Norwegian is to restrict free airport lounge access to only its highest fare paying passengers.

A change in policy means that only PremiumFlex passengers will receive complimentary lounge access, the budget airline confirmed.

However, all Premium bookings made before December 21 will receive complimentary lounge access.

A Norwegian spokesperson said: “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.

“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.”

Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website headforpoints.com, said: “Whilst Norwegian has well publicised financial difficulties, this is still a disappointing move.

“Norwegian was the only major airline in the UK offering lounge access to passengers in its Premium Economy cabin – this is not a benefit offered by British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.

“The timing is even more surprising as Norwegian was meant to be main user of the new ‘My Lounge’ in London Gatwick’s South Terminal which opened a couple of weeks ago.

“Whilst independently operated by No 1 Lounges and accepting cash visitors, it is branded as “The home of Norwegian” although it will no longer be seeing many Norwegian passengers.

“Norwegian still offers a good Premium Economy product with a bigger seat than offered by British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, as well as free reservations and the use of fast track security channels, but the loss of lounge access definitely removes some of the shine.”