entertainment options onboard from movies to documentaries to TV shows. You can play games or even keep an eye on the flight to see where you are and how many hours you have left on the flight. Just remember to bring your own headphones as they do not provide that for you.
Magical Window Lighting
The windows are 65% larger than comparable planes and we really loved their clever sunglasses-style lighting. It’s not a window where you pull down the plastic shade, instead, you’re in charge of how much sunshine streams through by adjusting the dimming options. How cool is that?
Each passenger gets their own universal power outlet and a USB outlet so there is no need to worry about your electronics running low on battery.
The only amenity you will receive is a blanket. It’s a nice thick blanket and it kept us warm throughout the flight. If you are the type that needs an eye mask, ear plugs, slippers, or headphones remember to pack these items yourself.
7. In-flight Meals
We are happy to report that we enjoyed our dinner both on the way to Gatwick and on our return flight to Tampa. Our favorite was the chicken dinner they served on our way back to Tampa. The chicken wasn’t dry and we really liked the mashed potatoes. We had a chocolate mousse cake and (we believe) a toffee cake. We had a variety of drink options during dinner and throughout the flight. We don’t drink alcohol on our flights, but beer and wine were free if we wanted it.
Breakfast was simple and plentiful. They were both cold breakfast entrees with fruit and salad. It was nice to get some fuel in us right before landing.
8. Fresh Air System
We always thought that dry cabin air was something that couldn’t be altered until we flew with Norwegian Air. Not only did our aircraft provide fresh air, but humid air circulated throughout the cabin as well. With fresh air and optimal cabin pressure, this can result in less jet lag. We felt the humid air run through the cabin at times and this helped by not having to constantly lather on moisturizer. We have really dry skin, so the humid air throughout the flight really helped us out.
9. Free WiFi
Our flight from Tampa to London did not have WiFi, but our flight from London to Tampa provided free WiFi and it was easy to connect. The free WiFi isn’t fast enough to stream videos, but good enough to check emails, text, or apps like Instagram. If you are in need of high speed internet, there was an option to purchase Premium internet for a fee.
We both really enjoyed our experience with Norwegian Air and one of our favorite highlights in the Premium Cabin was all the legroom we had at our seats and how far back the seat reclined along with the convenient leg extension. We were both able to sleep comfortably on both of the flights.
Everything was flawless from check-in to boarding to the in-flight experience and we admired the professionalism of the flight crew. We also appreciated that both of our flights were on time without any delays.
If you’re debating on whether you should spend a little extra money on Premium, we say go for it. We enjoyed all the extra perks and the legroom alone was worth it to us.