Back in April 2018, I was lucky enough to fly to Orlando with Norwegian in their Premium cabin (gifted courtesy of Norwegian). I was incredibly impressed with the service we received. We flew back in their economy cabin but as I spent most of the flight asleep, I was unable to give it a proper review. I did, however, vow to fly in economy with Norwegian once more.
Fats forward to August 2019 and I decided to head on over to Disneyland as part of my 30th birthday celebrations. I booked my flights in July (so a bit last minute) and Norwegian offered a direct route at by far the most competitive price.
Flying Economy with Norwegian
My flights were £700 for their LowFare+ ticket which included bags, seat selection and two in-flight meals. For comparison, at the time of booking BA direct was £1500 and Virgin Atlantic was £1700. Luggage allowance was 10kg for hand luggage and 20kg in the hold – 3k less than BA and Virgin Atlantic offer.
Owing to my having a new passport, I was randomly selected for extra security checks. This meant I couldn’t do online check-in as it required you to go to the desk to be questioned.
One thing I noticed was that Norwegian were very strict with their hand luggage allowance. On both legs of the flight, I saw people who had their bags weighed (at check-in AND at the gate) and were informed they either had to clear weight from their hand luggage or pay £60 to check their bag as it was overweight. I guess this is the risk you take when you travel with only hand luggage tickets and airlines have certainly wised up. If you want an allowance, you’ll need to ticket that includes it. Gone are the days of sneaking it through or being let off!
Flying Economy with Norwegian was a pleasant experience. Seats were a tad smaller than other airlines but the planes are newer with better technology. As I mentioned in my previous blog post on flying premium economy with Norwegian:
- Cabin optimisation – As the planes are newer than most, the technology in the cabins means you arrive at your destination less jet-lagged than usual. The combination of air pressures and lighting means you feel less drowsy than usual. The windows have no blinds but a switch that when pressed, runs electrical current though them to dim them. They’re dark enough to sleep with but you can still see out the window – even on the darkest setting.
- Ordering from your seat – Your TV screen isn’t just your in-flight entertainment, it’s a way for you to order food and drink to your seat. Each screen is fitted with a credit card swipe and within minutes, your drink appears (more on paying for food and drink later!)
It’s worth noting that Norwegian doesn’t provide a pillow or blanket in economy class so if you wish to have a sleep and need them, bring your own!
Being a low-cost airline, you’ll also need to bring your own headphones if you wish to use the in-flight entertainment or you can pay £5 through the in-flight payment system (as explained above!). The selection of films was not as extensive as other airlines but there was enough there to get me through the 10-hour flight. I also really enjoyed the games available and had quite a few games of solitaire and the trivia game they have where you play against other people on the plane.
There is WiFi available on some Norwegian flights. It depends on your plane and route but you can check it out on their website. I used the basic package and it was enough to visit a few webpages and emails but social media was a no go.
The LowFare+ ticket to California included a main meal and light snack – both served with drinks. The big difference in flying economy with Norwegian than say Virgin Atlantic, is that any food and drink outside of that are chargeable. A can of Coca-Cola cost me £3/$3 and as mentioned, I ordered it through my TV screen by swiping my debit card. There were no free pretzels (sob!)
The food itself was very good. There was a choice of three dishes. I had chicken and mash potato with a bread roll, side salad and a macaron. I also had a small glass of wine with my food – the selection being red or white.
Would I fly Long Haul Economy with Norwegian again?
In one word: YES! With a competitive price, good service, shiny planes and decent take-off times I will always fly Norwegian if they are competitively priced. I’d rather pay £3 for a drink on-board or £5 for headphones than an extra £700 for my ticket. In a world where the price is the key factor in who I travel with, it’s comforting to know that the cheapest ticket doesn’t necessarily mean the worst service. I just hope that the rumors about Norwegian aren’t true and they’re not about to pull a Thomas Cook on us all!