Norwegian - A New Budget Carrier on the Block
Norwegian is Norway-based low-cost airline that claims to be one of the world's fastest growing carriers. The company started life in 1993, but the key development came in 2002 when they acquired their first Boeing airliner, allowing the company to start offering budget fares across Europe.
Since then, the airline has expanded rapidly, establishing a foothold in 87 airports in 25 countries around the world. In the UK, their destinations include London Gatwick (which is their long-haul hub), Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, and passengers can fly from those cities to a wide range of European cities.
However, in the UK, Norwegian may be most famous for their trans-Atlantic activities. In 2013, the company began operating flights from Scandinavia to New York and then extended this service to the UK in July 2014. They currently operate a small fleet of Boeing Dreamliners, offering some of the cheapest fares between Gatwick and New York, Denver, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Boston.
Aside from its long-haul services, the airline is well known for its distinctive red livery and the inclusion of images of well-known "heroes" on their tail fins, reflecting the airline's image as an upstart low-cost rebel.
Flying with Norwegian
The airline has an innovative pricing strategy which offers stripped down, no-frills tickets alongside more comprehensive (and much more expensive) standard flights. Their fare classes vary between short and long-haul journeys, so bear that in mind when booking.
On short-haul flights, Norwegian offers three ticket classes. LowFare is the cheapest and includes one carry-on bag (up to 10 kg) and no checked baggage. LowFare+ includes one piece of checked baggage (up to 20 kg) and a seat reservation. Flex is the most expensive option and includes two checked bags (up to 40 kg in total), a 15 kg carry-on allowance and fast track check-in. Flex customers can also rebook their flights free of charge if needed.
On international long-haul flights, the same three classes apply in Economy. The difference is that onboard meals are provided to LowFare+ and Flex customers. But there is also the option of purchasing Premium Cabin tickets. These fares offer much more legroom, lounge access, a three-course meal and fast-track queueing.
There's also a frequent flier program called Norwegian Reward, which allows travellers to earn CashPoints when they fly, book accommodation or rental services (with partners of the airline).
Check-In: All customers are advised to check-in online, which can be done 24 hours before departure via SMS, the Travel Assistant app, or the My Travels section of the airline's website. Check-in generally closes one hour before departure for long-haul flights and 45 minutes before departure for European flights.
Baggage allowances vary by class of ticket:
All passengers are permitted one carry-on bag at least, measuring up to 55 x 40 x 23 cm
One small personal item up to 25 x 33 x 20 cm is also allowed
The weight of these two items cannot exceed 10 kg (LowFare, LowFare+ or Premium) or 15 kg (Flex or PremiumFlex)
No checked baggage is included with LowFare tickets
LowFare+ tickets allow one piece of checked baggage totalling up to 20 kg
Flex, Premium and FlexPremium tickets allow two pieces of 20 kg luggage