I have flown with the airline Norwegian more than 50 times in the past 5 years, so I know the airline quite well. Here is my 5 cents about Norwegian.
I fly Norwegian a lot. I mostly fly them for work, cause I work as a tour guide, based out of Scandinavia. It’s a fairly new airline, but they have seen rapid growth in the past few years and I can see why this has happened.
First of all, Norwegian is cheap.
Norwegian is a low cost airline. They are not the kinda airline that sells for 1€ plus tax, but they are generally quite cheap and often quite cheap right up until departure. They have some very attractive fares on their overseas flights. And since they are a point to point airline, where you do not need to buy a return ticket, in order to get a cheap price, they are ideal for buying cheap one way tickets between continents. 150€ for a one way ticket between Europe and Asia to North America is not uncommon. And that is including tax most times. Norwegian has a very “easy to use” low fare calendar that is very useful when searching for flights.
New planes and great cabin crew.
The planes that Norwegian are using are almost all new planes. For overseas flights, they mostly use Dreamliners. On shorter flights it tends to be Boeing 737 they use. Their cabin crew has yet never let me down on +50 flights. Always very friendly and helpful. I have nothing but praise for the cabin crew onboard Norwegian.
Norwegian has free wifi.
Norwegian is one of the few airlines that has free wifi, even for monkey class. Do not expect high speed wifi though. I have been sitting many times on their plane without being able to log on, because too many passengers were trying to get online, or because someone was trying to stream a movie, using the free wifi. But you can mostly get on to your mail and some social media if you are patient and that is in my opinion quite nice, now that we are stuck in a sardine can 40 000 feet above ground anyway. But forget about doing any work on your laptop. The seats are too tightly squeezed to have proper space for a laptop anyway.
And now to the bad things about flying with Norwegian.
Flying with Norwegian is not all rosy. They have their pitfalls too. One big problem is that when they have a technical problem with a plane, they will never put you on a flight with another airline. And I mean NEVER. They will charter another plane to come and pick up the passengers. These planes are mostly from Portugal or Latvia, so if you are stranded in, let’s say Los Angeles or Bangkok, then you are up for a long wait before the new plane arrives. And they will mostly let you sleep on the floor in the transit area while you are waiting.
Bjørn Kjos needs to learn about crisis mangement.
I once had to deal with a pilot strike on Norwegian as well and that was quite bad. The CEO of Norwegian, Bjørn Kjos, is known to be a very jovial guy that you would like to have a beer with. But he is terrible at dealing with conflicts. While I was quite happy with the way his staff was working during the pilote strike, I was very unimpressed with the performance of Bjørn Kjos, who just seemed pissed off that everyone was not cheering for him, when thousands of passengers were stranded. Should you ever read this Bjørn, then I would be happy to sit down and have a friendly talk to you about the issue over a couple of beers and tell you how you could have handled this better.
Norwegian has horrible and expensive food.
And you should NEVER buy food onboard Norwegian. The quality is below what you get at a 7/11 and the prices are comparable to what you would pay in an expensive restaurant. Good news here, is that Norwegian is usually ok with people bringing their own food onboard. Even soft drinks are accepted in my experience. But you are not allowed to bring your own alcohol for consumption onboard and they usually state that quite clearly before take off. But buy a sandwich at the airport and take it onboard. even if airport sandwiches are mostly not that interesting and quite expensive, they will beat the sandwiches they sell onboard Norwegian. Trust me.
My overall verdict on flying with Norwegian.
I think Norwegian is a fair bit above average, when compared to other budget airlines. They are comparable to an average “old fashioned” European airline when it comes to service, but they are cheaper. They are not the best budget airline i have flown though. But I would rate them among the best third of the budget airlines i have flown around the world. I am quite happy with them for flights lasting up to 5 hours. I will fly them overseas too, if they seriously undercut the price of regular airlines, but I need big savings before I will consider taking an overseas flight with them. I prefer to have full service and more legroom when flying 8 to 12 ours on a plane.
But all in all a decent airline and I can understand why a lot of people are flying with Norwegian.