Norwegian Air - What's the catch?

Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Norwegian Air - What's the catch?

I frequently fly NYC to Paris on Delta/Air France but have been encouraged by a friend to try Norwegian. After viewing the fares, I must wonder, "What's the catch?"

Many thanks in advance for comments, suggestions and experiences.
Gekko is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:27 AM
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Has your friend actually flown Norwegian? I ask because the reviews have not been particularly good. I thought about giving them a try and when I put in dates found that the savings, given all the extra charges, were not what I expected. So that, combined with the "mixed" reviews, have put me off.
MmePerdu is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:48 AM
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You pay peanuts, you get monkeys
dotheboyshall is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2016, 11:39 AM
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The catch is that, when you add in the "extras", the fares are not as good as they first appear.

You should also bear in mind that their schedule is much more limited and any snafus will be a much bigger challenge than with Delta or Air France.
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2016, 02:10 PM
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My commercial airline pilot grandson told me that Norwegian only uses subcontracted pilots and crew. And of course, their pay scale reflects this. It is not a desirable place to work. This is a big surprise to me since I ASSUMED that Norway would have a quality airline. I wonder who actually owns the company.
JaneB is offline  
Aug 4th, 2016, 12:14 AM
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If you think that subcontracted pilots and crew is some sort of issue, then there will be many airlines you should not be travelling on. Norwegian is not the flag carrier of Norway, SAS is. It is a low cost airline and low costs have to come about somehow.

Much is said about the cost of the extras, but they are included in their fares matrix on the search results and is called Lowfare+. This fare is higher than Lowfare because it includes various extras such as 20kg luggage, seat reservation and a meal, but it is less expensive than choosing Lowfare then adding the extras afterwards. Thus if it is expensive, you know right away, it is not something hidden that catches you out later in the booking process.

They have quite a new fleet of aircraft including the Dreamliner. They do have a limited schedule for some routes, whether than makes a difference to technical issues getting fixed, I'm not sure. Recently BA had a delay of 2 days getting a plane fixed on a route they operate 3 times daily so you just can't tell.

I like the fact they have free wifi onboard and you can watch the IFE on your ipad.

I have flown Norwegian several times within Europe and have found them to be very good & a notch up from Easyjet/Ryanair etc, you have to check in online and tag your own bags at the airport. When a flight got delayed at CPH due to weather, they gave us vouchers for food/drink.

I would give them a go on longhaul, esp as they fly to destinations directly that other carriers do not go to. It won't be the end of the world if I'm not impressed.
Odin is offline  
Aug 4th, 2016, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for your comments, Odin.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 4th, 2016, 08:46 AM
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Much is said about the cost of the extras, but they are included in their fares matrix on the search results and is called Lowfare+.

Yes, but those aren't the fares that lead people to look to book with them in the first place.

Recently BA had a delay of 2 days getting a plane fixed on a route they operate 3 times daily so you just can't tell.

While it is true that any airline can have any number of issues on any given day, it is about maximizing your options should something occur. How many people, for example, were accommodated on other flights by BA before the plane was fixed? The issue with flying Norwegian for long-haul is a) they have fewer frequencies, b) they have fewer planes and staff to make up lost ground, and c) they have no interline agreements or partnerships that would allow you to fly with an alternate carrier. There is a good chance none of that will matter, but people should make an informed decision.

All that being said, I have also flown Norwegian for short-haul trips and found them to be a quality LCC.
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 4th, 2016, 03:02 PM
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Thank you, everyone. Excellent info!
Gekko is offline  
Aug 8th, 2016, 12:30 AM
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My friends and I were just discussing Norwegian Air last month while I was back in Copenhagen. I usually take Delta/Air France, non-stop from L.A. to Paris. After our discussion and also looking at various reviews and hearing various comments, I decided to just book with Delta/Air France as usual and bought my ticket, online, last night for my June/July 2017 trip back to Paris and CPH.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 29th, 2016, 05:52 PM
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I couldn't find much info on Norwegian Air when I booked my tickets over the summer so wanted to add a review after having flown with them Boston to London.

