Some passengers now say booking premium tickets on Norwegian Air wasn’t quite everything it was made out to be at the time of booking. Recent rule changes restricting lounge access have made some of the airline’s premium cabin tickets decidedly less premium and, in most cases, flyers won’t learn the bad news until arriving at the airport.
Low fare long-haul carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Premium cabin fares can be a pretty good all-around deal. In some cases, the premium tickets can cost less than an economy class international ticket on competing carriers, but the fare includes perks like free checked bags, extra-legroom, priority boarding and, until recently, lounge access prior to departure.
Unfortunately, a recent rule change may mean some Norwegian Premium passengers will be surprised to learn they won’t be getting everything they paid for when they arrive at the airport and its appears there may be very little recourse for those travelers affected. Norwegian’s lounge access perk is already among the most restrictive in the industry. Access is limited to international travelers who purchased Premium or PremiumFlex tickets departing from a handful of airports. Passengers are only permitted to visit the lounges prior to departure and not between connecting flights or upon arrival.
Now, One Mile at a Time reports that the airline quietly eliminated the lounge perk from Premium fares and will only grant lounge access (at a limited number of affiliated lounges) to flyers holding PremiumFlex tickets. Until the recent change, the more expensive PremiumFlex option was basically identical to the Premium booking, but with more flexibility to cancel or reschedule travel.
It appears, however, that in at least one case, a FlyerTalk member booked Premium tickets with the promise of lounge access only to learn the fare class no longer includes that particular perk. According to the passenger, the airline was not especially interested in addressing the discrepancy.
“I recently spotted lounge access is now only a perk you get if you book a PremiumFlex ticket, so I contacted Norwegian via their chat service today to query how to get into the lounge and get an assurance my ticket was not affected,” FlyerTalker “genian” wrote earlier this month. “After a painfully long exchange, I was told I couldn’t enter the lounge as I didn’t have a PremiumFlex ticket. I argued as it was included at the time I purchased the ticket, they were obliged to provide me with the service. The agent eventually agreed, but said I would have to submit a refund claim to see if anything could be done. I was told this could take 4-6 weeks to get an answer – I fly on 2 Feb. I’ve submitted a claim so I guess I now have to wait and hope they’re sensible about this in time.”