Tips on How to Survive a Norwegian Airlines Flight

All your questions answered about flying with Norwegian Airlines – including how strict is Norwegian Air with Carry On Size Luggage.

When I made the decision to come back home early from Thailand, I started looking at flights.  If I had known my return date, I would have booked a round trip flight.  Obviously, I did not though so I had to book another one-way flight which proved to not be the cheapest option.  Until I ran across a Norwegian Airlines flight in the searches.  It was half the cost, but would basically double my travel time.  A 13-hour flight to Norway, then a 10-hour flight to Ft Lauderdale where I would then switch airlines to get to Chicago. I didn’t really know anything Norwegian Airlines and afterwards, I realized how they can be and that questions such as how strict is Norwegian Air with carry on size luggage is very popular.

I was willing to sacrifice my sanity though to save 400 bucks.  I had never heard anything about Norwegian Airlines but I love everything about Norway so just assumed I’d love it too.  Until I started reading reviews AFTER I booked the flight.  Because I read these reviews, I prepared myself.

Others may not realize all the little idiosyncrasies of this airline though and so I thought I’d write this handy-dandy guide.

1.  Bring some version of a blanket.

I’ve never been on an international flight that didn’t provide blankets and pillows.  Of course, they aren’t the best blankets and pillows.  But, they are there.  Not on Norwegian Airlines though.  You can BUY a blanket and a crap one at that.  And, trust me when I say that they keep the flight FREEZING COLD so you would give up your right arm for a blanket.

So, to save yourself from buying one, bring layers first of all.  Then a scarf, a sarong, gloves, a hat…okay maybe that’s a bit crazy.  But, I will say I had a lightweight jacket, a scarf, and a sarong and I was pretty cold still but I’m always cold.

Here is a great lightweight travel blanket.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure.

2.  Buy snacks and drinks before boarding.

This is the only time I would actually say that airport food is cheaper.  You do NOT get a meal OR snack OR even water with Norwegian Airlines.  Not for free at least.  You can either pre-pay when you get your tickets and get a hot meal.  If you don’t pre-pay, a hot meal isn’t even an option once on board.

You then can only get snacks and drinks but ONLY during a small window of time – like 30 minutes a few different times during the flight.

In addition, my neighbor did get one of these snack items which had chicken in it.  After purchasing it through the menu on your in-seat screen, they then came by and said they don’t have that item.  That she can have something similar with beef in it.

So, my advice would be to buy whatever it is you actually want to eat at the airport to take on the flight.  I did this before the first flight (Bangkok – Norway) then ate a meal in the Norway airport and then bought snacks for the 2nd flight (Norway – Florida).  Others would maybe just rather pay for each item in flight but I’d rather not when the food isn’t even what I want anyway.

Vegan jerky is a great flight snack to bring.

how strict is norwegian air with carry on size

3.  Bring your own headphones.

Not much to expand on here but bring your own.  You’ll have to purchase them otherwise.  In-flight entertainment is free.  Thank goodness!  I like headphones like this because they stay in my ears and you don’t need a cord!

how strict is norwegian air with carry on size

4.  How Strict is Norwegian Air with Carry On Size Luggage

There are no checked bags for free on Norwegian Airlines.  Not really a shock these days though with international flights.

You can carry on one bag (not to exceed 10kg) and one personal item.  I had read in advance that they are SUPER strict about this.  My bag was within the measurement restriction but most definitely not within the weight restriction.  I just crossed my fingers and panicked inside until I made it onboard without having my bag weighed.  I would not count on this though based on all the things I read.

If you carry a backpack (mine was 35L) and carry it like it weighs nothing, you’ll most likely be okay.  I would, however, have the funds available to check your bag if they make you.

Reminder: Wear as many of your clothing items as you can.  Carry your camera (you can hand-carry it and it will not count as part of your weight limit).  Wear your heaviest shoes.

how strict is norwegian air with carry on size

It’s not all bad

  • Each seat has it’s own USB charging port.
  • Bigger windows with dimmers instead of shades.
  • Increased humidity on the flight which apparently means less jetlag.
  • Overall pleasant flight crew.

