In this general review of Norwegian Air, we’ll break down specific categories of interest to the average customer.
Where does Norwegian fly? How much does Norwegian charge for baggage? Does Norwegian Air have business class? Will I get food on my Norwegian flight?
Continue reading for an in-depth report of ticketing/fare options, added costs (like baggage fees, change fees, etc.), onboard seat specs, inflight amenities, consumer satisfaction (including recent awards), and much more.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Airline: Norwegian Air
Category: Low-Cost Airline (third largest low-cost airline in Europe)
Frequent Flyer Program: Norwegian Reward
Tag Line: Affordable Fares For All
About/Mission Statement: “Affordable fares for all… To realise this vision, we offer quality flights at a low fare based on operational excellence and helpful, friendly service.” (source)
Fleet: 135 (average fleet age 3.6 yrs; one of the youngest in the world)
Main Hub: Oslo Airport, Gardermoen & London Gatwick
Destinations: 500+ routes to 150+ destinations (U.S., Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, & Caribbean)
Norwegian Air has 3 basic fare options for most flights (excluding international long-hauls):
As you can see in the photo below, your fare option clearly designates your included benefits, with more allocated as prices rise.
With LowFare, you’re allowed a carry-on bag only and will be charged for extras.
With LowFare+ you have a bit more wiggle room: you can bring a checked bag and choose your seat.
With Flex, you have considerably more perks included, with the ability to change and refund flights at no extra cost.
You’ll notice a great general perk of Norwegian Air is the free Wi-Fi on most flights regardless of your fare tier.
For international long-haul flights, Norwegian has 3 fare options for the Economy Cabin:
As you can see in the photo below, fare breakdowns are similar to the basic fares mentioned above. Differences become apparent in the inability to offer free Wi-Fi and the addition of meals to LowFare+ and Flex tiers.
For international long haul flights, Norwegian Air also offers a premium cabin with 2 fare options.
- Premium Flex
These premium cabin fares are only available on their 787 Dreamliner flights, which currently service 7 cities in the U.S.
As you can see in the photo below, this is Norwegian’s equivalent of a business or first class fare. You get the works: lounge access, bags included, seat reservations, meals, complimentary beverages, premium onboard entertainment, fast track at the airport, etc.
With the Premium Flex options, customers also have the added benefit of rebooking or refunding the flight for no extra charge.
Norwegian Baggage & Other Fees/Add-Ons
Since Norwegian is a low-cost airline, they do offer some very basic fares while advertising extras that can be selected for additional fees.
Norwegian Air allows passengers 1 personal item and 1 carry-on bag for free on all except LowFare tickets. Size and weight restrictions apply to carry-ons.
- Personal item: 25 x 33 x 20 cm
- Carry-on (LowFare, LowFare+, Premium): 55 x 40 x 23 cm, 10 kg
- Carry-on (Flex, Premium Flex): 55 x 40 x 23 cm, 15 kg
The amount of money you’ll shell out for additional baggage depends on whether you purchase online or at the airport. Purchasing baggage at the airport is more expensive, so it is recommended to purchase online at the time of booking if you think you’ll need it.
Purchased at the Airport (per item, per one-way)
- Direct flight domestic: $35
- Direct flight int’l: $65
- Connecting flight domestic-domestic: $70
- Connecting flight domestic-int’l: $100
- Connecting flight intl-int’l: $130
A number of additional factors come into play when determining the price of purchasing your baggage online: the initial fare purchased, itinerary, direct or connecting flight, and season (high or low).
Since these fees range greatly depending on the above factors, we suggest you calculate your specific baggage fees according to Norwegian’s tables here, or during your ticket purchase. That being said, Norwegian does attest that baggage fees are cheaper than the above prices when paid online up to 6 days before your departure.
Checked Bag Size/Weight Limits: Passengers should note the following size/weight limits when considering checked baggage.
- 20kg weight (any 1 bag cannot be lighter than 2kg/heavier than 32kg, excess fees apply >20kg)
- 250 x 79 x 112 cm, max circumference 300cm
- 2 bag limit – total weight must not exceed 64kg (excess fees apply >20kg each)
Baggage Related Fees
Oversized baggage: $15 per kilo, per leg; charges apply to any items over the 2 bag limit as well as overweight items
Infant baggage (under 2 y/o): $0 up to 5kg, plus 1 car seat and 1 stroller included
Other Fees & Add-Ons
Rebooking Basic: $60 (all non-Flex fares) + price difference, per person, each way
Rebooking Int’l Long Haul: $125 (all non-Flex fares) + price difference, per person, each way
Refund: all non-Flex fares are nonrefundable, per person, each way
Name Change: $60 (all non-Flex fares) per person, each way
Cancellation Protection: $12 per person, per booking; *explicit coverage policies apply
Upgrade to Premium Cabin: price difference at the time of upgrade, per person, each way
Phone/Airport Booking Service Charge: $25 per person, each way
Connecting Flights: $13 per person, per leg; $25 per person per leg through London Gatwick
Seat Reservation Basic: $12-$26 per person, each way
Seat Reservation Int’l Long Haul: $45 per person, each way
Fast Track: £9 per person; select European airports only
Unaccompanied Minor: $59 per child, each way
Refreshments Onboard Basic:
- Non-alcoholic drinks: $2-$3
- Alcoholic drinks: $5-$20
- Snacks: $1-$7
- Fresh food: $5-$13
Meals/Refreshments Onboard Int’l Long Haul:
- Meals: $45 per person, each way
- Non-alcoholic drinks: $4-$5
- Alcoholic drinks: $7-$15
- Snacks: $4-$8
- Fresh food: $10-$11
Onboard Extras Int’l Long Haul:
- Travel blanket: $5
- Headset: $3
How to Avoid Paying Excess Fees & Travel Expenses
You don’t necessarily have to shell out cash to pay for extra travel fees and expenses you incur along the way.
