Norwegian 2014 review

Norwegian LogoSince 2012 I have frequently been flying Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (IATA: DY) in Scandinavia. This is my 2014 review (see my reviews for 2012 and 2013).

Overall not much have changed. Norwegian is offering a decent soft and hard product for a low fare carrier. The staff, both when it comes to ground, cabin and customer service, are offering a professional and friendly service. However, occasionally when it comes to minor complications or questions the staff is not always helpful. Even that I have not had major issues this year, Norwegian is known for a lack of service during abnormalities such as delays.

Norwegians fleet consists of new airplanes with decent seats and clean cabins. Most routes are served by Boeing 737-800 planes. The overheads are spacious and will fit most “standard” carry-on luggage. As with other low fare carriers benefits and services are at an absolute minimum and policies are strictly enforced. No onboard service is offered on short flights. Norwegian has three types of tickets: LowFare, LowFare+, and Flex.  I have only booked LowFare tickets and have got some cheap fares during promotions which run on a frequent basis. On a few occasions Norwegian was about 50% cheaper than the competitors. LowFare tickets include one piece of hand luggage (max 10kg, 55x40x23cm, see more details on Norwegian’s website). Checked in baggage and seat selection all involve a fee. See all optional services and charges on Norwegian’s website. Norwegian also offers LowFare+ tickets that include one piece of checkedin baggage and seat selection at a discount, and Flex tickets that includes checkedin baggage, seat selection, fast track through security at selected airports, and some change and refund options. See more details on Norwegian’s website.

A nice feature is free WiFi available on selected flights. The WiFi connection can be a hit or miss. Unfortunately in my case it has mostly been a miss, 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. Norwegian also offers a flight entertainment system making it possible to purchase online content such as movies. The system is running over WiFi and you connect with your own device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Due to short flights and prices I have yet to tryout the entertainment system. It’s nice that Norwegian does offer some sort of entertainment system but I am not impressed and do not expect to use it in it’s current state.

On routes within the Nordic countries and from the Nordic countries to Europe Norwegian offers “direct to gate”. With“direct to gate” it’s possible to print a boarding pass from home. The main disadvantage is that you will not be assigned a seat until boarding the plane (unless you paid in advance or have a flex ticket). To significantly decrease the chance of ending up in a middle seat I can recommend checking in (again) at the airport. This way you are assigned a seat earlier and the chance of getting a seat of your preference is highly increased.

My main issue with Norwegian continues to be be their so called loyalty program called Norwegian Reward. The program offers 2% CashPoints on low fare tickets and 10% CashPoints (1 CashPoint = 1 NOK) on flex fare tickets. The bonus only applies to the actual fare excluding taxes and fees. These points can be used towards partial or fully paying for tickets. The good thing: easy to understand and use, earn CashPoint and use them on tickets. Less useful: the earning rate is so low that it’s not worth choosing Norwegian over other airlines, and it’s the only benefit. Norwegian claims to offer special deals to members, however, this does not seems to be the case as the page with these “special offers” has been blank for years. It’s understable that a low fare airline such as Norwegian cannot match frequent flier programs offered by legacy airlines and alliances, but having special deals or releasing offers earlier to members would be a nice improvement.

In conclusion I continue to be satisfied with Norwegian, however, when SAS occasionally can match the prices of Norwegian SAS continues to be my preferred airline for Scandinavian routes as more benefits are offered such as coffee/tea, news papers, and better service during abnormalities such as delays. It is essential to remember that Norwegian is a low fare airline and expectations should be adjusted accordingly. I have only experienced short delays and have not yet experienced how Norwegian deals with abnormalities including long delays, cancellations etc. Also in 2015 I will continue to fly Norwegian.

More reviews can be found at Skytrax