Norse Atlantic Airways Flight Review: JFK-LGW In Premium Economy

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To kick off my 3 Cards, 3 Continents trip, I flew with an airline that I doubt anyone would’ve predicted ahead of time – Norse Atlantic Airways.

Norse Atlantic Airways only began flying in June 2022 and the specific route I was taking – JFK to London Gatwick – only started on August 12, 2022. My flight was on September 12, 2022 and so I experienced it only a month after its launch.

So how was the flight? It was decent, especially for the price I paid (more about that in a moment). While some areas of the experience could be more polished, it’s a good way to get from New York to London in relative comfort for a low cash price and I’ll definitely consider it when returning home to the UK in the future.

Here’s a full review of my Norse Atlantic Airways flight in Premium Economy.

How Much I Paid For The Flight

Norse Atlantic Airways has economy and Premium Economy cabins – no business class. Pricing varies depending on your dates of travel and when you book; my Premium Light ticket cost $228.80 one-way from JFK to LGW. Premium Light includes an underseat bag, a carry-on bag, premium boarding, priority check-in and two meal services.

Be sure to check out my earlier post about booking Norse as I provided more details there about pricing, different pricing levels and benefits for Premium Economy, etc.

Check-In

The check-in experience was one of the areas that was less polished than I’d have hoped for. It wasn’t terrible though and now that I know the procedure, it’ll be much smoother if we fly with them in the future.

I’d held off on checking in for my flight in the hope that I’d get an aisle or window seat rather than the one remaining middle seat it was wanting to auto-allocate me when trying to check in earlier that morning. I decided to just go ahead and check-in while in the Uber on my way to the airport and did indeed get allocated the one remaining middle seat in the Premium Economy cabin, albeit one that was in the front row of the cabin which would have a little extra legroom.

I got a digital boarding pass and headed towards security at JFK Terminal 1. The airport worker checked my boarding pass and wouldn’t let me enter, vaguely waving off in the distance as though I needed to go somewhere else. I walked off in that direction, but there was no other security line.

There had been a sign where she’d been standing that said Norse Atlantic Airways passengers should enter the security line I’d already tried. I therefore went back but she waved me off again. I tried ascertaining where I was supposed to go and she wouldn’t explain. Thankfully one of her colleagues explained that I needed to go to the Norse check-in desk to get a paper boarding pass. This was a little frustrating as it would’ve been nice for her to have told me that initially rather than waving in the opposite direction of the desk I needed to go to. It was also a little disappointing that the email from Norse didn’t state that I’d either need to print off the boarding pass myself or get one from their desk.

The Norse Atlantic Airways check-in desk had a bit of a line, but it thankfully didn’t take too long for them to work their way through the passengers.

Norse Atlantic Airways check-in desk at JFK
Norse Atlantic Airways check-in desk at JFK

Something else that was somewhat frustrating was that the Norse check-in area has a desk dedicated for Premium Economy passengers, but that’s not at all well-marked. I’d gotten in the regular line and it wasn’t until I was at the front of the line that I noticed there was a separate section for Premium Economy passengers. To get to that line, go to the far end in the above photo beyond where the two people with backpacks on the right are standing and you should see the separate line – or lack thereof given that no one else was in the Premium Economy line.

Boarding

Now that I had a physical boarding pass I was allowed to enter the security line. Unfortunately Norse Atlantic Airways wasn’t – at the time of my flight in September 2022 – participating in TSA PreCheck, therefore meaning I had to go through regular security, taking out my laptop, liquids, etc.

That process didn’t take too long and I headed to the Primeclass lounge which is part of Priority Pass – see my mini review here.

Primeclass Lounge at JFK Terminal 1 food 1
Food at Primeclass Lounge at JFK Terminal 1

After about 1.5 hours in the lounge, I made my way to the gate. Boarding was delayed by 25 minutes, but they eventually called up Premium Economy passengers as they get priority boarding.

Well, they sort of started boarding us. We made our way down the jet bridge, only to have to wait another 5 minutes or so to get on the plane as they apparently weren’t quite ready for us.

Delay on the jet bridge
Delay on the jet bridge

Norse Atlantic Airways Premium Economy Seating

Once on board, economy passengers headed to the right, with their cabin being in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW economy class cabin

Premium Economy passengers meanwhile headed left, with this cabin being in a 2-3-2 configuration.

I’d been assigned a middle seat in the front row of the cabin, with another passenger to my left but no one to my right. The seats were wider than I’d been expecting, so even if we were sitting three abreast it wouldn’t have felt as cramped as I might’ve imagined.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW Premium Economy cabin
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW Premium Economy cabin

Rather than having seatback entertainment, each seat in Premium Economy has its own screen that lifts up from beneath an armrest. The selection of movies, TV shows, games, etc. wasn’t as comprehensive as some airlines, but you should still be able to find something to entertain you on the 6-7 hour flight across the Atlantic.