I thought they were fine and probably better than the other carriers (Delta, American, Air France) that I have taken to Europe because the planes were new and clean and each seat had its own TV which you do not get on most American Airline planes. We flew economy and the seats were cramped as they are on all the other airlines. The flights were on time and flight attendants were nice.

The price was excellent - our tickets from Boston to London non-stop in November were $350/each RT inclusive of tax. The only extra we paid for was to check a bag on the flight home to Boston as we anticipated we would buy gifts. I think the one checked bag was an extra $45 when we booked it online before the flight.

I was flying with my husband and we did not pay extra to book seats together and were seated together and on an aisle both ways even though we were very late checking in on the return trip. That said, I would have paid extra for the peace of mind of the seats had I been traveling with my kids.

The food wasn't an issue. We ate before our overnight flight to London and bought food in the airport for the flight home. I bought a couple of bottles of water on the plane when I finished what I brought with me (maybe $3 each).

So our total extras were about $50 between the two of us. Certainly worth saving $200-300 per ticket relative to what prices were for direct flights on other airlines.
Sally30 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2016, 08:52 PM
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Just rock-bottom basic fares, to which you add what you need - bags if you have them, food if you don't want to bring your own, reserved seat if that matters to you.

The basic fares can be so low that even paying for all three add-ons still leaves you with huge savings.

I've flown Norwegian twice and loved it. Neat planes, quiet no-frills operation, nothing to worry about - NO CATCH.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Dec 17th, 2016, 09:58 AM
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I flew them in Europe a few times and it was fine - at least as good as Easy Jet and Ryan Air. Then last summer I flew London -Boston and it was great. Check in was an actual person, in flight crew were very nice, it was the Dreamliner plane - nicest plane I've ever been on. I like that you can pick which 'extras' you want. I don't want a crappy meal (when was the last 'good' airline meal you had) and I almost never check a bag so am happy not to pay for that. I do care about where I seat and when I board so I pay for that. Still so much cheaper than any other airline.

I was also worried about the fact that since they don't fly every route daily that I could be stuck of they had mechanical problems, but as pointed out, that probably really doesn't happen all that often. Now they have been flying the cross Atlantic routes for over a year so I'm OK with taking my chances.
isabel is offline  
Dec 17th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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We flew on Norwegian three times, Copenhagen-LAX, LAX-CPH and Gatwick-LAX. Saved a ton of money. Enjoyed the Dreamliner. Food was pretty bad; will bring my own in the future.
Treesa is offline  
Dec 26th, 2016, 01:02 PM
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Having to pay extra for bags, seat assignment, and meals can be a real bother when the fare itself is already far higher than what we'd call a bargain. Some of the "legacy" biggie airlines are now sneaking up on us with those kinds of tricks, and that's not cricket!

But when the fare is as low as this example from Norwegian that I just came up with, then - how can you complain?

Se. 6, 2017 (one-way) Los Angeles - Birmingham UK, lvg LAX 20:15 arr Birmingham 06:35 the next morning, with a 50-minute stop in Barcelona.

The "LowFare" is $385.- incl all taxes and surcharges, but NOT including checked bags or an assigned seat or food.

The baggage allowance is as follows - note that it is the total weight that stumps some folks - 10kg tops for carry-on:
One carry-on bag included
You can always bring one carry-on bag in the cabin free of charge.
You can also bring one small personal item on board. This could be a little handbag or a slim laptop case that fits comfortably under the seat in front of you.
Your ticket type will determine how heavy your hand baggage can be.

Size and weight limits
LowFare, Lowfare+, Premium
1 carry-on bag: max. 55x40x23 cm
1 small personal item: max. 25x33x20 cm
Max. combined weight: 10 kg

Flex, PremiumFlex
1 carry-on bag: max. 55x40x23 cm
1 small personal item: max. 25x33x20 cm
Max. combined weight: 15 kg

The website where you get the fares to come up suggest to upgrade from LowFare to LowFare+ (plus):

"If you would like checked baggage, Nice&Tasty menu and seat reservation, it pays to choose the ticket type LowFare+ for $100.- extra. You can then save $85,- compared to buying these optional services separately."

That's $485.10 - still a good deal in my book. If you don't care where you sit and you can bring your own sandwich and travel with bags under 10kg - hey, you've got it made!
michelhuebeli is offline  

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