Experienced travelers use rewards credit cards offering “airline credits” that will cover the cost of baggage fees, travel purchases, and inflight splurges!
See the table below for more details:
|Credit Card||Fee Reimbursement Details|
|Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®||This offer is no longer available|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$300 travel credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases). Annual Fee: $450|
|Citi® Prestige Card||$250 air travel credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases). Annual Fee: $450|
Norwegian Seat Specs & Inflight Amenities
What will your flight onboard a Norwegian Air plane look like? We’re breaking down seat specs & amenities for you here.
Seat Specs: Norwegian Air has 2 separate seat types: economy and premium cabin. As mentioned previously, Norwegian’s premium cabin seats are only available on international long haul flights with the Dreamliner.
- Economy 737-800: 29″-31″ pitch, 17.2″ width
- Economy 737 MAX 8: 29″-30″ pitch, 17.2″ width
- Premium: 46″ pitch, 19″ width
*The table below does not take into account extra legroom seats for exit rows and bulkhead seats.
|Aircraft||Total Seats||Economy Seats||Premium Cabin Seats|
|Boeing 737-800||186 / 189||ALL||n/a|
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||189||ALL||n/a|
|Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner||291||259||32|
|Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner||344||309||35|
If you want to find the best seat in the house, so to speak, head over to our friends at SeatGuru.
Premium cabin seats are essentially Norwegian’s business class, so they’ll be a bit more upscale with extra legroom and increased recline.
Inflight Amenities: As for amenities onboard during the flight, Norwegian Air goes above and beyond other low-cost carriers by offering some perks free of charge.
- Free Wi-Fi (on most European flights) on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Free live TV (on most European flights) on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Personal entertainment system on international long haul flights
- USB port & international outlets on international long haul flights
Note that refreshment service is limited to paid beverages and snacks only.
Norwegian Customer Satisfaction
Norwegian gets mixed reviews when it comes to customer satisfaction. Of course, since it is a low-cost airline, you’ll get the average Joe who doesn’t do his research and is therefore unaware of the basic low-cost structure: you get what you pay for.
This means a lot of people complain about added fees, extra costs, etc. There are some other issues to consider as well, and we’ll break those down below.
That being said, Norwegian Air gets above average overall scores from many popular review sites. Also, Norweigan has been winning quite a few awards over the last few years, so be sure to check out that list too.
Most Common Complaints
What are the most common Norwegian Air complaints? This technically depends on where you’re getting your information. On social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, most customers seem to complain more about general customer service interactions and a low transparency when it comes to ticket prices.
That being said, the August 2017 Air Travel Consumer Report filed by Transportation.gov breaks down a total of 57 complaints against Norwegian Air for January 2017 through June 2017:
- Flight Problems (cancellation, delay, or misconnection): 12 / 21.1%
- Reservation, Ticketing, Boarding: 12 / 21.1%
- Baggage: 9 / 15.8%
- Refunds: 7 / 12.3%
- Fares: 6 / 10.5%
- Customer Service: 5 / 8.8%
- Disability: 4 / 7.0%
- Over-Sales: 1 / 1.8%
- Other: 1 / 1.8%
Here’s a list of some of the more popular rankings systems/review websites, and where Norwegian falls on their radars.
Skytrax Ranking: 3 Star Airline
Skytrax Customer Rating: 6/10 (average of 774 reviews)
TripAdvisor Airline Review Rating: 4/5 (average of 7,635 reviews)
Kayak Customer Rating: 7.2/10 (average of 1,633 reviews)
As represented on various performance tables, Norwegian ranks pretty high across the board when it comes to On Time Performance (OTP).
OAG Top Airlines by OTP, 2015: Ranked 20th at 86.67%
OAG Top Low-Cost Airlines by OTP, 2015: Ranked 2nd at 86.67%
OAG Top Low-Cost Airlines by OTP, 2016: Ranked 8th at 79.23%
Norwegian Air has been receiving some prestigious awards in top categories for multiple years running.
Skytrax World Airline Awards – World’s Best Low-Cost, Long Haul Airline: 2017, 2016, 2015
Skytrax World Airline Awards – Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013
Airlineratings.com – Best Low-Cost Airline in Europe: 2017, 2016, 2015, & 2014
Freddie Awards – Norwegian Reward named Reward Program of the Year Europe/Africa, 2017
Freddie Awards – Norwegian Reward Visa named Best Loyalty Credit Card Europe/Africa, 2017
Irish Aviation Industry – “Outstanding Contribution to Aviation” Award, 2017
From a low-cost airline perspective, Norwegian sits near the top of the list in our book.
Keep in mind they operate a “pay for you, not for everyone else” type of concept, and basic ticket prices reflect this with extras tacked on accordingly.
Norwegian does sneak in a couple of low blows (like fees for connecting flights), but all in all their prices are what you’d expect for extras and onboard amenities. Plus, most domestic flights come with free Wi-Fi — that’s pretty unique!
When it comes to customer satisfaction and performance, Norwegian holds its own. On average, you can expect to see more positive reviews for them than competing low-cost carriers.
Our take? If you have the opportunity to fly Norwegian Air and think you’ve found a great price, there’s a good chance you’ll be pleased.