One minor quibble with the IFE is that there wasn’t an ‘All Movies’ or ‘All TV Shows’ option. Instead, you had to scroll through the options by genre – comedy, drama, action, etc. Movies often spanned more than one genre, so the same movie was often listed under multiple genres which meant it took longer to scroll through everything to decide what to watch.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - In-flight entertainment screen
In-flight entertainment screen

n.b. In order to lift up the TV screen, there’s a lever you have to pull to release it.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Lever to release IFE screen
Lever to release IFE screen

The IFE had a touchscreen, but there was also a small controller to adjust the volume, call a flight attendant, etc.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - IFE controller
IFE controller

The other armrest held the seat’s tray table which is a good enough size to be able to work on a laptop if you want.

Tray table

Each seat has a power outlet installed down to the left, while there’s a USB outlet on the IFE screen for charging your phone.

Power outlet

If you’re like me and dislike when airlines don’t have air nozzles, never fear – Norse has you covered.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Air nozzles
Air nozzles

The legroom in Premium Economy seemed pretty good. I had a little extra legroom due to being assigned a seat in the bulkhead.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Premium Economy bulkhead legroom
Premium Economy bulkhead legroom

Pre-Departure

Before taking off, flight attendants came through the cabin and offered a pre-departure beverage of water or juice.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Pre-departure drink
Pre-departure drink

As mentioned earlier, all Premium Economy fares include two meal services. I wasn’t sure what this would entail, so I took a look at the in-flight menu that was in the pocket in front of me.

As it turns out, our meals weren’t listed in this menu, so it’s more pertinent for passengers sitting in economy who want to buy food and drink on board, although I’m sure Premium Economy passengers can also purchase food from this menu.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu 1
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu
Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW menu

Flight attendants also came around with a blanket before we took off. The blanket wasn’t very thick, but I prefer thinner blankets like this when not in lie-flat seats seeing as cabins are normally kept warmer than I’d prefer.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Blanket
Blanket

The restroom was your standard airplane restroom, so not much to comment on regarding that.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Bathroom
Bathroom

The Flight Itself

Once we were in the air I moved over one seat to the right so that the passenger to my left and I had a little extra space. The only person in the row behind us was in the middle seat, so this also meant I could recline my seat without having to worry about it affecting her like it would have if I’d remained in the middle seat. (Side note: Divyesh commented on my previous post that when checking in at the Premium Economy counter you can ask them to put you in a window or aisle seat rather than a center seat. I hadn’t seen their comment until after I’d checked in, but it’s good information to know for the future.)

About an hour after take off the flight attendants started the drinks service. The Premium Economy meal service includes beer or wine, so I asked for red wine. As non-business class red wine goes, this was fine.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Complimentary wine in Premium Economy
Complimentary wine in Premium Economy

Meals were then served about 20 minutes later, so some way into the flight given that it was blocked for ~6.5 hours. There was a choice of two meals – chicken and rice or beef and rice. There wasn’t a vegetarian option offered; this might be something you can request ahead of your flight, but I didn’t check during the booking process. The seatback menu listed a couple of vegetarian light meals, so those are hopefully an option otherwise.

I asked for the beef and rice option which came with a few pieces of carrot and not as much kale as the photo below makes it appear. The meal was better than I expected, although a little salty.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Premium Economy meal -beef & rice
Premium Economy meal -beef & rice

We were also offered a fresh, warm bread roll which was far better than the cardboard-tasting pre-packaged bread rolls often served on flights. The dessert was a berry cheesecake-esque dessert minus the biscuit crumb base and tasted good too. Overall, it was a good meal for being in Premium Economy.

Once the meal service was done, the lights were dimmed in the cabin. It’s a red-eye flight and I wanted to try to get some sleep, so I reclined my chair. The photo below doesn’t give a great sense of it, but there was enough recline to be more comfortable than in economy even though it wasn’t lie-flat. Note that there’s a foot rest at the bottom of the seat that can fold out.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Reclined Premium Economy seat
Reclined Premium Economy seat

I didn’t get a huge amount of sleep for a couple of reasons. First, I’m a night owl – I’m normally up until about 3:30am ET no matter which US time zone we’re in at any given time. That meant I wasn’t very tired given our flight departed at about 6:45pm ET.

I was also a little unfortunate with my seating in the bulkhead. When reclined, my feet kept getting knocked by the curtain when flight attendants would go back and forth, as well as when passengers would use the rest room. While it’s not like anyone was physically bumping into me, the sensation of the curtain hitting my feet was enough to frequently disturb my sleeping attempts. I was wearing flip-flops though, so if you’re wearing close-toed shoes that’s likely to be less of an issue and it’s only potentially an issue when you’re sat in the bulkhead seats on either side of the aisle.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Curtain at front of Premium Economy cabin
Curtain at front of Premium Economy cabin

About 90 minutes before landing we were served our second meal. The quality of this second meal couldn’t have been further removed from the decent meal we were served at the start of the flight. It consisted of a bagel with turkey and a half-inch layer of garlic & herb cream cheese and what I think was a blueberry muffin.

