I recently began flying Norwegian Airlines, a relatively new carrier to the U.S. that is making a big push into long haul routes. Billed as a low cost airline, their expansion has offered some eye catching fares. Though these low prices haven’t been without their pitfalls.
There isn’t much “Norwegian” about this airline’s long haul routes. The cabin crew is usually Thai, or anything but Norwegian to keep labor costs down and profit up. They also have been playing a type of corporate location loophole in an attempt to skate around international labor laws.
At first glance the fares grab your attention. But (of course) there are the add-ons. Meals are not included in their fares. Nor is a seat reservation or checked luggage. A recent flight from Oslo to New York saw my fare increase by $60 to add a meal & reserve my seat. Another $7 for using a credit card to buy my ticket online? Really. I wasn’t checking any luggage so I saved some cash there. If you don’t reserve a seat you gamble with what’s available when you check in. I also have not been able to check in online and there haven’t been any self serve kiosks available at any airport where I’ve flown with them. If you don’t order a meal ahead of time you can purchase onboard using a credit card. At this time they are suppose to be taking major currencies also, but this policy does not seem to be set in stone. They are also plagued with delay problems and complaints. Google them and you will find pages of negative reviews and publicity. If you hate to be nickeled and dimed look elsewhere.
Being charged for every little thing can be a headache. But if you only want to pay for what you need and want to get from A to B, Norwegian offers very competitive pricing. Their fleet of long haul planes are some of the most modern in the industry with most being delivered in the last four years and more are on the way. Most flights I have been on have had extensive inflight entertainment games, movies and USB outlets for your devices. The Thai cabin crew I have found to be friendly, polite and smiling. They are the new kids on the block attempting to attract new customers and it’s working.
So for those looking to save and get a cheap flight, it can prove to be game changer if they get their act together. As of right now they have fairly often and lengthy delays. (A lot can be attributed to growing pains of the new Dreamliner) so if money is more important than time it can be a money saver.
Note: There is an attempt currently by the U.S. Senate to block some of Norwegians flights into the U.S. due to international labor regulations. How this will play out remains to be seen. I will keep my eye out for any news.