Did you book a Norse Atlantic flight from London to JFK and wonder what’s in store for you?
The good news is: yes, it’s legit (not a scam!), yes, it does depart from Gatwick, and yes, it actually lands in New York.
Norse Atlantic is one of the many budget airlines that connect Europe and New York. They focus on direct flights between major cities, fly to secondary airports and target cost-conscious travelers who are willing to trade certain amenities for lower fares, which means they can get away with offering their tickets for very cheap.
Most of the posts that were online when I flew were reviews of their Premium Class. So here is what you need to know if you are flying like a pleb in their Economy Light Class: no meals, no extra luggage, and no headphones included in the ticket price.
The Check-In Process for Norse Atlantic flights from London To New York
First, you have to check in online (24 hours or less before departure), and then head to the Norse Atlantic check-in desk when you arrive at the airport to get your physical ticket. This even applies if you only have hand luggage. It’s just the way they work and how they keep rates cheap. This applies to both flights from the North Terminal at Gatwick and Terminal 1 at JFK.
The queuing and waiting will take some time. From the end of the queue at Gatwick, it took over 1 hour because two separate passengers had issues and delayed the check-in process.
You are allowed an extra bag from one of the shops at Gatwick, so make use of that and grab yourself a nice lunch, snack and extra water. If you bring your own water bottle you can refill your water bottle at the toilets behind Pret A Manger.
The Flight And In-Flight Amenities From London To New York
Both Economy and Premium have four different fares that include different things you can add on, but the Basic Premium Light ticket is as stripped back as it gets: it doesn’t include a meal, you only get to take a 40 x 30 x 15 bag with you, and you are last to board.
The seats were comfortable with enough legroom and I don’t remember feeling cramped at all. Maybe it was because I was prepared for the worst so it actually was better than expected.
Each seat does have a screen on the back of the seat in front with a random selection of movies, TV shows and music, but you need to either buy or bring your own wired headphones with you to hear the sound.
There is also no live map of your flight in progress on the screen, all you get is a countdown and the current time at destination.
Flight duration for both ways is 8 hours and 10 mins, but both my flights landed earlier 45 – 60 minutes earlier (however, at JFK we had to queue 40 minutes to get to the terminal). Keep the 8 hours in mind, just to be on the safe side.
Although I didn’t book a meal, I had a sneak peak as the person next to me got one. It was a typical plane pasta meal that looked okay, but it didn’t seem like it was worth the extra £20 or so. I was happy with my Pret sandwich and assorted snacks.
Keep in mind that UK debit cards and pre-paid credit cards like Monzo and Revolut don’t work on board. However, they did try with mine and it did take it off my account a few days later. On the way back they didn’t want to try it at all. Keep that in mind if you want to buy a meal, snacks or headphones on board.
You will be allocated the worst seat possible (middle), unless you are really lucky or willing to pay extra to pick your seat. If there are enough seats you can sit somewhere else after take-off, but that’s never a guarantee of that. On my outbound flight, I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat, while on return I was allotted a middle seat, but due to an empty spot I was able to switch to a window seat.
At JFK Airport
When arriving at JFK, you’ll walk straight to customs/security, but keep in mind that there you won’t walk by any toilets. The first one you’ll come across is the one in the main hall.
In the main hall, you’ll join the queue. As a reference: I joined the back of the queue near the stairs and it took me about 1.5 hours before I was through. I started to panic when I saw that everyone had printed their ESTA and I did not, no reason to panic as they didn’t ask for mine.
You can get to Manhattan by subway, taxi, and even helicopter. If you’re keeping it budget-friendly go with the first option.
The metro does not go to JFK Airport, so to get to the closest metro station you have to take the monorail train called AirTrain that connects the different passenger terminals with the two nearby metro stations, Jamaica and Howard Beach. From there you can take the subway lines (E, J, Z, A, or LIRR) into Manhattan.
The food at JFK is super expensive and did not look good at all. On your way back I suggest you bring something from the city that you can take through TSA as well.
So all in all. Is it worth flying with Norse Atlantic?
I’d say Economy Light Class on Norse Atlanatic from London to NY is worth it if you get the cheapest ticket (that just includes the small bag) and make sure to bring food and everything you’ll need with you. Have zero expectations and it won’t disappoint. At the moment, I can see the cheapest flights (under $350) are right before summer and in September.