Flight Review: Norse Atlantic’s Very 1st Gatwick To New York JFK Service

     Adjust your expectations, and you can’t go wrong with Norse Atlantic’s premium product.

Airlines often overpromise and under-deliver, the reality of their products not matching pledges and expectations. Not so Norse Atlantic and its premium offering, which I flew for the first time last week on its inaugural from London to the USA.

Details of the flight

  • Route: London Gatwick to New York JFK
  • Flight number: N0701
  • Date: August 12th, 2022
  • Aircraft: LN-FNI, 3.9-year-old B787-9
  • Departed: 14:24 (scheduled: 13:30)
  • Terminal: Gatwick South Terminal
  • Arrived: 16:25 (scheduled: 16:25)
  • Terminal: JFK Terminal 1
  • Duration: 7h 1m
  • Seat: 3C, premium economy recliner (2-3-2 layout)

Norse’s premium product includes a 10kg carry-on, a checked bag (except if you buy Premium Light), two meals, drinks, fast-track security (not at JFK), priority boarding, and more. Onboard, you get a blanket, earphones (unless you have your own; $3.50 in economy), a plug socket, and USBs. As Norse’s B787s are ex-Norwegian, it has the same hard product.

“It exceeded my expectations”

Norse’s premium product impressed me, but not because it was full of bells and whistles – it wasn’t and won’t be. It exceeded my expectations primarily because they were low, from what I already knew about it, and perhaps assisted by little comment or promotion on its website. In its check-in process, for example, it simply refers to premium as ‘extra legroom,’ its key selling point.

“Premium economy ‘plus’?”

Norse’s premium product is definitively premium economy. But for legroom and seat generally, I’d say it’s premium economy plus.

With a 43″ pitch, Norse has more legroom than many others in premium economy, including the 38″ offered by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. I’m pretty tall and couldn’t use all the legroom. And even my next-door neighbor, who said he is 6′ 2″, said he didn’t need it. At what point does legroom become excessive? Could something else be done with the space?

Not just legroom

The seat recline was also excellent, as I found on the overnight return to the UK. And the seat padding was very cozy: not once did I move for discomfort. However, on the trip home, I found it virtually impossible to move from my seat when the passenger in front had her seat fully reclined. I literally had to climb over the seat adjacent to me, which, mercifully, was unoccupied.

IFE had a decent selection of movies and TV options, although not many brand-new programs. Strangely, the ‘my flight’ information had many details of the flight’s progress but no moving map. Fortunately, the tray table, housed within the armrest, was big enough for me to use my laptop easily.

Simple but tasty food

All three of Norse’s premium fare families – Light, Classic, and Plus – include drinks and two meals (really, a meal and a snack). Soft drinks, beer, and wine are included in the price, with other options – any other alcoholic beverage – available for a fee. Passengers can also buy additional food,

The first meal arrived 75 minutes after take-off. I had the chicken in a tomato sauce with chocolate pudding. Although it was small – a side dish or a larger quantity would be good – it was tasty. So was the second offering, a handheld pizza and macaroons, 90 minutes before landing. Fortunately, they had a spare pizza, which I happily consumed.

Given lower average prices in this cabin versus competitors, the food was simple but good. However, there was no menu, and food was eaten with wooden cutlery. That’s in distinct contrast to other carriers’ premium economy products.

Bottom line

Norse’s premium offering is a solid budget option. Adjust your expectations, and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised, especially with the seat. Secure a great deal, and it’ll be terrific value.