In all seriousness, Norwegian Airlines wasn’t a bad airline.  It’s just one to be prepared for or you could be really surprised about all the expenses you COULD incur on what you thought was a cheap flight.

Overall, the flight was well worth it for the price difference.  Given that I did my research beforehand, I didn’t even mind the above things.  If I had not known though, I would have definitely been miserable for 13 hours – freezing, hungry, expensive bags and no entertainment unless dishing out a lot of money would have been terrible.

If you’re always looking for a good deal just like me, definitely check out this awesome budget flier tips & essentials guide that Practical Wanderlust put together!

Have you ever flown Norwegian Airlines?  What were your thoughts? 

how strict is norwegian air with carry on size
how strict is norwegian air with carry on size

Ashley Hubbard

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. Ed Rex


    I was actually thinking of getting a Norwegian Flight from London to New York. I imagine as tit’s miles cheaper, of course you aren’t going to get all the benefits as you would with a more expensive flight.

    Just out of curiosity, were you coming back from Thailand to Norway?

  2. Karyn Jane

    This was a good heads up! I learnt the hard way a few years ago that cheap flights are cheap for a reason and I found myself in 6.5 hours of misery because I hadn’t done the research properly. Definitely a good idea to plan ahead!

    (P.S. It looks like the link to your post in the #WeekendWanderlust linkup is broken…it wouldn’t load for me so I had to come to your page directly).

  3. It doesn’t sound too bad to me. You have obviously never travelled on Aerolineas Argentinas or Viva Macau (currently in liquidation) – lol. I’m not sure we will ever fly Norwegian Airlines but if we do I will remember your tips. Thanks.

  4. Natasha Amar

    Some good tips here! I’ve had similar experiences on budget airlines but had no idea about Norweigan Airlines. Will keep this in mind for the future, thanks for sharing!

  5. We flew Norwegian Airlines when we went to Denmark last year. The flight was so cheap and it was a direct flight from Los Angeles to Copenhagen, which was awesome. We had a very good experience. I did pay the extra to check luggage, choose our seats, and get a meal, and that was the best decision I made. We’re flying them again within Sweden in a couple months.

  6. Amanda @ MarocMama

    I have flown Norwegian twice. Oslo to Marrakech and Marrakech to Helsinki (via Oslo). I have zero complaints. They were so easy, professional, and I never felt like it was a budget airline (when comparing to EasyJet/Ryanair/Spirit Airlines). For a short flight (5 hrs or less) I didn’t see any problems at all, packed snacks and entertainment – there’s free wifi onboard many flights too. Though for an international flight I might feel differently!

  7. This was a great post, really informative! I almost booked with them last year but found something else. Glad I know these things now because they have such low fares! Thabks for sharing

  8. rafiquaisraelexpress

    OMG this flight actually sounds awful. When it comes to short international flights I don’t mind suffering. I expereinced the above on multiple Air Asia flights. But a long haul flight? Gosh I think I might pay more 🙁

    1. Mike

      Flying norwegian tomorrow and just read your blog (you are first on google, woohoo). Thanks for saving us a bunch of coin and headaches 🙂

    2. Mike

      Flying norwegian tomorrow and just read your blog (you are first on google, woohoo). Thanks for saving us a bunch of coin and headaches 🙂

  9. Michelle Dunner

    I flew Norwegian from Stockholm to Budapest. I bought my luggage allowance in advance although I had a hard time convincing the check-in person at Arlanda of that fact – especially as I didn’t have access to a printer and could only show my confirmation on my iPad. The rest of the trip was absolutely fine. I have flown long haul on budget airlines (no food, no blankets etc) but I’m prepared for that. Whenever you fly budget, that has to be the motto – be prepared to look after your basic needs or pay a premium.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Well said Michelle! As I said, it wasn’t a bad airlines but there are so many people who don’t realize what is and isn’t included and could easily be surprised with $100-200 of extra charges if they don’t prepare themselves.

  10. It’s a good thing you did your research. I can see why they’re able to make the airfare so cheap, but it sounds like you can easily compensate for what’s lacking without spending that much money.

