Ultimate Guide to NORSE ATLANTIC in PREMIUM – Oslo-Ft Lauderdale

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Norse Atlantic is the low-cost, long-haul airline that’s making headlines. This Ultimate Guide covers Norse Atlantic in the Premium cabin, from Oslo to Fort Lauderdale.

NORSE NO21

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Oslo-Fort Lauderdale (OSL-FLL)

Seat: 5A (Premium)

Duration: 10h

Norse Atlantic announced in 2023 growth to 7 US destinations from London Gatwick. This adds to a stable of flights already in operation out of Oslo, Paris CDG and Rome. Oslo to Bangkok Thailand will start in November 2023. CEO Bjorn Tore Larsen was interviewed in July by CNN’s Richard Quest.

Norse has worked hard to distinguish itself from Norwegian Air Shuttle, another Norwegian airline. The confusion has some historical roots: some of the Norse top team have a past with Norwegian, while some of its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners will look familiar to fliers on Norwegian’s former North American routes.

Norse is pushing forward with a unique branding and a service offering that includes an ambitious roster of destinations for such a new airline that stretch into a number of European and US hubs as well as Bangkok, Thailand.

Booking Norse Atlantic in Premium

I wanted to travel from Oslo Gardermoen to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (sometimes known as Miami’s other airport). Norse’s online system is pretty straightforward to use. The ‘booking bar’ at the top of the page is so prominent and gets you right to the main options.

Economy vs Premium

Once you input your From/To information and set your dates, the options come down to whether you want to fly Economy or Premium and, apart from a more comfortable seat, that decision will come down to what extras you need for your journey.

Options

Premium Seat or Economy Seat
Checked Bags
Underseat cabin bag only or underseat + overhead cabin bag
Pre-purchase food (some on board options available)

As a lower cost airline, Norse includes add-ons in higher cost tickets, or provides them for purchase. It’s worth checking if it benefits you to start with a ticket with more inclusions, or to simply go low and add a bag or food options. Find examples in the images below, where you can see the charges for bags, seats and food. The lowest cost fare (Economy Light) permits only an underseat carry-on bag and offers no food. On the other hand, the most costly fare (Premium Plus) includes two carry-ons, two checked pieces, meals and has more flexible rules for ticket changes.

Booking Screens

Screenshot of Norse booking process

I chose an economy fare for €240 that allowed for two pieces of carry-on luggage and one checked bag (which I didn’t use). This fare also allowed me to pick a free seat and I went with a window. A premium option was available for €656. Upgrades on board for this route cost €250. I flew in early March, 2023.

Fun Oslo Activities

Norse Check-in

Norse does offer online check-in, albeit not via an app, just its main website. I tried to check-in online and input all my information before I was advised I’d have to check in at the airport. Note that the box for Known Travellers (e.g., those with Global Entry) is greyed out for now.

Checking in for direct flights to the US from Europe can be a bit of a crap shoot, particularly if you are travelling with hand luggage only. For direct flights to the US, all travellers can be required to be seen physically by ground staff to ensure they have all the right paperwork, such as an ESTA or visa to travel to the US.

Check-in was slow

Let’s not sugarcoat it, it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the top of the line. I was there 3 hours ahead of the flight time which is when check-in opened and there was only one agent for the first hour of check-in. At the 2 hour mark, three other staff members came along. Norse will need to address this as the experience with staff or representatives was very efficient elsewhere (and these representatives were very friendly).

Please note that carry-on baggage WAS carefully checked to ensure passengers had no more than their assigned amount.

Security at Oslo Gardermoen

Security is right beside the check-in area at Oslo Gardermoen and the line was very reasonable. Trays were remarkably small and, as I travel with hand luggage only, it took a while for me to decant my bags for checking. Everything electronic, battery-operated or camera-related had to come out.

Passengers travelling outside the Schengen Zone (in zones D, E, F) pass through a further set of electronic doors into a separate area for restaurants and shops. I found a cute place serving open-faced sandwiches. This gravlax and egg sandwich with mustard dressing served as lunch.

