Norwegian 2013 Review

Norwegian LogoA year ago I wrote my first Norwegian review about my my experiences with Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (DY) in 2012. I continued flying Norwegian routes in Scandinavia during 2013 and here are my experiences for the year.

Norwegians fleet is relative new with decent seats and clean cabins. The overheads are spacious and will fit most “standard” carry-on luggage. See details on Norwegian’s website. Delays have been at a minimum this year and I have in general been pleased with the flight experience and service from both inflight and ground staff. I have only booked low fare tickets, as the prices in general are considerably cheaper than the more flexible flex fares. During promotions which run on a frequent basis it can be a huge price saver to book in bulk if future travel plans are already decided. A low fare booking does not include seat reservation and checked in baggage but both can be added for a fee varying on the different routes.

On a few occasions I have request a refund for unused low fare tickets. This was easily done online. On low fare tickets only taxes and fees minus an administration charge are refunded so not much is left. It’s possible to make some changes to low fare tickets but with all the fee associated this quick adds up and sometime buying a new low fare ticket can be cheaper and easier. Flex tickets can be fully refunded and changes can be done free of charge but the price of a flex ticket can easily more than the double of a low fare ticket.

In 2013 Norwegian introduced a new in flight entertainment system. The system is running over WiFi and you connect with your own device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. In my opinion this is a nice improvement by a low fare airline. Along with free WiFi access it’s possible to purchase online content such as movies. I have yet to tryout the system, as all my Norwegian flights have been relative short 30 minutes routes. The downside is that the Internet connection more often than not is unstable and slow… sometimes to the point where it’s not worth using it.

With “direct to gate” it’s possible to print a boarding pass from home and avoid self check-in and staffed 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 or are flying on a flex ticket) 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 getting a seat of your preference is highly increased.

“Norwegian Reward” is Norwegians frequent flyer program. The one and only benefit provided in this program is “CashPoints” earned from flying. These cash points can be used towards fully or partial paying for tickets.

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.

From time to time Norwegian have special offers for Reward members only. Unfortunately there isn’t much “special” about those offers. All in all the Norwegian Reward program is quite stale and worthless. My main reason for having an account is to have a single login to all my future reservations.

In conclusion Norwegian is an excellent low fare airline. When it comes to expectations it’s important to remember that this is a low fare airline and especially customer service and benefits are at a minimum. This should be taken into account when flying Norwegian. In comparison I have also been flying SAS (SK) several times this year and the flight experience are equally good but SAS customer service and benefits are at a higher level, so are the prices. Especially when flying short routes as I mainly do Norwegian is offering a very decent product at very fair prices. I have already made several bookings for 2014 and expect again this year to fly Norwegian on a frequent basis. I have also been looking into Norwegians long haul routes and might try one of those in the near future.

More reviews are available from Skytrax and TripAdvisor.

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