Norwegian Airlines Post-Mortem / Review

I wrote this after our trip to Europe and forgot to post it until now.We had a full-fare experience at a discount-fare price on Norwegian and I hope you will too.

Norwegian Air competes on price and their planes are new, plus your seat still reclines. Your biggest hassle will be the ticket line prior to departure and checked bag fees.

Prior to this trip we didn’t quite know what to expect with Norwegian Airlines, which is the first budget carrier to enter the trans-Atlantic market. We were pleasantly surprised.

For $530 total, per person, we booked two one-way direct tickets in mid-September, an 11pm red-eye from JFK to Copenhagen and a Sunday afternoon return flight from London to JFK.

Having flown RyanAir, I was expecting the worst: strict carry-on weight and size limits, seats that don’t recline, and usurous prices for food and drink. This did not come to pass, but getting to the plane was a struggle.

Ever see one of those photos from the Great Depression of a run on the bank? That’s what the Norwegian check-in line looked like at JFK.

Apparently both online ticketing and self-service kiosks are unavailable at JFK, forcing everyone, even those with carry-on bags only, to check in the old-fashioned way: with a desk agent. Arriving 2 1/4 hours before our flight turned out to be just enough to keep us from seriously considering whether we would miss our flight entirely.

Either you’ll have the situation we faced on a Friday night, or it could be clear sailing. Plan for 3 hours. You have been warned.

Once we got to the front of the line, we sailed through. They weigh your carry-on to see that its under the 10kg (22lb) limit, but you can bring a second piece of hand luggage (e.g. a small backpack or laptop bag). They charge around $50 each way for checked luggage, which includes a meal. We skipped this extra charge by packing light.

Once on the plane, the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is roomy, with huge carry-on bins, high ceilings, and air quality technology that is supposed to reduce jet lag. The only downside is the constant mood lighting in the aisles prevents the cabin from being dark enough, so bring a blindfold like a dork if you plan to sleep. Also bring a snack and a water bottle to save on snacks.

Each seat has a touchscreen display with free movies, games, and TV shows. Color me impressed.

On the way back from London Gatwick online check-in was still not available but we were able to check in with no line via the self-service kiosk. Ticketing and security at Gatwick are efficient and secure, no wonder the British love queueing.

All in all, a positive experience that we would repeat again with a bit extra time on the outbound.

1 Comment

  1. $50 for each checked luggage !, that ‘s really a lot, there are lots of who can’t travel like you with “packing light”.

Leave a Reply