Review | Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo – Kirkenes – Oslo, via Tromsø)

Once again, as this is a simple Economy report, it will be kept short, with both legs included in one report.

Flight Details (1):

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY)
Flight Number: DY 310
Route: Oslo (OSL) – Tromsø (TOS) – Kirkenes (KKN)
Duration: 3h 10m
Aircraft: B737-800
Registration: LN-NHG
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Seat Number: 21F
Date: 20/01/16

Flight Details (2):

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY)
Flight Number: DY 311
Route: Kirkenes (KKN) – Tromsø (TOS) – Oslo (OSL)
Duration: 4h 05m
Aircraft: B737-800
Registration: LN-NGN
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Seat Number: 21B
Date: 22/01/16

Norwegian is well known as a very high quality budget carrier, and is widely used across the globe. Whilst they categorise as ‘budget’, they seem to offer a bit more than the basics, and fit in the same leagues as Virgin Australia and Virgin America.

Check-in in Oslo was quick, with self bag tagging and boarding card printing. Once at the gate, we were expecting boarding to have already begun, yet the crowd of passengers were still sitting around the gate area. As we waited, the time reached 8:20am (our departure time), and nothing had happened. This continued for a while, with no announcements and no agents whatsoever at the gate. At the time the public display screens at the airport were out of order, so delay information was unavailable. I decided to see what I could find online, and by tracking down the registration of the aircraft scheduled to operate the flight, and then tracking that aircraft, I found it circling a little while away from Oslo. An announcement was later made, confirming the delay was due to late arrival of the inbound aircraft.

Once we finally boarded almost an hour and a half later, the captain informed us the delay was due to poor weather affecting the inbound flight. Once onboard, I was pleasantly surprised at the state of the cabin. The aircraft featured the Boeing Sky Interior, including higher ceilings, artful lighting and improved overhead lockers. The cabin was fresh and clean, no rubbish was in sight and everything was in order. Just like SAS, the seats were very slim so as to maximise legroom. Being a budget carrier, the aircraft was all economy class. On flights over 1 hour, Norwegian provided a snack service, with items available for purchase.

IMG_1255IMG_1265IMG_1270

The best thing about the airline is that free wi-fi is offered for all passengers, as well as complimentary streaming of 2 live TV channels. The Norwegian web-page also displays a flight tracker and provides destination and flight information. Full movies and TV shows are also available to be streamed for a charge. The connection was incredibly reliable and fast.

IMG_1376
Also note the hilarious sick-bag

The sector to Kirkenes involves a ground-stop in Tromsø to offload and collect passengers/ cargo. Once we landed there, transit passengers were told to remain onboard, whilst the others disembark. During the short stop the crew went through the cabin collecting rubbish, cleaning seat areas and neatly arranging all seat-belts, before doing a final head-count. Departure was prompt and we were soon in Kirkenes. The approach to Kirkenes was spectacular, with a wide expanse of icy mountains and lakes. The scariest thing was hearing the captain’s welcome announcement: “Welcome to Kirkenes, where the temperature is -27°C!!!

IMG_1258
Tromsø ground-stop
IMG_1247
Departure from Tromsø
IMG_1272
Kirkenes approach

IMG_1266

IMG_1274
Kirkenes approach

I’ll leave out aircraft/ service details about the return leg, but will touch on the delay issues. Once again, whilst waiting in Kirkenes for the flight to Oslo, the flight was continuously delayed and pushed back, with a final delayed departure about 1h 40m later than scheduled. This was once again due to weather affecting the inbound flight. I imagine that this must be a very common occurrence in Norway, where wild snow and winds are so prevalent. Travelling around Australia and Asia, we certainly take on-time flights for granted!

IMG_1363IMG_1358

IMG_1270

As this flight approached Tromsø, the sun had completely set (even though it was about 2:45 in the afternoon), and it was incredibly cloudy. It was a very rough and bumpy approach, until the captain retracted the flaps and began climbing. Now, it wasn’t a go-around/ aborted landing, as we were actually quite high when he decided to climb up above the clouds. He informed the cabin that the runway had been closed for snow clearing and they decided to climb above the clouds and circle, instead of wait in the turbulent air. After about 30 minutes, we finally made the approach and continued our ground-stop in Tromsø. Then, once we were ready to depart, there was another delay as we had to wait for aircraft de-icing to be carried out in the remote de-icing bay. Following this, the runway was once again closed for snow clearing, adding about 20 minutes to the ground stop. Eventually, we made it back to Oslo, albeit 2 and a half hours later than scheduled.

The delays didn’t bother me too much, and certainly don’t impact my views on the airline, given they were completely weather related. I have no other complaints about Norwegian. They offered a phenomenal product, with excellent service, including friendly crew, free wifi and free baggage allowances, all excellent perks for a budget carrier. Strongly recommend them! I would be inclined to fly them long-haul, however they have no alliances/ partners, meaning there are few frequent flyer benefits.

One Comment Add yours

  1. thevakie says:

    Very interesting

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s