I’m not sure if there’s any other person in all of Greater Chicago area that is more excited than me that Norwegian Air is now operating flights to Europe out of Chicago O’Hare. When I lived in Orlando, I ran the Oslo, Norway half marathon in 2015 and I had found an incredible deal on Norwegian Air to Oslo. I was skeptical when I booked it because it was so cheap, but I decided to give it a go, and I’m so glad that I did. Honestly, their planes are just as great, if not nicer than any other plane I’ve flown internationally and for a fraction of the price.
You can get a regular economy seat for dirt cheap, but it doesn’t include any luggage, meal service or seat selection. However, you can add on any of these items separately, or you can choose the flex + option, which includes one bag, meal service, and seat selection for only about $99.
Norwegian Air just launched their new Chicago to London direct route in March of this year, so they were starting their prices reallllllllly low…. I’m talking $179 flights one-way! I had already been planning a Euro-trip with some friends to go to Munich but decided to add London onto the trip because I knew I wouldn’t find any better deals from Chicago to Europe. Usually, when I book a Euro Trip, I just find the cheapest flight from the USA to Europe, no matter where it lands me in Europe, and then figure it out from there. Once you’re in Europe, it’s super easy and cheap to travel around, so it doesn’t really matter where you start if you can get over there affordably.
When I went to book the flight, I noticed that Norwegian Air’s premium economy fare was only $569. The premium economy class is basically their version of first class. It has seats double the size of economy with footrests and recliners. I couldn’t pass this deal up, as $569 is essentially what you would pay on any other airline for just regular economy. So, I decided to treat myself on the way to London and go with the premium economy ticket.
I was beyond pleased with my experience in premium economy. I was able to check two bags and carry on a piece of hand luggage. I used to travel with just a carryon always, but now that I’m into this fashion blogging gig, I do nottttt travel light. Generally, with the premium economy fare, you also get lounge access with a special, expedited security lane. Since Norwegian is still so new to Chicago O’Hare, they are still building the lounge, but they were still amazing and gave me a $20 airport voucher to use for food and drinks on the other side of security. Once on board, the flight attendants immediately came up and asked if I wanted anything to drink before we even took off. The seats were extremely comfortable, I honestly could’ve fit two of me in the seats, and I could fully extend my legs without hitting the seat in front of me.
Shortly after takeoff, the meal service began. They had three meal options—steak, chicken or fish (if you have dietary restrictions you can specify beforehand, and they will accommodate you). I usually do not eat meat, never mind fish, on flights because it weirds me out, but the flight attendant assured me I would not be disappointed. I opted for the steak, and if I had been blindfolded and not known I was on an airplane, I would’ve thought I was at a classy steakhouse—SO delicious! The filet came with potatoes, asparagus, a small side salad, and macaroons for dessert. Also, the guy next to me got the salmon and said it was terrific as well.
After dinner, I watched a movie on my personal television. They had plenty of movie options and TV shows to keep you entertained for the entire 9 hours. Also, on the TV screens, they had a “snack bar” page where you could order complimentary drinks (yes, alcoholic bevvies were for free too) and additional snacks were available for a small fee. I ended up falling asleep during the movie because the seats were so comfortable and I didn’t wake up until breakfast, 6 hours later. They kept breakfast light with a fruit salad, meat and cheese plate. I was so happy when I landed in the U.K. to have had a great meal and even better night’s sleep.
After three weeks in Europe, I was kicking myself for not booking myself in Premium Economy on the way home too, so I called the airline to see if I could upgrade still. They informed me that I could upgrade or I could “bid” on an upgrade, which is such an excellent feature. So, instead of paying the $400 for the upgrade, you can go on and basically place a bet for however much you’d be willing to pay for an upgrade. Really makes you think though. I thought to myself, I don’t really neeeeeed the upgrade… but it would be nice. I bid $100 and figured if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. Sure enough, 36 hours before departure I got an email saying my bid was accepted! Now this obviously is dependent on which flight you’re on, how many open seats are in Premium Economy, and what other people have bid for. Obviously, you will not be charged for your bid unless you are actually upgraded. I think I got veryyy lucky that my $100 bid was accepted, but I’ll take it!
I was even more excited because I knew I’d be able to use their airport lounge too! I got to the Gatwick Airport extra early to enjoy this feature and was so happy I had access to it because the Gatwick airport was a messssss! It was super crowded, and I was thrilled to have this little private oasis to relax in before my flight. The lounge has free wifi and includes both food and drinks. I don’t usually drink alcohol on my trips back to the States, as I like to try to stay awake on the flight and get back on track, but I took advantage of the free food for sure! They had one station with soup, salad, fruit and light snacks, which I had as a first course. Next, they hand you a menu when you enter the lounge, and you’re allowed to pick one entrée off of it—I chose the Yorkshire Pudding, and it did not disappoint. Lastly, they have a coffee and dessert station, which I went a little overboard on, but DANG those brownies were good. 😊
It’s safe to say that I will be flying this Chicago to London route with Norwegian quiteeee a bit! Moreover, now that I’ve had the Premium Economy experience, I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to regular economy. If you follow me on Instagram, I documented my whole experience on my stories and created a highlight on my profile called “Norweigan Air,” so go on over and check it out!