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Report - Norwegian Air - Seattle to London

We flew this yesterday. I had been worried about flights due to other comments, here and on TA, about cancellations and "wet leasing". I checked flights daily for the two weeks up until our departure and there were very few late planes and almost no cancellations, even the Boston flights that seem to get the most attention.
We purchased Premium Economy seats, which comes with 10kg of carry on, 2 checked bags and included meals. I worried a ton about our carry on - we check no luggage - and made sure we were right at the 10kg, spread out over our two allowed bags - one 21x15x9 and one about 10x14.
Check in went fine at SeaTac. We waited about 10 minutes and the line for Coach was about the same. No one weighed or looked at our bags, even though my research indicates that Norwegian weighs a lot of carryons.
For you SeaTac people, we boarded out of the A gates, not the S gates. Norwegian uses an A gate with no jetway, pulls a few buses up outside and then drives you over to a remote area of the airport to board with a moveable jetway. I'm guessing the same will be true on our return but they'll bus us to an S gate for immigration.
Premium Economy seats are spectacular - the biggest I've seen with any carrier. We had about as much room as you get with Alaska and American domestic First Class. The seats are wider too. We really loved these seats. They recline a fair amount and have a foot rest. I was comfortable the entire trip and, unlike Premium Economy in Condor, where I'm still basically pretty squashed and unhappy, I was happy the entire trip.
I was expected bad food, based on all the reviews. But my group covered the realm of standard meal, vegetarian and gluten free and everyone was pretty happy. My gluten free dinner meal had a simply seasoned chicken breast, white rice, steamed veggies and a salad. For dessert, they included a really nice fruit tray. Breakfast was two rice cakes with turkey and cheese, made into a rice cake sandwich of sorts, which I totally liked, but my traveling companions found funny. My breakfast also included a container of plain yogurt, a granola bar and another big fruit plate. The vegetarian dinner meal was the most boring - the dinner was just the rice and veggies and a salad with no protein source. The breakfast was a cucumber sandwich and some fruit. The standard dinner was a stuffed chicken breast, roasted potatoes, carrots, a nice salad with very nice vinaigrette and some of those pretty and colorful little macarons you see in bakeries. No complaints from us when we were expecting virtually nothing.
Also - tons of reviews said no water was offered and staff was surly. We were offered water at least once an hour but can't speak for coach.
All in all a great trip. Left on time, arrived on time. I'd definitely fly them again. The Coach seats looked as small as all other airlines though.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
2532 posts

Sounds pretty good, thanks for the report.

May I ask, how long were the lines to clear security at SEA? We're headed out next week, and I've been hearing that delays at security have been bad lately. You went out on a Friday, at what time? How long did you have to wait to get through security?

Thanks, and have a great trip!

Posted by Valerie OP
Tacoma
1516 posts

@David - We arrived at SeaTac at 11am for our 1:35 flight. Lines were long. We normally have TSA Precheck due to Global Entry but Norwegian does not take part in this. The Premium Econ ticket comes with access to Priority Lines for security. We were told this by the Norwegian staff as we checked in. However, nothing on the boarding pass says priority so we thought we might get rejected by TSA at the lines. We did not - they let us right in. So total security line time was under 10 minutes. For the regular line people it looked long...maybe 40 min?

Posted by Dave
Spartanburg, SC
523 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience. May I ask what the difference in price was between the standard ticket and the Premium Economy seats?

Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
1264 posts

Thanks for that additional airline information, Valerie. Norwegian has some very attractive fares to Europe from Denver.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
2532 posts

total security line time was under 10 minutes. For the regular line people it looked long...maybe 40 min?

Perfect. Our departure is also around 1:30 pm on a weekday. We do have Precheck, too. Hopefully our time getting through security will mirror yours. Thank you for the useful info and enjoy your trip!

Posted by Valerie OP
Tacoma
1516 posts

@David - the PreCheck won't help you at all because Norwegian is not part of PreCheck. Airlines have to choose to be part of PreCheck and Norwegian does not. If you have a Premium seat with Norwegian you might be able to use the Priority line at TSA but it's still an altogether different line than PreCheck.
If you're flying another airline, you should be ok - most do PreCheck, I think.
@Dave - the cost was not cheap. We flew high season as we were date specific - about $1700 or $1800 a ticket. You can go on Norwegian with the cheapest fares with no frills at all for that $400 you hear people talking about but dates are really limited.

Posted by Dave
Spartanburg, SC
523 posts

Valerie,

Thanks for the info. Just trying to figure out how Norwegian compares to the other airlines when you get past the stripped-down $400 ticket.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
2532 posts

PreCheck won't help you at all because Norwegian is not part of PreCheck. Airlines have to choose to be part of PreCheck and Norwegian does not.

Understood. I should have been more clear: we're not flying on Norwegian (not to flying to London, either). We're headed for Amsterdam on Delta (in Business class, too). Delta does participate in Precheck. So we should have access to the Snob lines through security.

Not my first rodeo. ; )

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
5069 posts

I have been flying Norwegian Air Shuttle since they started flying to the U.S. Their 787s really spoil you. And out of 5 legs flown, we have had no issues other than once my bag being 2 lbs. overweight. I offloaded clothes into my wife's bag.
We are very grateful for the European budget airlines. Although some have some strange terms and conditions, we would be paying twice or three times their airfares flying on Delta or the other big American legacy air carriers. In this case, competition has been good to the consumer.

Posted by Susan
San Francisco
5530 posts

I flew Norwegian SFO-CDG three weeks ago and liked it very much. Flying home on 6/26.

I flew coach and found the seats much better than United or WoW. More leg room and more comfortable. The fact that they have 40% (?) more fresh air pumped in, and cabin lower pressurized really made a difference for me. I felt much better physically during and after the 10+ hr flight.

I don’t usually eat meat and would have preferred a vegetarian meal but there was a mis-communication when booking and I had to choose between chicken or beef. I chose chicken. It was inedible. Very pink and like a rectangle of rubber. I did not eat it.

We were never offered water and I found all the flight attendants I came into contact with, or observed, to be very unfriendly. That said, the comfort in coach and the low price makes me a big fan of Norwegian.

My carry-on was not weighed.

My flight left, and arrived, on time.

Edit: Flew Home on Norwegian Air on 6/26.

Carry-on not weighed.

Most everyone boarding had 2-3 bags, most large (backpacks especially) despite the one bag carry-on limit.

Flight attendants were extremely friendly and kind. One in particular.

The two vegetarian meals I had were actually good - for airplane food. Hot meal: roasted veggies with rice and slivered almonds, potato salad with generous amount of hard boiled egg whites, fruit cocktail cup. I was offered a drink, I chose OJ which was good.
Cold meal: pesto, cheese, tomatoes on baguette bread, apple sauce, boxed OJ.

The plane was only 1/2 full so I had a 3 seat row to myself. Felt like I was in Business Class with that much space to relax, move around easily, put my feet up, lie down.

I was offered water once.

Plane left 40 min late.

Posted by elissabi
Seattle
39 posts

I took Norwegian from Stockholm to LAX last year and found the seats very comfortable with not too bad leg room. I thought the service was fine although not as frequent as a recent Lufthansa flight to Europe. I do not recall having any trouble getting water onboard but I purchased the LowFare+ rate which includes meals, baggage and seat reservations. LowFare+ adds $90 each way to the base price quoted on google flights etc.. Sometimes, you can save a little money especially on the Premium Economy seats by purchasing the seats via the Norwegian country website vs US. Not always the case but worth comparing. I did this and the tickets worked just fine.