  11. Brant

    Hey Ashley and readers,

    Here’s a hot tip for you. If you book your Norwegian Airlines tickets from the “Norway” version of the website instead of the “USA” version you will incur a substantial additional savings. I am booking to basic tickets from LAS to CPH round trip on Feb. 16- Feb. 23. The USA site totals to $700.00. The Norway version totals to $599.00. Of course it is all in Danish, so you will have to translate some of it, but look at the USA version first to see how it works.
    Happy Travels!!

    1. LHoglin

      Thanks for the tip!!!! We just bought our tickets, RT LAX to Gatwick, but there will be future trips!!!

  12. Liz

    Hi Ashley!

    What backpack did you use for your trip? I’m booking a cheap European trip this summer and I’m trying to decide what backpack to bring!


  13. Belida

    Great advice. Thanks for writing this.

  14. Julie

    HI Ashley,
    Were they super strict about their baggage size policy? The width of my bag is 10″ and the width on the website says 9. Did they measure it? Weigh it?

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      They did not weigh or measure mine, but I did notice them doing it to others. I KNEW mine was over the weight though so I carried it as if it was super light (fake it til ya make it!) and it worked. You can also hand-carry cameras and laptops and wear several clothing items. I think you could get by with 1″ extra on the measuring, but don’t take my word for it.

  15. echo

    Hi Ashley, thank youfor the heads up on keeping warm I so hate to be cold and hungry, We leavein four days, so glad I found your site.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Yes, I don’t do well the cold either! Hope your trip went okay 🙂

  16. Gowtham Sathyanarayanan

    I am gonna fly in Norwegian in few days. This gave an overview of in-flight experiences and I will be well prepared. Thanks 🙂

  17. Merce

    Did you get any water for free? Or no de los for free at all? Thanks, Merce

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I do believe I got a glass of water when asked but I did feel like I had to hunt them down for it.

  18. Vegan Lady

    On my way back from Fuerteventura to Gatwick. Impressed with the wifi, but the food! Nothing vegan to eat except a fruit salad or a tiny bag of nuts. Having discovered this on the outward journey, I stopped off in the airport coming home to get something to eat on the plane. Even in Fuerteventura airport I could only find cashew nuts, (but a bigger bag) and a packet of Oreos.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Yes, I haven’t flown since being vegan but I would imagine the choices aren’t great. Hope you had a great trip though!

  19. Anonymous

    I’ve flown Norwegian premium four times and none of what you said was true on my flight. They have free blankets for the premium passengers and you also get two free meals. Flight attendants come around with free earbuds almost immediately. Not sure why you were hating on this airline so much.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I wasn’t hating on them by any means – I even said that at the end of my post. This was my experience when I flew with them and wanted others to be prepared 🙂

  20. Savannah

    Anonymous- Perhaps your experience was also different because you flew premium, as you clearly stated…

    Ashley, I just stumbled on your blog while researching Norwegian Airlines. Thank you for the tips and sharing your experience. I will be flying Norwegian from Denver to London R/T in November. My main concern has been the baggage, but I appreciate you mentioning the blanket, as I tend to get cold too and wasn’t sure if one was provided. Already planned on bringing snacks!

    Regarding baggage – I found a carry-on bag that meets the size requirements, but I would like to use a small back-pack for my personal item. Do they measure personal items? I have a bag that would fit “comfortably” under the seat, but I think it may be slightly larger (only one dimension) than the size indicated. Also, the policy appears to be combined weight now, which definitely makes things more challenging. Thank you!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I did have a personal item that was also larger than a typical personal item would be. I probably forced it under the seat if I remember correctly haha. Basically, my carry-on was a backpack (35L I believe) and my “personal item” was a smaller backpack but still definitely bigger than a purse. They did not measure my personal item when I went. I really hope this helps! I definitely would fly them again (and definitely wasn’t hating on them) and it sounds like some things may be different than they were a few years ago but some of these tips should still help 🙂

  21. Cheryl Sheridan

    My daughter is flying Norwegian in a few weeks and I’ve been doing research since this is her first international flight. Very helpful information here that I will be passing on to her. I booked her the Low+ that includes for free one checked bag, one carry on and a small item for under the seat. Also was able to choose her window seat and get a meal. Very reasonable price and a good deal Just stressing now to find the right luggage for her that fits the requirements. Thank you for great information!!

