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Norwegian Airways

Has anybody flown on this airline? If so, do you feel it is safe and reliable (would use for departing Paris to US).

Posted by
3455 posts

Safe? Hasn't lost one yet. As is often pointed out, you are far more likely to get run down on a Paris street (or at home, for that matter.) There is absolutely no way us ordinary folks can gauge airline safety.

Quality of flight is another story. Skytrax, a ratings service with a following among business travellers, seems sympathetic although it specifies that Norwegian is a low-cost line, implying low expectations.
https://skytraxratings.com/airlines/norwegian-rating

In 2018 Norwegian was criticized by airport authorities in Britain for its on-time performance. I can't say anything more up-to-date but a search for "on-time performance" may help you.

Posted by
6241 posts

All airlines are highly regulated, I don't think safety is an issue (plus their planes are much newer than legacy airlines). Many people on this forum have flown this carrier and seem to be pleased. The only issue seems to be that they are spread rather thin (in terms of equipment and financially), so they could outsource the flight to another operator, thus causing delays and perhaps not meeting some folks' expectations. I would still weigh those (potential) inconveniences against their prices, which are quite competitive.

Posted by
2044 posts

In 2018 Norwegian was criticized by airport authorities in Britain for
its on-time performance. I can't say anything more up-to-date but a
search for "on-time performance" may help you.

On-time performance has become a prerogative for the airline. Punctuality (as defined as percentage of flights departing on time) has risen from 72.4 percent in January 2018 to 87.2 percent in January 2020.

Posted by
5010 posts

Three things to consider if you are pondering this airline...

  1. Their finances. They are indeed stretched thin. Their business model - low cost, long haul leisure flights - has not yet proved financially profitable (there have been a couple notable bankruptcies from other low cost long haul airlines). Norwegian seems to be doing OK right now, but there's speculation about how long they can keep at it. That concern is heightened by...

  2. Aircraft issues. Norwegian has, I believed, ordered a bunch of 737MAX aircraft (still grounded) and they've also had troubles with engines on their 787s. All that has left them scrambling and juggling things, trying to salvage routes. It's anyone's guess if this will further impact their operations.

  3. It's a low cost carrier, so while prices are low, expectations should be calibrated.

All that said, many people love them, and have been very happy with their service.

Posted by
2044 posts

Norwegian's story has been followed on this forum over the last few years. If you use the Search bar above and search "Norwegian Air," you'll see lots of thoughts and opinions, including things like...

Perhaps more than you want to know about the most recent financials: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/transportation/norwegian-air-shuttle-2019-fourth-quarter-results

A thread that has been running since October: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/transportation/question-about-norwegian-s-liklihood-of-still-being-in-business-in-march

Norwegian does indeed have 18 parked 737-Max 8 aircraft. There are 12-13 more sitting in Seattle waiting to be delivered after the MAX is flying again (though... eek!... Boeing has found a new problem with some of its undelivered MAX aircraft).

Norwegian's Dreamliners have Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines, which have an unfortunate blade fracture problem, through no fault of Norwegian. Most European airlines went with Rolls Royce engines on the 787 (KLM-Air France being a notable exception); North American airlines generally went with GE engines (including American and United). According to the Q4 video presentation available on the Norwegian website, 11-12 of the airline's 36 Dreamliners are parked for engine repairs right now. So, the company has to "wet lease" aircraft (rent aircraft and crews from other companies) to cover its routes. Norwegian's response to the engine issues is reassuring regarding its safety culture.

I've only flown Norwegian on intra-Norway routes (not transatlantic routes). I had a positive experience.

Posted by
994 posts

I’ve used them without an issue. They canceled my flight for next September ( not flying to LAX on that date) causing issues with my insurance. I’m booked before I knew of their financial issues and was worried they would go bankrupt. They have a lifeline and I have a a United flight now.

Posted by
171 posts

They have a lifeline and I have a a United flight now.

Diane, what do you mean by a lifeline?

Posted by
994 posts

Wally, the airline got an extension from creditors on payments due and with the eventual release from credit card companies, this coming season after flights have been completed, puts much needed cash into their coffers. They have been headed toward bankruptcy for awhile now.

I found a sale on using miles on United the day Norwegian canceled my flight.