Norwegian Air: One of Our Favourite Airlines
Norwegian Air is a really fast growing low-cost airline with many routes within Europe to different holiday and business destinations across the globe. They have been rapidly expanding their flight routes throughout the years and now they are regarded as the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe. Because Norwegian Air has high-frequency domestic including international flights from Finland, Finnoy Travel has often flown with them. Simply, Norwegian Air is one of our favourite airlines. To share our experiences, we decided to write this Norwegian Air review.
Norwegian Isn't a Single Company
Norwegian Air works under a single brand but in the background there are multiple companies. The main company is called Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA that is registered to Norway. Travellers inside Europe are often flying with the Norwegian Air International that is an Irish company flying many intra-European flights. There is also its own company in the UK called Norwegian Air UK.
Young and Fast-growing Airline from Norway
Founded 24 years ago, Norwegian's fleet has over 150 aircraft including Boeing 737-800s, Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. They have both short and long-haul flights to more than 150 destinations in the world from hubs throughout Europe. The company has acquired consistently new aircraft for its rapid expansion. Unfortunately, the financial issues have forced the airline to sell some of its fleet.
Because we are living in Helsinki, we are mainly using Norwegian's Helsinki hub. In addition to Helsinki, Norwegian has many other hubs, just to mention Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Madrid, London, Malaga and many more. Norwegian is a true European airline flying almost to everywhere in Europe. However, in Eastern Europe their competitor Wizzair has a better route network. Norwegian has also a few destinations in Asia and in Africa and an increasing number of destinations in the US. With these brisk expansions by Norwegian, they are indeed one among the fastest growing global airline offering cheaper flights but committed to high quality services.
A Modern Day Airline with Low-cost Pricing Model
Norwegian boosts themselves for operating with some of the newest and greenest fleets in the world. Being that said, their aircraft has high fuel-efficiency which is environment-friendly because of reduced emissions, likewise it is good for passenger's wallet.
Norwegian has not just copied the low-cost model but they have improved it a lot. A good example is their loyalty program Norwegian Reward. Rarely do low-cost airlines have loyalty programs and Norwegian is one from the short lists. Norwegian's loyalty program is not a typical miles program rather it is based on payback model with some extra rewards.
Norwegian Air Shuttle's Financial Issues
Perhaps no one has missed the news about Norwegian Air's turbulent financial status during the last year. There have even been rumours about approaching bankruptcy of the airline but luckily, this thing remains fiction up to this date. Norwegian's management has been optimistic and one of their heads claimed that everything is under the control.
When an airline has financial issues, people tend easily to avoid buying new tickets from the concerned airline. This will consequently increase the risk of the bankruptcy. Norwegian is an important player in Europe's low-cost market and it would be sad to see it disappearing. Consumers would be the one to suffer. That is why it is not wise to stop using Norwegian's services even though risk level has been increased. Whenever you book a flight, you should always pay it with a credit card. By transacting with a credit card, you will most likely get your money back in case of worst situations.
Flying with Norwegian
Norwegian is a low-cost airline and that is why the ticket includes only the flight. You have to pay extra for assigned seats, baggage and on-board food. However, Norwegian has many benefits compared to other low-cost airlines. For example choosing the seat is free at the airport. Some of the planes are equipped with WiFi which is totally free to use.
We would say Norwegian is a mixing of a traditional and low-cost airline. The prices are moderately low but the ticket classes are similar to traditional airlines' economy tickets. Norwegian offers three ticket categories: Lowfare, Lowfare+ and Flexible Ticket. Lowfare+ includes a free seat selection and baggage. Flexible ticket is, as the word says, flexible with the changes.
There is no business class on Norwegian's planes. On economy routes, all seats are similar except some seats have a little more legroom which means comfort for every single passenger. On long-haul flights, Norwegian has a Premium Class.
Norwegian's short-haul fleet consists mainly of Boeing 737-800 planes. Norwegian has just acquired a few B737 MAX planes. A regular passenger may not probably notice any difference between these plane types but MAX is just a little bigger and it has longer range. That means, MAX can do trans-Atlantic flights without a need of re-fueling on the way.
