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Norwegian B737 at Krakow Airport
A few years ago, we made a weekend getaway from Helsinki to Krakow on the wings of Norwegian Air.

Review: Norwegian Air Shuttle

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Norwegian Air - One of Our Favourite Airlines

Norwegian Air Shuttle used to be one of the fastest-growing airlines in Europe a few years ago. It had many leisure routes in Europe and also many medium-haul as well as long-haul flights to different destinations around the globe. Unfortunately, the airline faced a severe financial problem which consequently made Norwegian a much smaller company. Luckily, the airline is now back in the air and flying again to many destinations in Europe and a few destinations outside the European zone.

In summer 2022, we were happy to notice that Norwegian was again a viable option to fly for a summer holiday. The airline had flights to many summer destinations on sale. We ended up choosing Tivat, Montenegro where Norwegian took us safely.

Low-cost Airline from Norway

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA was founded already in 1983. It is the fourth largest low-cost carrier in Europe behind Wizz Air, easyJet and Ryanair. The company has two subsidiaries: Norwegian Air Norway and Norwegian Air Sweden. All the companies operate under the same Norwegian brand so passengers rarely know with which company they are flying.

Business Model

Norwegian is a low-cost airline which boosts itself by operating with some of Europe's newest and greenest fleets. Having that said, aircraft have high fuel efficiency which reduces emissions and fuel burn. With the current high energy costs, lower operating costs are also good for passengers' wallets.

Norwegian has not just copied the low-cost business model but the airline has made it even better. A good example of that is the airline's loyalty program Norwegian Reward. Low-cost airlines rarely have loyalty programs but Norwegian is one on the shortlist. Norwegian Reward is not a typical mile collecting program rather it is based on a payback model with extra rewards. Travellers get Cashpoints that can be used to pay for Norwegian flights in the future.

Fleet

Norwegian's short-haul fleet consists mainly of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline has also acquired a few Boeing 737 MAXes. A regular passenger may not notice differences between these types but a MAX aircraft is just a little bigger and it has a longer range. That means MAX can fly longer routes without a need for refuelling on the way. Norwegian has a little less than 70 aircraft.

Norwegian's Boeing aircraft have Boeing Sky Interior cabin design. The cabin looks spacious with colour-changing led lights. Seats are thin and comfortable enough for short-haul travelling. Since the aircraft are new, they are also neat looking. It is still good to understand that Norwegian is a low-cost airline and passengers should not expect much space around the seat. Even though there is not much legroom, we have never felt seats would have been too tightly packed.

Norwegian Boeing 737-800 at Split Airport
Norwegian is popular, especially among holidaymakers. This plane took passengers to Split, Croatia.

Routes

Norwegian has short-haul routes to more than 100 destinations in Europe and areas nearby. The company used to have also long-distance routes to America and Asia but to save operational costs, Norwegian decided to concentrate only on shorter routes while terminating all the long-haul flights. Norwegian sold the aircraft used to fly to long-haul destinations. This wise decision helped to save the company from bankruptcy.

Ceasar at Prague Airport
We have travelled twice to Prague with Norwegian Air.

We live in Helsinki so Norwegian's Helsinki base is familiar to us. In addition to Helsinki, Norwegian has a few other bases in Nordic countries and Spain. The airline flies also domestic routes, especially inside Fennoscandinavia.

Norwegian B737 loaded at Venice Airport
Cargo is being loaded to an aircraft at Venice Airport.

Norwegian Air Experience

Ticket Categories and Travel Classes

Norwegian has three ticket categories: LowFare, LowFare+ and Flexible. A LowFare ticket is a typical low-cost airline ticket with only a small bag allowed. LowFare+ includes a free seat selection, check-in luggage and a large cabin bag. A flexible ticket as the term implies is flexible with the changes.

In the LowFare class, you can buy additional services like a larger cabin bag.

There is no business class in Norwegian aircraft but all passengers travel in economy class. All seats are similar except some of them have a little more legroom which means better comfort.

Luggage Rules

A passenger is allowed to take only a small bag into the cabin free of charge. The bag must fit under the seat. Having a normal-sized overhead bin cabin luggage costs more but it is included in the Lowfare+ ticket class. Checking luggage into the cargo hold is an expensive extra service too.

In summer 2022, we flew to Tivat with Norwegian Air. We had bought larger cabin luggage. That gave us a right to have two pieces of hand luggage and in addition, we got Priority Boarding free of charge. The large cabin luggage service cost 9,90 euros. There was still a weight limit: we were not allowed to take more than 10 kilograms into the aircraft.

We paid our flight tickets using our Norwegian Cashpoints.

