Since 2012 I have frequently been flying Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (IATA: DY) in Scandinavia. This is my 2015 review. My trips with Norwegian went significantly down in 2015 as my travel patterns and destinations changed. Last year I only had seven flight with Norwegian.
Flights and service
Norwegian provides an absolute basic product (while not as basic as Ryanair) and often have very competitive prices. Norwegian’s fleet consists of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Boeing 737-800 planes. The Dreamliners are used for long haul routes and the Boeing 737-800’s for short haul routes. I have only been flying the Boeing 737-800 planes. Cabins and seats are clean, and the Boeing 737-800’s are generally pleasant. No onboard service is offered on short flights in Scandinavia (with a few exceptions) but is more normal on intra-European flights. The overheads are spacious and will fit most “standard” carry-on luggage (size: 55 x 40 x 23, weight: low fare: 10kg, and flex and premiumflex 15 kg). As good as everything besides the ticket itself is associated with a fee. Information about baggage and other fees are listed at Norwegian’s website “Travelling with us“. While Norwegian has quite strict policies, they are generally not being unreasonable when it comes to enforcement.
The staff, including ground, cabin and customer service, are generally offering a professional and friendly service, but I have occasionally been in contact with some less helpful ground staff. In 2015 my flights had no or less significant delay. Sometimes this was not well informed, for example, SMS’s with information about delays have at times been more delayed than the flights.
Wifi and in-flight entertainment
Norwegian offers free WiFi on most routes. The stability of the connection is unfortunately often questionable. The in-flight entertainment system is based on the WiFi and “bring your own device” such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, and offers video-on-demand, live TV news, and some magazines. I have yet to try out the entertainment system in full due to short flights (30 – 60 minutes) and prices.
In 2015, Norwegian made some significant changes to their loyalty program called ‘Norwegian Reward’. I have in my earlier reviews critiqued Norwegian Reward as being close to completely useless, but the recent changes have made it more attractive for frequent flyers. The essence of Norwegian Reward is the option to earn ‘CashPoints’ (2% CashPoints on low fare tickets and 10% CashPoints on flex fare tickets). Changes have been made both to how CashPoints can be earned and used. Besides flying it’s now also possible to earn CashPoint through car rentals and hotel bookings. CashPoints can are useable for full or partial payment of flight tickets, and now also be used for extra baggage, seat reservation, cancellation, and insurance booking changes. On top, with enough flights (12-18 flights within a 12-month consecutive period), it’s possible to earn different benefits. After 12 flights it’s possible to pick between +2% CashPoint boost, free seat reservation, or free fast track (at selected airports). After 18 flights it’s possible to get free extra baggage (20 KG). Note that all rewards can be used unlimited and that it takes 12 or 18 flights for each reward. For example, after 12 flights you can chose free seat reservation. You then need additional 12 or 18 flights to select an extra reward. More details about the loyalty program are available at the Norwegian Reward website.
All in all, Norwegian continues to provide a stable product at a decent price. As I keep pointing out in my yearly Norwegian reviews, it’s absolutely essential to recognize and remember that Norwegian is a low fare airline. Knowing what to expect and set expectations accordingly will make things easier, for example, to remember that no perks are provided, and basically anything such as baggage, drinks, etc. is associated with a fee. Especially the customer service cannot match legacy airlines and service is generally not flexible. According to other reviews, a common complaint is how Norwegian deals with long delays and cancellations. It’s very positive that Norwegian has upgraded they loyalty program Norwegian Reward, and now provide different benefits besides the option to earn credit for future flights. While my travel patterns have changed, I’m also in 2016 expecting to book a few Norwegian flights.
Feel free to post your own experiences with Norwegian.
More Norwegian reviews can are available at Skytrax.
Review about Norwegians US-EU routes can be found at Yelp.