Being bougie on a backpacker’s budget
Norwegian Air is a budget carrier. In fact, I give them credit for making flights across the Atlantic cheaper than they’ve ever been before. They figured out a way to bring that European budget airline price to North American consumers using fuel efficient airplanes and consequently, not charging an arm and a leg for tickets. So I found a ticket from Stockholm to NY on a direct flight for $350. Honestly, now flights are as low as $99 to Europe sometimes. It’s insane. Anyway, when Norwegian emailed me asking if I wanted to bid to upgrade, I said yes. If you can afford to do the same, I highly recommend sending in a bid.
How To Bid For First Class
For those who don’t know the process, bidding is super simple. You tell them how much you’d be willing to pay for an upgrade and give them your credit card info. If they accept you, you get that premium experience. And if not, you have nothing to lose because they won’t charge your card and you’ll still be in economy. I offered 1975 Krona (less than what they recommended, BTW, but was still chosen). That’s about $233. So for less than $600 for a one-way ticket, I flew first class across the Atlantic Ocean.
Considering I paid budget prices for a premium experience, overall I think it was well worth what I got. Channeling my inner Points Guy, I’ve attempted a review below. Though let’s be honest, I don’t have a lot to compare these things to in the way of luxury, save for the 150+ economy flights I’ve been on.
Without further ado, here goes my ARN > JFK Norwegian Air review on a 787 Dreamliner in Premium (First) Class. By the way, the make of the plane means nothing to me but figured I should include it in case it does to you ✈️
I was unimpressed to be honest. Cool, there was some hand soap and it was very clean, but flying Cathay Pacific in economy is far more premium than this. They have lotion and give everyone a toothbrush/toothpaste. Other airlines do too. I’ve seen some mouthwash on economy flights before.
They’re very comfy with more than ample leg room. I’m 5′ 4″ and was able to stretch my legs straight out in front of me and just graze the seat, before I reclined it at all. There’s also a place to hook your jacket.
They reclined a lot, too; I was almost vertical and put my legs up. But again, I don’t have a lot to compare this to. The only downside was that the TVs have to pull out of the armrest (instead of on the seat in front of you), but I mean, is that even a negative?
On Board Amenities: A-
There are outlets right next to the seats. (You’d be surprised; this is a luxury for some budget airlines) and they gave us a thick, comfy blanket. There were unlimited complimentary cocktails, wine, beer and champagne, coffee and tea. You could also browse the digital snack menu at any time and a flight attendant would bring them to you (some free, some paid for).
As for their movie selection, I almost gave this an A+ just for having Broad City, but unbiasedly, it was ok (and besides there were only 2 episodes of each TV show. I was really hoping for the Abby at the Dentist episode…). I also watched Avatar so that was cool.
Norwegian got a bit docked for not having free WiFi on board or giving us eye masks. Then again, it wasn’t a red eye flight. But I mean, even JetBlue has “FlyFi” figured out so Norwegian should get with the program. How else am I supposed to send a Snapchat at 500 mph? Heh.
Other Perks: A
Fast Track – I got to skip the line for security. It was similar to TSA in the US but it’s only for Norwegian Air passengers (I think). I got through security in 3 minutes. I’m all about efficiencies.
Lounge Access – I actually already had this thanks to my favorite credit card but it was nice to be able to have a quick beer and a snack before I had to check into the flight. The lounge itself was okay. I’ve been to some with better/more food options and couches to sit on but I really can’t bother being that bougie because a lounge is a lounge and free food is free food 👌🏽
Considering that economy passengers don’t get served food at all on this flight, the 3 dinner options in Premium were great. (Well, technically they get fed if they pay for it ahead of time & in Economy there are only 2 options).
I had the salmon (which wasn’t dry!) with rice, bread, some sort of cold quinoa side and 2 small chocolates for dessert. I’m not Gordon Ramsay so I thought it was great. But they could’ve given us breakfast too…It was a 7+ hour flight so I was very hungry again by the end. Or at least offer up some more coffee/tea before landing.
They passed around water/juice as we were waiting for other passengers to board, were great about refills as we were en route, and kept taking away empty glasses & trash. The staff was very friendly and honestly more attentive than many I am used to.
Overall, it was well worth the extra cost!
Let me know if you’ve ever snagged a bargain upgrade before in the comments.