Norwegian 2012 review

Norwegian LogoDuring the last six months I have been flying frequently with Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (IATA: DY) between Copenhagen (CPH) and Aalborg (AAL), and also did a single London Gatwick (LGW) – Copenhagen (CPH) trip so decided it was time to post a review for my 2012 experiences.

I have good experiences with both the ground and cabin staff. They offer a friendly and professional service. Also my single experience with customer service regarding a refund was positive.

All my bookings have been low fare tickets. Especially during promotions Norwegian has been offering some very competitive prices. Ordering a bit ahead can be a huge price saver. Ordering tickets through Norwegians website is straightforward. An extra fee is charged for seat selection and checked in baggage. It’s possible to cancel a low fare ticket up to four hours after booking without penalties. This can easily be done through their website.

Besides free WiFi on selected planes (more on that later) Norwegian offers no kind of perks such as free on board service like coffee, newspapers etc., but different beverages along with snacks and sandwiches can be purchased aboard some routes. When travelling domestic with only a carry-on this is less of an issue because of the quick flight (~30 min.) and I’ll normally arrive at the airport 30 – 60 min. before boarding.

With “straight to gate” it’s possible to print a boarding pass from home and avoid self check-in and counters in the airport. The main disadvantage is that you will not be assigned a seat until boarding the plane (unless you paid in advance) meaning that whatever seat is available during boarding will be assigned. Instead I can recommend checking in (again) at the airport, either at a self-service kiosk or at a staffed counter, even when you have already printed a boarding pass and are travelling with a carry-on item only. This way you are assigned a seat a bit earlier and the chance of ending in an aisle or window seat is highly increased.

Norwegian’s fleet mainly consists of new flights with decent seats and clean cabins. The overheads are spacious and will fit most “standard” carry-on luggage. Norwegian allows one free carry on bag. The maximum size requirements are very fair. See details on Norwegian’s website. I did take the chance a few times and brought an extra carry on item in the form of a backpack and I noticed that this seems to be very common among my co-passengers. So far there has been no issues, but according to the terms Norwegian can require that extra carry on items are checked-in which will result in a fee.

Free WiFi is offered on selected flights. My overall experience with the WiFi has not been good. If it’s working at all it has been very slow so don’t count on sending a few e-mails, reading the news, get the last “social networking” updates, or sharing a few documents while flying with Norwegian.

About 1/3 of the flights were delayed 30 – 60 minutes. Norwegian has an nice SMS service so it’s easy to keep updated about delays, gate changes etc.

Norwegian Reward

Norwegian’s frequent flyer program “Norwegian Reward” is pretty useless. The only benefit is that you’ll earn “CashPoints” every time you fly. The CashPoints can be used towards purchase through Norwegian’s website. One CashPoint equals 1 NOK.

Norwegian offers:

  • 2% CashPoint on low fare tickets.
  • 10% CashPoint on flex fare tickets.

This bonus only applies to the actual airfare price after excluding taxes and fees.

The best benefit of being a member of Norwegian Rewards is that you do not have to type in all your information every time you order a ticket and it’s easy to manage your bookings…

Conclusion

I have yet to experience how Norwegian deals with abnormalities like long delays, cancelations, over bookings etc. This is in general what differentiates airlines. In the past I have had a few trips with other European low cost carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair, Norwegian is definitely the better of the three and is comparable to US based Southwest Airlines.

I am most likely gonna be a frequent traveler with Norwegian in 2013 as well. Overall Norwegian is offering a good product at a fair price with no perks and options for frequent flyers.

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