The bagel was hands-down the worst bagel I’ve ever had. The bagel could’ve crawled through the Sahara Desert for days and it still shouldn’t have been as dry as it was. I don’t have a sophisticated palate and don’t like leaving food on a plate, but I couldn’t even finish half the bagel before refusing to eat any more of it – it was that bad.

The muffin wasn’t much better. It had a teenie bit more moisture, but very little flavor. I think they might’ve intended for it to be a blueberry muffin as I spotted what appeared to be a blueberry inside it, but that was the only one. If it wasn’t a blueberry, I don’t want to know what I ingested. Again, I didn’t finish it off as it wasn’t very good.

Norse Atlantic Airways JFK-LGW - Pre-arrival meal - turkey & cream cheese bagel
Pre-arrival meal – turkey & cream cheese bagel, muffin & juice

The rest of the flight was uneventful and we landed at Gatwick airport about an hour later.

Final Thoughts

Flying Norse Atlantic Airways in Premium Economy is a decent way to cross the Atlantic given the price point. The seat is more comfortable than you’ll get in economy and they have enough in-flight entertainment options to get you through the 6-7 hour flight.

The meal service is mixed. The first meal I was served was good and was on a par or slightly better than meals served in economy with other airlines. The second meal though was appalling and would be better described as mealy rather than a meal.

Service was perfectly fine. The flight attendants weren’t overly warm, but they weren’t rude either – they were what you’d expect on a transatlantic flight in a non-business class cabin (or, to be honest, the kind of service you’d expect in a business class cabin too with some airlines).

There are some areas where Norse Atlantic Airways could improve. The first meal service felt like it was served later than it should be and the second meal service was served earlier than felt necessary. The check-in experience was a little confusing as they don’t advise that you need a physical boarding pass to get through security at JFK and the Premium Economy check-in line wasn’t visible until I was at the front of the economy line. Their non-partnership with TSA PreCheck means getting through security might take a little longer, while the boarding process didn’t run particularly smoothly.

Those are all relatively minor quibbles though. I paid less than $230 for my ticket, so I feel like I got great value being able to fly Premium Economy with a carry-on bag across the Atlantic in a comfortable seat with two meals provided.

What’s particularly nice about Norse Atlantic Airways’ pricing is that you can buy one-way tickets cheaply. Most airlines require that you book round-trip paid tickets when flying from the US to Europe unless you’re willing to pay more for a one-way ticket. It could therefore be useful being able to book a cheap one-way ticket to or from Europe if you’re flying a different airline in the other direction.

Overall, I was satisfied with my experience flying with Norse Atlantic Airways and am certainly open to flying with them again in the future.

4.8 4 votes
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13 Comments
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Anthony

Stephen: do you know if they signed up with TSA Precheck yet? We have a flight booked for May. Norweigian is still listed on the TSA site.

Did they weigh your carry on bags?

To confirm: can we print our boarding passes out in advance and avoid the check-in line? On another blog they said there was no real preferred check-in for premium economy passengers and they both funnel to the same line. Was this your experience at JFK?

kamal

we are flying on norse from oslo to usa almost 9h.45 min. flght no food not even water. we want fly again very bad service.

Cameron

I am flying on Norse to Lgw from Jfk but heading on to Edi. I’m also booked in premium. Thanks for the review.

George Costanza

I stopped reading when I saw the author’s picture showing his leg room and his flip flop-clad feet. What kind of serious traveler is this that he actually gets on planes in flip flops? He is exactly the kind of traveler that I loathe to be around when I’m on planes and in airports. Flip flops. What are you? 7 years old at summer camp?

Last edited 4 months ago by George Costanza
54austin

We just flew BER-JFK in premium and were very impressed. The service was friendly and professional. The flight attendants offered an additional drink, including wine and beer, during the first meal service and were happy to give me a Diet Coke in the middle of the flight. The food was mediocre-to-terrible so…about average for most airlines. Dunno about loads on other routes, but the FA said BER-JFK has been no more than 50% booked in premium, which is great in terms of space for passengers. BTW, there was no weighing or measuring of carry-on’s (for premium, at least).

GlobalA

Surprising review. I flew Gatwick to JFK a few weeks ago on Norse. I would have given the flight a 1/5 stars.

Outdated design, poor quality from the staff (not very friendly), no wifi at all, they ran out of purchasable food. Some screens didn’t work. The in-flight content also wasn’t that great, though fortunately I had downloaded shows on my phone.

I was also confident I had ordered a meal, but when I was on board, they told me the purchase didn’t go through with my ticket. This one might be a miscommunication on my side from when I booked the ticket, but I definitely remember selecting a meal in advance knowing it was a ~7 hour flight and meals weren’t included.

The best part about the flight was when I got off of the plane.

LarryInNYC

That trip at that price in this market would have been a bargain for regular economy.

Michael

Is it my imagination, or in all the close up images, there appears to be a lot of dirt ?

DaninMCI

My thoughts as well. The seat looks dated and dirty. The beer selection looks weak but seems like a great deal to me. Thanks for the review

Mantis

You didn’t really expect a NY airport worker to be helpful and professional, did you?