Services Onboard

Norwegian is a low-cost airline so, in the cheapest class, a ticket includes only a flight. You have to pay more for assigned seats, luggage and onboard food. Norwegian still has a few benefits compared to other low-cost airlines. For example, choosing a seat is free when you check in thru a check-in machine at the airport. Almost all of the aircraft are equipped with WiFi which is affordable to use.

Even though you need to pay for some extra services, they are of good quality.

Norwegian do not offer traditional entertainment during flights. There are no personal screens or magazines. However, with small money, you can connect to WiFi which is a modern method to keep you connected and entertained during the flight.

Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price. Depending on the route length, you can buy drinks and snacks during the flight. On longer routes, you can also preorder a warm meal. On our flight to Montenegro, we made a preorder for a warm meal costing 12 euros.

Our Flights with Norwegian Air

This Norwegian Airlines review is based on our Norwegian flight from Helsinki to Tivat. However, we have a long experience using Norwegian on different routes. For example, we have travelled from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, many cities in Spain and Dubai. We have also flown Norwegian's domestic flights in Spain.

People boarding Norwegian B737-800 at Helsinki Airport
In the wintertime, Norwegian takes Finnish travellers to sunny destinations. This plane was departing for Dubai at Helsinki Airport.

From Helsinki to Tivat

In summer 2022, we flew from Helsinki to Tivat by Norwegian Air Sweden. The flight was operated by a Boeing 737-800 plane. We used the Norwegian app to check in so the whole journey was paperless. Norwegian has a handy mobile app to buy flights, order additional services and check in. We travelled in the Lowfare class with a large cabin bag and warm meal as extra services.

Boeing 737 at Tivat Airport
In summer 2022, we flew from Helsinki to Tivat which is a holiday destination in Montenegro.

Rating

Customer Service and Professional Skills

The customer service was friendly from gate to gate.

During flights, pilots gave informative speeches and the whole flight including the landing was smooth. We got an impression of professionalism. However, there were no WOW effects to mention.

Cabin and Entertaintment

Cabin was clean and in good condition. The seats were spacious enough taking note that Norwegian is a low-cost airline. Providing entertainment via WiFi is a well-working solution.

Even though we hadn't paid anything for seats, we were able to sit together. Passengers in the same travel group get adjacent seats.

Norwegian didn't provide any other forms of entertainment.

Food and Drinks

There were cart sales during the flight. The crew sold snacks and drinks. Preordered meals were distributed after drinks were sold. The selection contained the usual products like peanuts and chocolates.

We had preordered meals together with our tickets. The crew served us Mediterranean Chicken which was tasty. A dessert was included but unfortunately, the meal did not include any drinks, they must be bought separately.

Chicken Mediterranean meal
Mediterranean chicken was tasty.

Price Level

Norwegian is a low-cost airline but its quality is still as good as many traditional airlines, like Finnair, can offer. The lowest fares are still more affordable than with many traditional airlines. Norwegian is not as cheap as it used to be but it has often sale campaigns and the luckiest people may get the best fares.

Price-to-Quality Ratio

If you happen to find a cheap ticket, the price-to-quality ratio is high. Norwegian offers almost the same service level as traditional airlines in Europe.

Overall Rating

Norwegian is one of the best low-cost airlines we know. Even though you need to pay separately for extra services, they are of good quality. You can preorder meals, buy snacks from the cart or just relax by using WiFi. As a nice extra, the airline still offers free airport check-in even though the Norwegian application works well.

Norwegian B737 at Split Airport
Norwegian has many destinations in Eastern Europe. Croatia is one of the nicest summer destinations in the Balkan area.

There are a few things that could be improved. Preordered meals could be bigger and include drinks. The cart sale selection is boring not having any special products. The airline could also take better advantage of its Scandinavian image.

How to Find an Inexpensive Flight?

Follow our simple checklist to find a good deal:

  • Compare flight prices on Skyscanner on different dates.
  • Choose the most suitable schedule and price.
  • Decide whether to book directly from the airline or via an Online Travel Agency (OTA)
  • Let Skyscanner to forward you to the chosen booking site.
  • Go through the booking process and avoid buying unnecessary extras.
  • Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.

Bottom Line

We are happy seeing Norwegian Air back in the air. The airline is now back at one of its home bases, Helsinki Airport. Most likely, we will be flying a lot with them. Norwegian Air is an affordable option for leisure travellers but still offers a good service level. The extra services costs but luckily they are optional. Still, Norwegian's basic fare is lower than that of its competitors.

The operating costs of airlines have gone up so the prices tend to increase while some of the services are cut. Since Norwegian is a low-cost airline, you only pay for the services you need. We recommend travelling as light as possible as it's healthy for both your wallet and the environment amidst the worldwide energy crisis.

Have you flown with Norwegian? Comment below about your experiences.

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Destination: Norway

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