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(Photo: Norwegian Air)

Norwegian Air: Business Class for the Budget Traveler

Norwegian Air has been entrancing travelers with cheap flights and quietly dominating the transatlantic market for the last couple of years. I’ve flown with them a few times before and while I’ve always appreciated the modern, clean, and spacious cabin, I’ve often bemoaned the fact that on Norwegian, like many other budget airlines, everything from headphones to blankets cost a little bit extra. Recently, I had the opportunity to get out of economy and fly from London to New York in Norwegian’s premium cabin (aka Norwegian Air Business Class), where pretty much everything, excluding a few snack items, is included and the seats are more comfortable.

Norwegian is still a low-cost airline and the average cost of their premium tickets, when compared to first and business class on other airlines, definitely reflects that. On Norwegian, premium class is not about excess luxury, but about strictly making your long flight more comfortable, so you arrive at your destination fresh, fed, and with as little jet lag as possible.

Norwegian Air Business Class: Comfort

On the Sunday evening I arrived at Gatwick, the airport was crowded and a little hectic. After checking my bag (Norwegian limits total carry-on luggage weight to 15 kilograms), I headed to the Number One lounge that Norwegian Premium passengers have access to, hoping for some quiet time. It was a nice-enough lounge, but also very crowded during the time and I struggled to find a seat.

However, when I finally boarded the plane and took my seat, I found plenty of space to unwind with 46 inches of leg room and a comfortable chair. I reclined instantly and the crew served juice and water as we waited for take off. I also found a complimentary blanket on my seat, which was very soft and cozy. I noticed one passenger even asked a flight attendant if he could take his with him. When I’ve flown economy on Norwegian in the past, blankets cost $5 extra and were not of as good quality. However, even in premium class, no pillows were available.

Premium class on Norwegian does not feature lie-flat seats, but the seats are still very comfortable and spacious and you can recline quite a bit.

Full disclosure: I am only 5’3’’ and my yoga practice usually allows me to roll into a comfortable ball on most airline seats.

Norwegian Air Business Class: Food

My flight lasted a little under seven hours, so we were only served two meals. For the first, we were given a choice between a chicken or beef entree and the second was a delicate, but tasty salmon salad. This is not a luxury in the sky dining experience, but the food was definitely a big improvement from economy class. Additionally, all alcoholic beverages were complimentary and after the first meal, the flight attendants came around with small bottles of Baileys and Cognac as a digestif, which definitely upped the dining experience.

Norwegian Air Business Class: Jet Lag

One of Norwegian’s biggest selling points is that the combination of their smart mood lighting, optimal cabin pressure, and fresh air results in less jet lag for passengers. I did feel less sore and achy than I usually do when getting off a long-haul flight. The morning after, too, I felt well-rested. There are a lot of other factors that go into jet lag than just cabin pressure, so it’s tough to quantify. However, I did feel more alert upon landing after my flight in premium class than in economy.

Norwegian Air Business Class: Conclusion

Norwegian’s economy prices are hard to beat, even if you do have to pay a little more for meal service and blankets. However, their premium prices are also pretty decent when compared with the cost of business- and first-class tickets on other transatlantic fights. Norwegian Premium might not be about all-out luxury, but there are a few frills and perks to upgrading, and if your main concern is arriving at your destination feeling fresh and less stressed out, it’s definitely worth the upgrade from economy.

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Jamie Ditaranto flew premium class courtesy of Norwegian Airlines. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

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