Norway often ranks highly in polls measuring quality of life, global wealth, health and education. Well lets go ahead and add international flights to that list. It’s difficult to express my surprise and happiness at the outstanding product Norway based Norwegian Airlines has brought to the U.S. market. Starting in July, Norwegian Airlines has expanded their affordable flight paths between Europe and the U.S. to Fort Lauderdale, NYC, and LA. By focusing on these three hubs, Norwegian Airlines has given US flyers a bevy of options no matter where you live. I flew into Fort Lauderdale on the November 7th flight. This is what I experienced.
Pricing is what grabs you. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’re paying for an experience comparable to Ryanair or Wizz Air,europes popular low cost airlines. You’re paying for service comparable to Virgin Airlines, British Airways, or Delta. And in some areas, better. I had to take a last minute flight from London to the US. Upon searching multiple sites Norwegian kept coming back at a ridiculously low $271. This couldn’t be right. But it surely was.
I visited their site and saw this price didn’t include a checked bag or meal. This is known as their “Low Fare” price. The next level up is the “Low Fare+”, which includes a meal,seat reservation, and one 20kg bag. This brought my total up to 352.60 one way. Did I mention that’s direct? Unheard of. Still not a bad price at all. Here are some comparable rates on other airlines for this route (rates for Nov 28th. Norwegians rates are identical to the date I flew).
USAirways: $1363 with one stop
Delta: $1445 with one stop
AirFrance: $1736 with one stop
And the prices just go up and up. Notice these all include an extra stop. Meaning extra chance of delays and lost luggage. For the price, there isn’t an airline in the world even close to Norwegian Airlines.
The 787 Dreamliners have had all the bugs worked out since their launch in 2011. These are the best long haul planes in the skies and Norwegian Airlines employs brand new ones. Norwegian Airlines has gone to great lengths to ensure their planes are comfortable and unique. Starting with their Our Heroes program. Featuring portraits of famous peoples from Science, Philosophy, Art, Music, and other disciplines.
Upon entering the cabin you’ll notice how new the interior is. Sleek and modern, the Dreamliner is the next step for long haul aviation and customer comfort. I especially enjoyed the new touch screen entertainment system.
Fast and easy to use, the touch screen becomes your one stop location for entertainment, shopping (duty free), flight info, and cabin crew assistance. It sits flush in the head rest and requires very little pressure to operate. Surely preventing the person in front of you from feeling the movement.
NOTE: Shout out to my neighbors the Tegtmeier family. This little guy has to be the most well behaved baby I have ever seen/not heard on a flight. All he did was smile,laugh, and sleep for 9 hours. Truly a treat to sit next too. His parents are pretty cool also. lol
I’m 5″11. There was no problem with legroom for me. However,I can definitely see how someone larger than myself could have an issue though. Anyone over 6″00 will be a bit snug but that’s the case with pretty much all carriers these days.
Service is where Norwegian Airlines gets a bit tricky. I found the attendants’ at check in to be attentive, fast, and compassionate. I watched them help someone who was having a VERY bad day. Norwegian Airlines employees went out of their way to accommodate this person when many other airlines wouldn’t have cared. Check in wasn’t only smooth, but fun. A real treat seeing how much they love their jobs.
Initially, I found the flight attendants weren’t very happy to be there. Granted, once they came to service or help us they were great. But I found that prior to take off all I saw were sour faces. And this was about half of the crew. Once we became airborne they were great though. I’m on the fence about this. I understand we all have bad days but I believe FAs are the first line to an enjoyable flight. If their happy then I’m happy. The image portrayed by the FAs is very important to the customers experience. I think this may turn some flyers off if this isn’t an isolated incident.
The food wasn’t particularly bad or good. Just, average. Airlines have really been doing a great job over the last ten years when it comes to meals. Seeing Norwegian Airlines lag a bit behind may be concerning. I had a baked chicken and vegetable soufflé thing. Both cook well but lacking in flavor for my taste. Included in the additional package I purchased so not too upset. Breakfast was pretty bad. Some weird egg and mayo sandwich thing. I didn’t touch it after I smelled it. If there is one place Norwegian Airlines can truly improve, it’s the in flight meals. The potential is there.
A true treat was the touch screen entertainment. I further appreciated the offerings after I boarded my connection flight on Delta. The same new movies Norwegian offered, Delta charged $6 each. I watch three movies with Norwegian Airlines. The system was easy to use, crisp display, and good sound.
NOTE: They have this cool/creepy automated voice that randomly comes on for announcements. Will freak you out the first couple times. Far more efficient than the normally crackling speaker box.
Norwegian Airlines offered outstanding prices and good service. It’s hard to believe that US based airlines didn’t go on strike or something when they found out Norwegian Airlines was coming into the market. Either it’s ignorance or plain old arrogance but Norwegian Airlines will dominate the US international market soon if prices don’t change soon. This writer will start his search at Norwegian Airlines from now on. They have a huge fan in me.