Norwegian Removes Lounge Access From Last Remaining Passengers

In a further move aimed at moving away from growth and shifting towards profitability, Norwegian Air Shuttle is cutting lounge access to premium economy passengers.

This latest move by the third-largest low-cost European carrier behind easyJet and Ryanair comes after a string of other steps designed to make the airline profitable.

Norwegian is scrapping lounge access. Photo: Norwegian

Norwegian had already restricted lounge access for many of its premium economy passengers just over a year ago.

Customers were not buying expensive tickets for lounge access

The popular Scandinavian budget airline decided that of its two types of passengers only those with PremiumFlex tickets would be eligible for lounge access. Now they too have lost the perk that was available for those passengers who bought the airline’s most expensive long-haul tickets.

It would appear that, having crunched the numbers, Norwegian decided people were not booking the more expensive fare so that they could have access to an airport lounge. Rather than making an announcement, Norwegian just removed all details of lounge access from its website.

Norwegian is now charging for carry-on bags

In another area where Norwegian Air Shuttle was different from other low-cost carriers, you used to be able to have a free carry-on.

As of January 23rd, 2020, this is now no longer available for people traveling on Norwegians cheapest fares. Instead, budget-minded travelers will be charged $8 for short-haul flights and $12 for a long-haul flight.

Some passengers will now have to pay for a carry-on. Photo: Norwegian

Norwegian put a good spin on their decision to start charging for carry-ons with a statement about the new policy carried by the Daily Express, which reads:

“It’s important for us that everyone has a good travel experience when they fly Norwegian. It is a common misperception that there is enough room in the cabin for all passengers to bring an overhead cabin bag. However, most of our aircraft carry 186 passengers and has space for around 80 overhead cabin bags. Now, with the new policy in place, our goal is that boarding will be smoother for our passengers, we can avoid spending time rearranging carry-on baggage in the overhead lockers and help ensure that our aircraft depart on time.”

With every other low-cost airline charging for carry-ons, it is not surprising that Norwegian has seen this as an opportunity to make a little extra money.

Norwegian needs to be more like Ryanair

Late last year, the Oslo headquartered airline announced that it was embarking on a two billion crowns ($234 million) cost-cutting plan that included dropping routes and shutting several bases.

The bases earmarked for closure are Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and Palma de Mallorca and all short-haul flights from Rome’s Fiumicino airport (FCO).

Norwegian is cutting costs to save $234 million. Photo: Norwegian

Regarding transatlantic flights, Norwegian will shut its bases at New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) and T. F. Green Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island.

It is unfortunate when an airline cuts certain routes and gets rid of perks like lounge access, but is certainly understandable as to why Norwegian is making these moves.

For years Norwegian was focused solely on growth rather than the bottom line and now realizes that if it is to survive it needs to be more like Ryanair.