Updated at 16:00 with comment from Norwegian Air.
Just days ago Simple Flying reported that Norwegian was expanding their passenger offering with free Wi-Fi. Now the age old saying goes “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. While Norwegian has been proudly displaying their new WiFi offering, it seems that lounge access will cost passengers even more now. While previously all Premium passengers had lounge access included in their tickets, as of December, only Premium Flex passengers get lounge access. This is likely a cost-saving measure by the carrier who was reportedly at the brink of a financial crisis in late December.
Why Does This Matter?
Norwegian is known for their cut-price transatlantic ticketing. As such, those travellers who are looking to get the cheapest fair from A-B likely won’t be affected by the change in policy. Instead, the passengers who fly in Norwegian’s Premium cabin will be affected. As of 21st December, Norwegian stopped offering lounge access with most premium tickets. Now, only holders of “Premium Flex” tickets will be able to access the perk. Now, it seems that with the additional cost of a flexible ticket, it definitely isn’t worth buying the ticket solely for lounge access.
What Are My Options?
Obviously, the first option is to purchase a flexible ticket, however, unless you need the flexibility provided by this ticket type, it’s not worth the cost. Instead, a number of programs exist to allow access to lounges. First, you should check if your credit card provider includes lounge access. Failing that, there are a number of other ways to gain lounge access. The best thing is that all will cost less than purchasing a flexible ticket.
There are a number of websites where you can purchase lounge access. Let’s take a look at Gatwick’s South Terminal. Through LoungeBuddy we can purchase access to the Regus Express Business Lounge for just £14, or for £40, we could access the Number 1 Lounges lounge. You could also book a lounge direct through Gatwick Airport for £24-32, however, registering with Gatwick Airport gives 10% off.
The final option is to become a member of Priority Pass. Priority pass has a range of memberships to suit all travellers. Infrequent travellers can purchase a membership that allows them to purchase lounge access. Alternately, the program’s other membership tiers include lounge access for free. Additionally, you can purchase a Priority Pass membership with Marriott Rewards points or Hilton Honors points.
Simple Flying contacted Norwegian who told us: “Norwegian Premium customers will continue to receive exceptional value with class leading legroom, a superior cabin environment and high quality onboard service at affordable fares. Premium customers travelling on flexible tickets receive complimentary lounge access at selected airports in addition to all Premium bookings made before 21 December 2018, as per the original terms of their ticket.”
The went on to add: “We continuously evaluate our product and service to ensure that we are meeting our customers’ expectations. Customers can pay for lounge access if they wish and Norwegian Reward members can benefit from discounted entry at London Gatwick.”
Will you miss lounge access with Premium tickets? Let us know in the comments down below!