I’ve just returned from a flight with them from Fort Lauderdale (the worst airport in the world, as it turns out) to Copenhagen round trip and have to say I was pleased that the airfare included seats.
I flew on one of the Dreamliner planes that Norwegian proudly boasts. There has been a lot of negative press surrounding the Dreamliners, with Norwegian Airlines and others, mainly having to deal with mechanical problems causing delays. I however, did not experience any of this, which is quite surprising given my track record.
Once on board the plane is roomy and comfortable. Every seat has it’s own touchscreen tv with a decent selection of movies and music. This also had a feature where you could order food and duty free items to your seat.
Every seat also includes both a regular outlet and a usb port for charging electronics.
The Dreamliner also boasts 8 lavatories so you usually don’t have to do that awkward walk down the aisle to wait in line for the bathroom.
The windows are probably my favorite feature. They are much larger than other airline windows and have a button at the bottom to control tinting instead of a pull down shade. The plane also has a unique mood lighting situation, that when coupled with the windows, increased cabin pressure and humidity, is supposed to reduce jet lag and make it easier and more natural to sleep. However, the effect was more like a party bus. I felt like I was going to senior prom, except when I landed in Copenhagen there were more statuesque blondes and less acne riddled teenagers. In fact, even their teenager were gorgeous.
Arguably, the best feature of the Dreamliner (aside from the windows and party lights) is that it uses about 20% less fuel that similarly sized aircraft. This is a contributing factor to their low fares, so it’s something you can get behind whether you’re environmentally conscious or not. Of course, another contribution factor to the low fares is that, like other low cost airlines, EVERYTHING cost extra… a lot extra.
I purchased the package that included 1 hot and one cold meal, a checked bag under 20k and seat selection for $89. Each of these things are offered individually for $42 each, and that’s each way.
Now I mentioned the “snack bar” function on the touch screen, which allows you to order food even if you did not pre-pay for a meal. Looking through the menu it seems that primarily the offerings are chips, peanuts, cookies and the like, not anything really substantial. So, if you want actual food the pre-paid meal is the only way to go. Unfortunately I’m using the term “actual food” pretty loosely. Now, I’m not as down on airline food as most people. In fact, I’m usually kind of impressed and I like any situation where someone just brings me food and I don’t have to make many decisions. This is genuinely some of the worst airline food I’ve ever had. It wasn’t inedible, but certainly wasn’t worth the $42 price tag.
The hot meal was small and bland, not unlike a Lean Cuisine, and the cold meal was a yogurt and bread with a slice of cheese in it. The food for thought that came with the meals was perhaps more wholesome than the food itself.
Another extra was of course the checked bag. I know its the way of the world now, but I’m still offended that I have to pay to bring clothes with me on vacation. I won’t get over it, but don’t need to go into it further.
Finally, the seat selection. This is another extra I think is dumb. You paid for a seat, who cares where it is? Of course, I’ve never understood the human need to be the first person in or out of something. If this is something that matters to you, and you’ve already purchased the other 2 extras, then go ahead and get the package, it’s only $6 extra, and it did score me an exit row seat on the way back. I’m short, so it doesn’t really matter to me (and I kinda prefer not to have my stuff in the over head bin), but I do see the appeal of the extra leg room.
There’s not a lot to say here. Everything was as expected, no better, no worse. The check-in and ground process were easy and pleasant enough. The flight crew was nice, but service is only offered during meal times, or if you pay for food from the snack bar, including $4 for a bottle of water. You know when flying a low cost carrier though that there are some sacrifices to be made. It certainly wasn’t as pleasant as my recent flight to Africa with KLM, but for the price I was overall pleased with the value.