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EXCLUSIVE: Norwegian drops lounges for Premium passengers, charging for carry on baggage

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In an effort to “move from growth to profitability,” Norwegian is continuing to tweak both its route network and its offering.

Norwegian will no longer be offering lounge access to PremiumFlex passengers.

The airline has quietly removed details of lounge access from its website, although they missed a few references to it, and it is no longer showing as a perk for new bookings.

It is unclear what this means for passengers who booked PremiumFlex before today on the assumption they would have lounge access.  (EDIT:  Norwegian has confirmed to us that any PremiumFlex bookings made before 22nd January will retain lounge access, except at Los Angeles.)

MyLounge Gatwick South seating

Previously, Norwegian bundled access to certain lounges – including the My Lounge at London Gatwick South – into its premium economy tickets.  My Lounge at Gatwick South even has “The home of Norwegian” written on the wall!

And yet, if you look at the benefits of booking Norwegian Premium now (click to enlarge, the column on the right should read Premium Flex):

Norwegian Premium Flex benefits

….. there is no mention of lounge access at all.

Norwegian began retrenching on lounge access in early 2019, when it was removed as a benefit for ALL Premium passengers.  As we covered here, it was restricted to only those on its fully flexible PremiumFlex tickets.  Lounge access on what was effectively a premium economy seat was a major differentiator for Norwegian as most airlines only include lounge access for business class passengers and above.

It’s hard to imagine this move will have much of an impact on Norwegian’s financials.  How many Premium customers were travelling on the more expensive Flex tickets?

We can safely assume that Norwegian was not paying the £24 for My Lounge Gatwick South advertised on the No 1 Lounges site, given the ongoing Virgin Flying Club promotion selling £15 passes to anyone.  If Norwegian was paying £12 per head I’d be surprised.  Cutting lounge access can can only be saving Norwegian a couple of hundred pounds per flight at most, and if just one Premium passenger decides to fly with another airline as a result, it will be a loss-making move.

Norwegian is now charging for carry on baggage too

Norwegian has also tweaked its baggage policy this week.

The airline has decided that it will be pursuing a full-on ‘scorched earth’ Ryanair-style policy when it comes to inclusive baggage on its cheapest fares …. although, to be fair, it is also increasing the size and weight limits of its personal items and checked luggage allowances. The new policy applies to flights booked on or after 23rd January 2020.

The new size limits are:

Under-seat personal item: 30cm x 20cm x 38 cm (free on all ticket types)

Overhead cabin bag: 55cm x 40cm x 23cm (chargeable for LowFare ticket holders)

Checked bag: 23kg per piece (chargeable for LowFare ticket holders)

…… with the personal item and overhead cabin bag not exceeding a combined 10kg in weight, or 15kg on Premium tickets.

This is how Norwegian shows it online (click to enlarge):

Norwegian baggage policy

That means that now, depending on which fare you book, you will get:

On a LowFare ticket, you can now only bring a personal item which must fit under your seat. An additional normal sized cabin bag which will go in the overhead lockers must be purchased for $8-$12 each way, depending on the route.

The LowFare+ ticket includes a personal item, to fit under your seat, as well as a normal sized cabin bag

Flex and PremiumFlex all include a personal item, cabin bag and two pieces of checked luggage (23kg)

Whether these changes really do help Norwegian “move from growth to profitability”, or put it on the road to ruin, remains to be seen ……

Comments (57)

  • Don Max says:

    The Beginning of the End of Norwegian.

  • Dubious says:

    I find the diagram misleading – makes it seem as though the bags go under the seat one is sat on rather than the one in front…

    We need less of this sort of encouragement- I have made two flight in the past 12 months where people have put bags in my bag & foot space!

  • r* says:

    To not even offer a cabin bag long haul is just cynical. They will just be excluded from any flight searches i do now as thats a race to the bottom too far

  • _nate says:

    Norwegian was not Ryanair. It was cheap but pleasant and fair. If it is intending to become a truly miserable airline then I will stop flying with them.

    • marcw says:

      I thik they where customer friendly, in all senses. Slowly they are becoming a Ryanair like entity.

      • Shoestring says:

        Ryanair’s financial performance is nothing short of superb at the moment, despite various setbacks – must have struck Norwegian as a much better model than their own in certain respects such as luggage/ income from Extras

  • Tony says:

    Have not flown for a couple of years on them as found fares not competitive and this sort of move will only make them worse.
    Personally will be surprised if they make it into 2021.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think 787 issues hit them hard. Tactical retreat while they regroup and think again? I hope they do survive into 2021 though even if it’s just for the competition.

  • Gav says:

    Am sure BA and Vs will be looking at this very carefully, if Norwegian can continue to undercut them on the likes of Sky scanner etc, it’s only a matter of time before they introduce something similar. It wasent that long ago hand baggage only fairs were introduced, before that paid seating etc… where one starts they all eventually follow.