Gate & Boarding for Norse Atlantic in Premium

En route to Gate F33, there is an enormous duty free zone selling everything from alcohol to perfumes. Prices may seem quite high for non-Norwegian passengers as alcohol is prohibitively expensive in Norway. However, duty free had quite a few specialty Norwegian spirits and liquors which are worth checking out.

Boarding was via Gate F33, right at the end of the concourse. Oslo Gardermoen is laid out with a sense of pared back chic, with warm woods and straight lines. At Gate F33, passports and boarding passes were pre-checked and passengers filtered into a holding area.

It took very little time until boarding commenced and this was in three groups, starting with priority (and those who appreciated extra time to board). The airbridge offered my first chance to see that livery up close and personal.

Cabin & Seat

On boarding, Premium passengers turn left and Economy turn right in the traditional fashion.

Economy

Economy layout is typical for the Dreamliner with a 3-3-3 configuration and 32″ of pitch for most seats.

I had a window seat in Row 21. My flight was not full, but I did have two neighbours. For a roughly 10 hour flight to Fort Lauderdale, the seat was quite comfortable although the pitch of the side-wall does impinge on the space of taller passengers.

I was happy to see on the IFE screen that the planned 10 hour flight would be a bit shorter than planned at 9 hours 21 minutes.

Upgrade On Board to Premium

Cabin crew announced that an upgrade to Premium was available on board (the first time I’ve heard that when already seated) and for $250 US, seats were available. I checked with a friendly staff member if any window seats would be available and they informed me that once everyone was seated, they’d be certain of the number and position of seats. A few minutes later, they returned and had been able to find an upgraded Premium window seat (I like to film take-off for my YouTube reviews!).

The equation doesn’t always work. However, I did calculate the cost meals, snacks and beverages would cost around $50.

Norse Atlantic in Premium Experience

Cabin crew quickly got me settled in my new window seat and already the benefits were clear. The leg room is excellent and the seat pitch is a generous 43″. That’s substantially more than comparable Premium Economy seats on European airlines.

Seat comfort

You can see those distinctive Dreamliner windows – this seat was big enough to include two windows, if that helps you to visualise. As this flight was not fully loaded, I did also have the seat beside me free, but there was adequate room to clamber over your neighbour to access the rest room without concern.

I got set up for filming. Here I’m trying out a new GoPro camera accessory. Review coming shortly, but check out all my travel gear here.

The flight started its taxi to the runway pretty promptly. I spotted quite a few aircraft en route, but this was my first time seeing Flyr in real life. This low-cost Norwegian airline ceased operations on 31 January 2023, sadly.

I had missed out on a welcome drink by upgrading on board, but was interested to see what would be included or not for Premium passengers.

Norse Atlantic: Amenities & Service

One member of crew was assigned to either side of the Premium Cabin. On my side, the crew member made me feel very comfortable and no question was too problematic to answer. I was very impressed with the friendliness of this Fort Lauderdale-based crew.

Toilet

Two toilets are available exclusively for Premium passengers in the forward cabin in front of the first row on either side of the 2-3-2 configuration. These were standard size Dreamliner restrooms and were kept clean throughout the flight.

In-flight Entertainment (IFE)

The IFE screen is stored in one of the armrests in Premium. There was an adequate selection of mainly older films and tv series. Interestingly, there was no moving map, but the summary page shown on the screen below did keep passengers informed as to progress.

To open the IFE screen, passengers raise the “Lift” lever shown in the image below. There are some manual controls for channels and volume on the affixed control panel shown and a headphone jack and USB Type A charger underneath each screen. Headphones are provided to Premium passengers, while Economy passengers have to pay $3.50 US. So bring your own!

I do prefer individual climate control air vents, which these Dreamliners do have as well as a personal reading light and the ability to call a crew member (using the small control panel). A universal electrical socket is available in the central seat pillar: one for each passenger.

The seat tray is cleverly concealed in the left arm rest of the seat. When you find the right place to lift it out, it levers out quite easily. In the first position, it’s a helpful drinks tray, or it does fold out for laptops or for food service.

