The Coworkaholic team hasn’t flown Norwegian Air, the low cost carrier, yet we keep hearing good things. The prices are often impossible to beat – like when Lili and James flew from Singapore to London for $99. Plus, they were just named Airline Program of the Year – Europe at this year’s Freddie Awards.
Bernie Mitchell, organizer of the London Coworking Assembly recently flew from London to Buenos Aires on Norwegian Air. Flying with his wife Lorena and their son to visit her family, they were kind enough to indulge me and share their take on the experience, from check in to landing to return.
Doing Your Research When Flying Norwegian Air For The First Time
It was their first time flying Norwegian Air, and it seems to have landed a good impression. Similar to low cost carriers, yet different in many ways, there’s been lots of talk around Norwegian Air. Topics include their Premium Economy product or their highly competitive growth. They’re the fastest growing airline in Argentina and recently became the largest non-US carrier operating out of New York .
But enough about that, we asked them why they enjoyed the airline so much:
First off? For sure the price. Norwegian Air is amazingly cheap compared to British Airways. Especially when traveling for Christmas, which is a popular time to go anywhere, if not to Argentina. Sure, tell your family you’re visiting for them, but it’s really to escape the British winter. The difference in price was staggering, as with Norwegian Air it was around £800 a head. If they were to have flow BA, it would have been £1100, meaning they saved enough to have been able to buy another ticket.
Lorena, the travel planner of the family, noted that it wasn’t just the affordable fare that was the initial attraction. With limited direct route options, in the past it would be hard to imagine not having to connect if not flying on BA. Lower costs with a direct flight started to make it feel like they were comparing apples to oranges!
How did you find buying tickets, checking in and the baggage allowance?
An incredibly intuitive website made it quite easy for this family of three. So much so, Lorena admits it’d have been tough to mess it up. Sometimes airlines have ridiculous amount of ranges from add ons to seating such as premium economy which usually complicates things, but booking [with Norwegian Air] was all explained so well. There are easily visible options to book with food, without food, with luggage, without luggage. The process is more transparent than other low cost carriers.
Bernie adds “that it didn’t feel like they were trying to get us with any hidden charges”. Leave it to Mom though, for doing her research! Always the planner, Lorena noted that she did have to search a bit for info on some details. “It wasn’t obvious that they charge for earphones and blankets on the plane. If I hadn’t found this out myself, I probably wouldn’t view them as so transparent.”
Whether a family or a nomad, you’re gonna have stuff with you. What really impressed this family of three was the baggage allowance. While They generous – two large bags each – if you’re over the limit, they’re very strict, especially departing London Gatwick. Who say’s the Brits don’t do everything by the book!
When it came to check in, a fully staffed counter and plenty of self serve kiosks meant they only waited for about five minutes. It seemed that research paid off, as some travelers seemed to be caught off guard by some of Norwegian Air‘s low cost policies. Luckily helpful staff provided assistance at kiosks and were proactive to keep the queue moving.
Flying Norwegian Air’s 787 Dreamliner
This was the first time on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for all three of them. One of the most advanced commercial jets on the market, they certainly enjoyed features such as the electronic tinted windows! In fact, coming in over Buenos Aires, Bernie thought there had been “intergalactic disturbance” because while looking out the window he thought it should be daytime.
No need for concern – he realized the windows were brightening up automatically in conjunction with interior lighting. Another feature of the 787, intended to help limit the impact of jet lag. Being on a relatively new plane, especially a 787, they appreciated updated features like the improved air circulation, modern in-flight entertainment systems and reclining seats.
The food portions provided are small, but – again, thanks to Lorena’s research – they actually had dinner before getting on the plane. While the food they enjoyed tasted good (for airplane food) it was “very good”. They acknowledged that it was the first time they’d experienced having a smaller portion that was edible, rather than a bigger serving of “manky slush”.
So, How Many Points Did You Earn?
As a family that travels as often as they do, we naturally wanted to get their feedback on Norwegian Reward, Norwegian Air’s loyalty program. Turns out they hadn’t been members prior and never having flown with them, they didn’t sign up. Perhaps they’ll do so before their next Norwegian Air flight – as it appears this trio is happy to fly with them again.
Don’t Take Our Word For It…
From Bernie and Lorena, what seems like a pretty stand up good review:
“It’s incredibly economical. [Norwegian Air] works, [and] we think it works great. With low cost carriers come the fear that the seats would be really small or that the service would be crap because it was a low-cost flight, but actually it was really good. Doing research beforehand is the key to having a good experience and not feeling like you’re being “ripped off” when paying for things you didn’t bring or didn’t know weren’t included.”
Affordable Premium Economy + More Route Options = We’re Sold!
This is yet another great review I’ve heard from this up and coming low cost carrier. Now, more than ever I’m ready to check them out. If we’re not flying them to the Coworking Coliving Conference in Belgrade this October, then for sure for when we need to get from Bangkok to Warsaw in time to visit all our Coworking Europe friends in November.
The post Flight Review: RT Norwegian Air London – Buenos Aires was first published on Coworkaholic.