Norwegian Air, a long haul budget carrier that’s been gathering rewards right and left, just started flying direct from Oakland to Rome. It’s been a long time since an airline would take you all the way to Rome withing dumping you in New York to make your long flight a seemingly endless living hell—so we jumped at the chance to take this flight. When we booked, we noticed that there was a premium class. We counted our coins and went for it.
Premium class is not for the 1%. It’s a reasonably-priced alternative to the miserable experience most airlines give you in steerage. You can’t lie flat but you can tilt the seat back far enough so that your head is stable and doesn’t flop around like a ball on a stick. And there’s a leg rest. And you can use the airport lounge. And you get seated first and near the front of the plane; the time between landing at Rome Fiumicino and walking out the airport door was less than an hour.
Ok, bottom line: I actually slept on the flight. This is monumental. Never happens. Hurray for Norwegian Air!
Look, there’s also plenty of legroom. The picture below shows my legs stretched out. My shoes and not touching the seat back in front of me; they’re a quarter inch away. I am not so much a slob to actually want to put a dusty footprint all over this beautiful Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The windows are bigger, the air is better, and the pressure lighter and they claim, as was my experience, less jet lag. My eyes didn’t sting as they usually do. The lighting was a soft glow that made the cabin seem far more user-friendly then those of other airplanes.
All this in a budget airline. I’m impressed. I just hope they can keep this up: as in, “don’t get greedy like those other carriers, please!”
Ok, so I’ve raved. But…there’s always something that doesn’t work all that well. In this case, when your flight starts in the evening and goes to the following evening everyone is going to jam the seats back as far as they go so they can try to get some shut eye. No problem. But these seats go back far enough that it’s nearly impossible to exit from the seats not on the aisle. The center console doesn’t let the passenger just slide along the seats to get out. But you can do it awkwardly.
The food is perfect fine as well. Wine and beer was available throughout the flight and cognac was offered after dinner. If you weren’t part of the1% you could almost convince yourself that you were temporarily living like the 3%.
I can’t comment on economy class, but we’re flying that way on the way back to Oakland in three months, so more then.
In the meantime, you can read about the Norwegian Air experience as seen by the people who’ve engineered the whole deal.
Maybe you’ll find a flight so cheap you can afford to stay longer. I recommend it.