Norwegian Air Review – Seats, Amenities, Customer Service, Baggage Fees, & More

Norwegian 737 Max8 Airplane

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.

Basic Info

Airline: Norwegian Air

Alliance: none

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 Airlines - Affordable Fares For All
Image courtesy of norwegian.com.

Ticketing Options

Norwegian Air has 3 basic fare options for most flights (excluding international long-hauls):

  • LowFare
  • LowFare+
  • Flex

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.

Norwegian All Flights Fares (except intl long-haul)
Image courtesy of norwegian.com.

For international long-haul flights, Norwegian has 3 fare options for the Economy Cabin:

  • LowFare
  • LowFare+
  • Flex

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.

Norwegian Airlines, International Long-Haul Economy Fares
Image courtesy of norwegian.com.

For international long haul flights, Norwegian Air also offers a premium cabin with 2 fare options.

  • Premium
  • 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 Airlines, International Long-Haul Premium Fares
Image courtesy of norwegian.com.

Special Note: Passengers should note that there is an extra fee for itineraries with connecting flights. This fee comes to $13 per person, per leg, unless the flight connects through London Gatwick (in which case it increases to $25 per person, per leg). 

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.

Baggage 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

Purchased Online

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

In-flight Menu Ordering, Touchscreen; Norwegian Airlines
Image courtesy of media.norwegian.com.

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 CardFee Reimbursement Details
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee: $0 for first year, then $89
With this card, you can use your miles to cover any qualifying travel purchases of $100 or more, including baggage fees (which is perfect for families that travel and incur travel expenses). Simply apply your miles to these expenses when your statement arrives!
Card Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
Annual Fee: $450
$300 travel credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases)
Card Review
Citi Prestige Card
Annual Fee: $450
$250 air travel credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases)
Card Review
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
Annual Fee: $450
$300 airline fee credit per calendar year (covers all travel related purchases)

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.

Norwegian Airlines, Boeing 737 Max Next Generation
Flight attendants in 737 MAX 8 Cabin. Image courtesy of media.norwegian.com.

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
Norwegian Airlines Economy Cabin
Norwegian Air Economy Cabin, Boeing 787. Image courtesy of media.norwegianair.com.

*The table below does not take into account extra legroom seats for exit rows and bulkhead seats.

AircraftTotal SeatsEconomy SeatsPremium Cabin Seats
Boeing 737-800186 / 189ALLn/a
Boeing 737 MAX 8189ALLn/a
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner29125932
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner34430935

If you want to find the best seat in the house, so to speak, head over to our friends at SeatGuru.

Norwegian Air Premium Cabin Seat
Norwegian Air’s premium seat. Image courtesy of norwegian.com.

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.

Norwegian Airlines Skytrax Awards 2017
Image courtesy of media.norwegian.com.

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:

Type of Complaints

  • 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%

Consumer Rankings

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)

Norwegian Air SkyTrax Rating
Norwegian Air Skytrax Rating breakdown. Image courtesy of airlinequality.com.

TripAdvisor Airline Review Rating: 4/5 (average of 7,635 reviews)

Kayak Customer Rating: 7.2/10 (average of 1,633 reviews)

Performance

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%

Flight Stats 2016 OTP Rating: 80.6%

Recent Awards

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

Final Thoughts

Little Boy Looks Out At Norwegian Plane
Image courtesy of media.norwegian.com.

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.

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