Norwegian's Boeing 737-800 planes have new Boeing Sky Interior cabin. It looks spacious with colour changing lights. Seats are thin and comfortable enough for short-haul travelling. Since the planes are new, they are also really neat looking. But remember that Norwegian is a low-cost airline and no-one should expect much space around his/her seat. Even though there is not much legroom, we have never felt seats would have been too small.
Norwegian Air Review - Our Rating
Our Norwegian review is based on multiple flights we have flown by Norwegian. We have travelled from Helsinki for example to Rovaniemi, many cities in Spain and Dubai. We have also flown Norwegian's domestic flights in Spain. However, we have never tried Norwegian's long-haul fleet and therefore this review pertains to short-haul flights.
The reason for multiple Norwegian's flight is they have a good route network from Helsinki and cheaper prices. They are one of the most competitive airlines flying from Helsinki and their price level is often very affordable.
Comfiness of the Cabin
The cabin of Norwegian Boeing 737-800 is clean and comfortable. Seats are slim and modern. Boeing Sky Interior design makes the cabin to look fresh and really modern.
Customer Service and Professional Skills
In our opinion, Norwegian's crew are not the best in their friendliness. They are doing their job well but expecting a paint of smile on their faces may sometimes be too much. We have got a feeling that they are somehow stressed and work-overloaded.
To be honest, we have nothing to complain about their work quality. They know what they are doing and we have always got what we have asked and payed for. Pilots' announcements especially have always been made really well. From our several flights with them, Norwegian pilots had always made a smooth landing.
On-board Service of the Flight
Tickets do not include any on-board service. Menus are distributed in the beginning of flights and people may buy small snacks and drinks during the flight. The selection isn't that good. As other airlines, Norwegian is also selling peanuts, chips, chocolate and noodles. They have also a few warm options but the selection could be much better. So prepare to have your own food with you if you fly a longer route.
On short flights, there is one serving. During longer flights you have two chances to buy snacks and drinks. Between servings you may, of course, visit the galley to buy more food stuffs and/or drinks.
Price Level of the Ticket
Even though Norwegian is a low-cost airline, its quality is as good as many traditional airlines, like Finnair, can offer. Norwegian is a truly modern airline.
In contrast to regular airlines, Norwegian ticket prices are far cheaper. Norwegian has especially great offers and the luckiest people may find really cheap tickets. But do not expect as cheap tickets as Ryanair offers. That is because Norwegian concentrates more on quality compared to other low-cost airlines such as Ryanair.
Price to Quality Ratio
As we have told, Norwegian tickets are often really cheap. We also had emphasized that the quality is surprisingly good for a low-cost airline.
These two things together makes Norwegian's price-to-quality level high.
Norwegian is surely the best low-cost airline we know. There are things to be improved like on-board shop selection and crew friendliness. But so far, we really love this airline.
Wifi Makes Customers Annoyed
Norwegian has widely advertised about their free WiFi on board which has been often criticized by the public in social platforms due to its frequent unavailability during flights. From several flights we had with Norwegian whereas the aircraft was expected to have WiFi on-board, we have the same sentiment for not able to use it. Oftentimes, the crew has explained WiFi is not working due to technical issues.
We understand that when the service is free, you can not complain a lot. However, when the airline advertises about free WiFi actively, they must ensure that such service is available for their customers. Otherwise, it will just be a source of disappointment.
Norwegian has now introduced a paid WiFi service in addition to the free one. We have not been able to test it yet. However, we tried a similar service on Finnair's European flight and it worked surprisingly well. By making a service chargeable, there are less concurrent users and the quality stays better. As always, quality has its price.
Is Norwegian Air a Good Airline?
We from Finnoy Travel say yes, but Norwegian is not the perfect airline. They should especially fix the really annoying WiFi issue. In the low-cost class, they are still doing really well and reflecting Scandinavian quality.
Have you flown with Norwegian? What have been your experiences?
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