  22. Cherry

    Norweigian airlines from copenhagen to barcelona was delayed for 2 hours and on top of that they have the guts to charged me $93 US dollar on a hand carry that barely fit their hand carry size… so be aware!!!

  23. Jeffrey Sank

    Yes, I found this out after booking our first leg from NY to Paris, but I saved about $180 on our return flight from Gatwick to NY ($60 per ticket). I just ran the USA site and Norwegian site simultaneously for translation. Now that I booked, I have it loaded on my APP and it is all in English.

  24. Norwegian frequent flyer

    I find the article and title a bit amusing to be honest. I fly a lot, about 15-20 flights per year, on Norwegian. Both for work and for holiday trips. During last 18 minths I have also flown with SAS, British Airways, Finnair, Turkish Airways, Emirates and Lufthansa, so I think I should be able to make some comparisons.

    I dont consider Norwegian as budget airline. To me its more like a ”smart airline” where you only pay for the services that you want. Sometimes on work trips its annoying to pay for your coffee in the plane, when company pays the ticket its offcourse nicer to have all the amenities bundled into the ticket. Apart from that, I have found Norwegian to be very reliable, they have new planes which are clean and in good condition, service is just as good as with the ”normal” (a.k.a old school) airlines and as added benefit they were one of the first airlines to have on-board wifi in almost all planes (at least on european routes, dont know about long haul). By the way wifi is free!

    As for paying for the amenities such as blankets, coffee, Etc it should be reflected on the total cost of ticket. I fly a lot between the nordic countries and UK for work, and have found that almost always Norwegian is 30-60% cheaper than conventional competitors. Last week from London to Helsinki return was about 400€ on Finnair and BA and less than 200 on Norwegian… So with Finnair you would pay 200€ for couple of cups of stale coffee and to borrow a blanket for two hours. Not a very good deal.

    Added benefit on short hop routes is that Norwegian flies all flights with full size planes with 3+3 seating. SAS, Finnair operate a lot of the short legs with smaller planes like embraer or ATR-72 turboprop which are much more cramped and also noisier.

    Off course my experience is only from european routes with 1-3hrs flight time. I have no experience with Norwegians long haul services. However i wouldnt hesitate one second to book any of those, especially if I was paying the ticket with my own money.

  25. Michele

    Glad to have found your post about Norwegian Air. flying them for a first time next week. I was searching for whether they’d have pillow or blankets. Being a vegan traveler I’m excited to follow your posts on that, too! Thanks!


  26. Lisa

    Ha! I am just booking my first flight on Norwegian and was Googling about baggage fees and your site was first to come up! I love to see that and your info helped me. Thanks Ashley!

  27. Reas

    Thanks for this information. I will be booking flights soon and have been a little concerned about the luggage issue. We’re light travelers, but not sure if we’re light enough! I had been thinking about wearing as much of my clothing as I could comfortably and this article helped. It will settle 2 problems! – I won’t be cold! LOL!
    Is it possible/ethical to repack some of the clothes I would be wearing prior to boarding?
    I also had planned on buying food in the airport before boarding. We’re going from LAX to FCO 11+ hours, but the non-stop flight will be better than layovers! Another reason we chose Norwegian.
    Thanks again for the info!

  28. Ed

    So glad I found your post! Flying Norwegian for the first time Oakland to Rome. 160 one way — now I know what to expect.
    Thanks so much.

  29. Veronica Hammond

    My husband and I fly frequently from the UK to USA and was on the first flight with Norwegian from Gatwick to Tampa. We have since flown with Norwegian on a number of occasions and value for money they are great. As you said if you do your homework it works well. The Flight from Gatwick leaves at 1500 so we arrive at Gatwick for 1200 and have a proper meal at the airport and then buy Sandwiches and drink to take on board, this also cuts down on hanging around time in the airport.

Leave a Reply