My friends and family know that I am a frequent flyer of Delta. That is my airline choice for all of my travels. Yes, Delta and other major airlines can be pricey. However, I like the perks, such as: free checked bags, priority boarding, and free meals/drinks on international flights.
So when the opportunity presented itself for me to go to Paris for 3 days/2 nights during the holiday and at the last minute, Delta was not an option (too pricey), I opted for a budget airline – Norwegian. You are probably wondering what is a budget airline? Well, the proper terminology is “low-cost airline”. Per Wikipedia, “is an airline that offers generally low fares in exchange for eliminating many traditional passenger services”.
Now that you are in the in the “know” 😉 Allow me to tell you my experience on Norwegian. However, before I start telling my story, I must tell you that I detest budget airlines. Before Norwegian, I’ve flown once with a budget airline and that was Transavia from Amsterdam to Casablanca this past summer. I am still in therapy because of that experience.
Any who, back to Norwegian. I purchased the “Low Fare” option which basically gives you one free item – hand baggage (i.e. carryon).
Carry On Bag Requirement
So a day before my trip, I started looking at my arsenal of luggage (don’t ask) and what would pass Norwegian requirement. Oh, this little cute bag was hiding in the closet. I found it in Brussels in one of the touristy areas.
This little bag had 3 pairs of jeans, 3 thick sweaters, unmentionables, toiletries, makeup bag, electronics, my Jenny Craig meals (don’t ask again), scarf, knit cap, and my winter coat (mammoth). Can you imagine what I can pack during the spring and summer? Mind Boggling!
Exhibit A – Mammoth
And I was able to zip my carry-on without sitting on it. Hallelujah!
So I arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport earlier than I normally would because I knew nothing about their process. The customer service rep asked me to put my bag on the scale and it weighed 12kg. She proceeded to tell me that it needs to weigh 10kg. In my mind, I am thinking 10lbs??? Mmmmm…. I then tell her that my winter coat is inside the bag. She said take it out. Okay! I passed weigh-in. I had no idea that mammoth is almost 2kg. Mind you I am still thinking of pounds rather than kilograms.
Blog Break: 1kg = 2.2lbs, so multiply 12kg by 2 (easy math)
Note: There is no online check-in for international flights to and from the U.S. ever!
Time for TSA Check-in
After passing my weigh-in, I head over to TSA. I look at my boarding pass and I don’t see TSA pre-check. I am ready to head back to the counter for them to correct my boarding pass until the agent told me that Norwegian does not participate in TSA Pre-Check. Excuse me!
Do not participate in TSA Pre-Check! I have to wait in this line, take out the electronics, and take off my shoes. Strike One!
Timeliness and Boarding Process
I was already notified prior to arriving at the airport the flight was delayed by 20 minutes.
However, it was more than an hour delayed. Furthermore, the boarding process is somewhat chaotic. I am glad that they have a process (which the other budget airline did not have) which is boarding the flight from higher to lower rows. This is another disclaimer, I am so used to priority boarding that I don’t normally see this process.
The majority of the Norwegian fleets are Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I am saying that like I know what a Dreamliner is lol. To me, a plane is a plane as long as it gets me to my destination safely. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an American long-haul, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Its variants seat 242 to 335 passengers in typical three-class seating configurations.
My favorite features on this airline are:
- USB Charging capabilities
- Window shade capabilities
- Television Screen-size
The downside is they don’t offer you any complimentary cup of water. I understand that I am flying a budget airline, but give me/us at least a cup of water especially during an international flight.
Overall, I did enjoy Norwegian from ticketing, boarding, and arrival. I found the flight uneventful and the flight attendants friendly and attentive. Would I fly Norwegian again? Yes, I would! Especially if I can get a quick weekend getaway abroad. It was truly a great experience.
What was the seat pitch on the plane? I’m actually quite impressed that they have TV screens as I assume that might be something they would charge xtra for. However no water has to be against human rights surely?
It’s nice to hear that you’d fly with them again. I love budget airlines in Europe — they do a fab job! I’ll have to fly with Norwegian and see how it is myself.
I enjoyed reading about your experience with Norwegian. It’s really sad that they didn’t even offer you a glass of water given that this was an international flight. On the other hand, the fact that was a lot cheaper compensated for this small issue.
You made me giggle when you said that you are in a therapy for the budget airlines. However, I can so understand why – some of them really are not worth the dime. Looks like Norwegian airlines ensured that this bit changed. In some ways, the facilities reminded me of Air Asia and Malindo Air that flies in this side of the world. Well reviewed.
The baggage weighing part is very similar to Air Asia here. I remember having taken out couple of things and transferred to cabin baggage. Flying budget airlines is always an experience to remember.
I live in Europe and use budget airlines on occasion. It’s hard to pass up a flight for $5. But I can deal with all the nuances like only getting 1 tiny cabin bag that my purse also has to be stuffed in to and no food or drinks when the longest budget airline flight I’ve ever been on hasn’t been longer than 2 hours.
Now, a long haul flight is a different story. I can cram a lot in to a “regular” airline carry-on sized spinner case and then stuff all my electronics and purse in to a tote bag that fits under the seat in front of me. But I’d be forced to pay for a bag on Norwegian. Also, I hate carry-on for long haul flights because I’m short and getting my bag up in the compartment is impossible without climbing on the seat, then hoisting it up there.
And not being provided with even water is just ridiculous. I typically buy snacks and a drink in the airport anyhow, but I want entertainment and the option of drinks and food on a flight longer than 3-4 hours.
This is so helpful! I’ve never tried a budget airline before, so now I have a much better idea of what to expect. I never knew that some airlines didn’t participate in TSA pre-check. Crazy!
I have heard of Norwegian but never flown it. but I am not stranger to frill-free low cost airlines but the longest single flight I have flown is about 5 hours and I found it quite comfy. It is a pleasant surprise to know all the planes owned by Norwegian are dreamliners. Must try this airline next time I am in Europe.
I’ve flown on many budget airlines in the past, lol and also needed therapy from one of the experiences – though mine was more hilarious than actually scarring – they wanted to charge me a ridiculous amount of money for the 5kg my bag was over so I unpacked it in front of them and wore 5 kg of clothes onto the plane 😀 You got off lucky with just a winter coat lol!
Glad you enjoyed your flight with Norwegian overall – but yes, slumming down to a budget airlines means sacrificing on perks like the TSA pre-check. I’ve found it’s much more difficult to go bacwards to a budget airline after you’ve gotten used to services like Delta! But glad it was uneventful and that you would book with them again 🙂
When I travel, I always book budget airlines and then keep my expectations as low as possible! Sometimes you’ll have bad experiences and sometimes just uneventful travel and I guess Norwegian was uneventful for you so it’s totallt worth it as long as you don’t expect a lot for the money you paid 🙂