I had to be quite careful to return the tray to exactly its original place, or the armrest flap would not close properly.

Food & Drinks

It is remarkable how quickly the first drinks service came around after take-off (and it was very welcome!). It was unclear to me from reading the website in advance if Premium Passengers received ONE alcoholic drink and then soft drinks more liberally.

However, it soon became clear due to some thirsty co-passengers, that more than one adult beverage could be requested. If someone really wanted something, they simply had to ask. Staff always served just one small bottle per mixed drink (unlike some other airlines – thank you, Aer Lingus!).

Before long, the first meal service was served up. There was an option of chicken with barley, or roast salmon with dill mashed potatoes, spinach and vegetables. I went for salmon. It was served in a narrow cardboard tray with a fresh bread roll, butter and a chocolate dessert. There are no extras here: no side salad or fruit. However, I was more than satisfied with the salmon which was very tasty. In particular, those dill potatoes were unctuous with butter.

I got the chance to talk with some crew members after their busy first meal service. The food appeared to be operated out of the rear galley and services both the included meals for Premium guests as as the “to buy” options for Economy passengers. It’s a lot to keep on top of, but Norse seems to train everyone in keeping positive and responsive, as I saw only positive service on board.

Pizza for Second Service

Around two hours before landing, a second meal service or snack was served. This consisted of a sort of folded pizza, which was piping hot (I managed to get some tomato juice right down my shirt! It was the perfect pre-landing snack alongside some very tasty macarons. These I usually find to be very pasty in texture, but this brand was fresh with one fruity raspberry macaron and the other a salted caramel flavour.

Paying for additional snacks

There is a wide variety of snacks and light meals that can be ordered and paid for. The smoothies on offer (which I think are Norwegian) are really delicious.

I ordered some crisps to go with my soda. You can pay with a credit or debit card right away.

Fun Fort Lauderdale Activities

On Arrival: Norse Atlantic in Premium

Most passengers tried to get a nap or rest as the light started to fade on our journey West towards Florida. The majority of Dreamliner automatic blinds were set to darken out of respect for other guests, which is a nice touch. Everyone talks about how the increased oxygen supply on a typical Dreamliner reduces jetlag. As someone who does get jetlag, anything that promotes a better sleep on arrival works for me.

The 9.5 hours literally flew by. I got some work done, had a nice nap and enjoyed a gin and tonic on board. My upgrade was definitely worth the price! The other great thing about arriving in Fort Lauderdale (FLL) versus Miami is that the immigration and customs queues are a breeze. And if you have Global Entry, there was no line at all.

It was ten minutes from deplane to waiting outside Terminal 4 at FLL for my ride.

Norse Atlantic in Premium: Overall Impression

Norse Atlantic offers a decent standard of hard and soft product for less than comparable competitors. Economy seating is among the cheapest on the market. Even so, it was more comfortable and spacious than my Delta/Air France flights from Paris CDG to Atlanta in 2022. Yes, you have to pay for extras, but you can keep costs down through preparation.

Is Premium worth it?

The Premium service is worth the cost, in my opinion. Yes, the upgrade price is not inexpensive at $250 US. The benefits do accrue. Extra space, food, beverages, personalised service does help the 10 hours go by. I think returning to Europe on a red eye flight would be must more comfortable in this class of service.

At last, a sensibly priced carrier which is rightly increasing its footprint with more hubs and routes. Its success or failure will centre on attention to customer service. Watch this space.

Have you flown Norse Atlantic? What was your opinion? Please leave a comment below.

I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

2 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to NORSE ATLANTIC in PREMIUM – Oslo-Ft Lauderdale”

    • Well, I upgraded on board – they announced it as the door was closed and you could pay right away. I think you’re talking about ‘PlusGrade’ or similar where you make a bid ahead of time? If so, I’ve done that with a number of airlines. Normally, they get back to you around one week before the flight up to maybe 3-4 days ahead if it’s really late. They’ll let you know either way. Hope this helps.

      Reply

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