Jonas Rask Eilersen
Norwegian B787-8 Premium Class
Stockholm - Bangkok, Boeing 787-8 Premium Class (Business Class)
5th October 2015

This is another of the world’s fastest growing airlines, and us Scandinavians have known them for a while as a superb low-cost carrier. With their relatively new intercontinental flights, onboard 787 Dreamliners, the airline has introduced a Premium Class, which is now being sold as Business Class. We wanted to see how they compare to the competition; so we’re here reviewing them as if they were a business class carrier.

Check In
This was super fast; I was flying from Copenhagen via Stockholm, so I’d already checked in at Copenhagen. Norwegian does not allow online check-in, but I’d selected my seat online. There was nobody ahead of me and I dropped off my bag at the automatic bag drop. It’s frighteningly efficient, with staff on hand to assist.
The Lounge
Norwegian works with the Menzies Lounge at Arlanda’s Terminal 5. This is nothing to write home about. It was practically devoid of people when I visited, and while the receptionist was friendly, the whole space was just very uninspiring (despite the views to the apron). Poor selection of food, drink and snacks. Wifi was ok.
I was not very happy with this aspect of the journey. There was no business class priority boarding. Even worse was the fact that the gate personnel called everybody to the gate with repeated “gate closing” messages – when in fact the aircraft was not nearly ready. Hence, all passengers were waiting in the gate lounge and I had to stand up for close to 40 minutes before being allowed on board. Boarding was via an air bridge.
The Cabin, Seat and Service
Immediate impressions were good; the Thai stewardesses were very friendly and they directed me left into the business cabin. First surprise: I was the single passenger in the cabin (a first for me on an intercontinental flight).
Let me make this clear: Norwegian does not offer a business class cabin that can compete with any legacy carrier; particularly the seats are nowhere near the competition, and recline modestly for a business product. However, they are very comfortable for lounging, and the footrest is good. The seat has no bells and whistles in terms of mechanics; but there are electrical outlets, reading lamp, call buttons – and the cabin overall seems really roomy, airy, clean and neat.
The 787 is a wonderful aircraft to fly – primarily in terms of the air pressure. However, the much-vaunted “James Bond” windows (that are dimmed using a sort of gas) did not get my heart racing – and it didn’t even block out all the light.
Food and Drink
This is an area where I got very confused; flying Premium entitles you to free meals but it all feels very basic, despite the Scando-chic packaging. Don’t get me wrong, it was actually quite delicious – but just very…small… Also, the wine was simply “red or white” and the Thai stewardess, while friendly, seemed clueless. Apparently I was not entitled to a second glass of wine – nor water (!); so I felt bad for asking for more which I really should not when flying business class.
Inflight Entertainment
Each seat has its own tablet, which runs on the Android system; even in business class, the content is payable (which I found odd). The good thing is that it works well, is fast, and has a great selection of quality entertainment. Refreshingly, it is not censored too much either in terms of content, so it’s not just Disney movies or heavily edited films that are available.
Despite the late departure from Stockholm, we arrived on time to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. There was no priority disembarkation – just a mad scrum.
The value is incredible, but this product is simply not business class; it’s a very good premium economy product. The crew were clueless. I would happily fly them again (and have, in fact, done so several times – my further trips have confirmed my observations in this review). The aircraft is fabulous, particularly due to the air pressure, which really does not induce jetlag as severely as other aircraft. At the right price, I would absolutely fly them again.