The hot airline to Europe is Norwegian Air -- hot because it's cheap. For an extended stay in Paris, I bought a "Premium Class" ticket from San Francisco for $2,200. Normally, I wouldn't purchase anything above Premium Economy, which I have always found to be reasonably comfortable. But this trip was a special one and I was prepared to splurge.
Was it worth it? I'd have to say no for a couple of reasons. Some of the reviews I'd read online said Norwegian's "Premium class" was analogous to First Class within the U.S., which at the time sounded reasonable to me. But I failed to consider that no flight within the U.S. lasts for 11 hours. When you are flying for anything past six hours, you are going to need to recline in reasonable comfort. This is not the case in Norwegian's Premium class. Yes, the seats recline but not enough to lie flat or anything near flat. In fact there was something about the design of the seat that was uncomfortable for my back when fully reclined. So for the long flight to Paris, I didn't sleep at all.
There were other disappointments: Limited and less than desirable entertainment choices: few movies, and network TV shows you could easily watch at home if you were interested. The food was some of the worst I have ever had on an airline. It came in a box with plastic utensils. The vegetarian meal I ordered was unseasoned mushy pasta with a round of semi-melted cheese placed in the middle of it -- it was inedible. The only good part of the meal service was Haagen-Dazs.
I haven't yet taken a transatlantic flight on Norwegian in a more inexpensive class, and that may well be worth the cost since the price to Paris was about 1/3 the premium class fare. For that big a savings, it's worth it to me to put up with bad food and entertainment choices. But at $2,200, Premium Class just didn't cut it for me.
Norwegian's fleet has an average age of just 3.6 years -- one of the youngest and greenest fleets in the world, and the plane, a Boeing 737-800 Dreamliner, was quite nice. Also, in 2015 Norwegian was named the most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes, a reason to appreciate this airline.
Posted August 14, 2018