While we know Norwegian mostly for their ground-breaking low fares across the Atlantic from several US locations, the company has a solid domestic network in Norway and to neighboring European countries.
I had found a good fare for the one-way from Tromsø (TOS) to Edinburgh (EDI) via Oslo and so decided to finally try out Norwegian.
Check-in at Tromsø was all automated, with a check-in booth that scans your passport and prints your boarding pass. This was even more surprising as it was for a flight outside of the Schengen Area. I had not purchased hold baggage and had no plans to check my carry-on that weighed about 23 pounds.
Security was easy and while there is no Priority Pass lounge at Tromsø Airport, the whole airport feels like a lounge. It’s quiet, the internet is free and fast and the coffee shop makes delicious coffee. The time for boarding came and it went in typical Norwegian fashion – just perfectly organized. Boarding was just 25 minutes before the flight and this time it completed in just 10 minutes for an almost full flight.
The plane seemed brand new and the seat pitch in row 16 (just behind the exit row) was very good – easily 32 inches.
After a few friendly announcements, we pushed back and took off right on time.
Norwegian has installed a personal device entertainment system but it just has a few movies and shows that are free to use. However, the company features FREE satellite-based internet for these flights.
Bandwidth was about 1Mbit and similar to what you see on United planes (but much faster than Gogo-equipped planes). I had no trouble working for an hour and just folded up my laptop as we did our final approach into Oslo.
For those of you who are thirsty, Norwegian only has drinks available for purchase – no free water.
Oslo Airport gave us a gate all the way at the end for the connection to Edinburgh. Past passport control there’s almost no seating options outside the gate. A very rude gate agent sent us away as there was a flight due to go before us. I’m not sure why she would send us away, as our flight boarded right after, less than 45 minutes later.
As luck would have it, she would also be there for our Norwegian flight and she ganged up with another attendant to give a few people (including me) trouble with our carry-on luggage. My Travelpro Rollaboard fits perfectly into the overhead bins and I had just flown Norwegian in the exact same way.
She would not have any of it and gave me a 10-minute speech. I did not budge and kept repeating my argument that this was exactly what Norwegian allows. Eventually, the flight seemed to close so I just started walking and motioned her to either call security or that I’d be on that plane stowing my bag.
Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of bin space and the flight attendants apologized for the gate agents who seem to pull this off unauthorized by the airline. Maybe they see this as a way to make extra money?
The flight attendants helped me find a spot and off we went for another 90-minute flight to Edinburgh with free, fast WiFi and a friendly crew. Again no complimentary drinks or food, but a clean and new plane easily made up for that.
Edinburgh Airport only had two immigration officers on duty but clearly had 300 people in the EU passport line. The ‘other passports’ line was just five people deep, so that was an easy call for me.
In summary, this was a great flight. It was on time, the flight attendants were helpful and the WiFi was fast. The planes were new and besides the drama about my bag this was almost perfect (and it was cheap, too).