What if McDonalds stopped serving burgers, Or KFC, chicken?
Make no mistake: no one flies Norwegian because they love the seats. People love Norwegian because they’ve taken the excitement and aspiration of airline travel and made it affordable for more people around the world than ever. People love Norwegian for low fares, the same way they love Apple for overpriced electronics – it’s what they do. The Blue Swan Daily, an aviation trade paper has quoted Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos as saying something which seems entirely contrary to their core value proposition…
“There is no chance airlines can continue on without raising air fares” – Bjørn Kjos, CEO Norwegian Airlines, October 25th, 2018.
It’s never been cheaper to fly. Factoring in inflation, average wage and many of today’s headline worthy fares, this is the best time to travel. But the man who lead the quest for low fares appears ready to reverse course. In Norwegian’s Q3 earnings call, the enigmatic CEO stated very simply that low fares cannot continue at current levels. Hey, you started it! The idea of Norwegian being the airline pushing for higher fares is like the idea of McDonald’s leading a campaign for vegans, it just doesn’t fit. But in a time when it’s do or die for many airlines, with rising oil prices and a low season ahead there may be little choice.
Norwegian is one of many airlines people have their eyes on, after the recent folding of Primera Air and Cobalt. Norwegian has been the most prolific and successful of the new generation low cost carriers, expanding rapidly into new markets while piling on heavy debt from wild spending on new aircraft. The airline however, is showing promise and early investment is beginning to pay off. In the Norwegian Q3 earnings call for 2018, CEO Bjørn Kjos proclaimed a $160 million dollar net profit, citing 33% growth in capacity with reduced unit cost per passenger. Things are looking up for the airline, but Kjos warns of future trouble, not just for Norwegian but all airlines if the pricing status quo remains. It seems the war he’s started is one he’d like out of.
What do you think of Bjørn Kjos comments?
They are realistic. While offering lower fares than the legacy airlines is their plan, fuel costs have gone up and those low fares can not stay as low as before.
They are neither realistic nor honest.
It’s ironic that Norwegian are the ones who are arguing higher ticket prices: After years of lowering the passenger comfort standards, relatively high costs of tickets (when all “unnecessary add-ons” like luggage, seats, meals are selected – all services that are included in most flag carrier ticket prices), and the lack of passenger service: No phone hotlines overseas, no offices, no help if a departure is cancelled for whatever reason, no code de conduite during emergencies… Norwegian’s biggest competitor SAS, however, has been fairly realistic in order to survive the rat race, unfortunately being forced to follow into the rabbit hole of appalling service level that Norwegian has dictated us. I’ve had the questionable pleasure to travel transatlantic Norwegian on two separate occasions, and it was neither cheap nor comfortable. Virtually non-reclining seats, inedible, tiny portioned food, no drinks included, borderline rude cabin crew, and fasten you seat belt sign turned on during 60% of a red eye flight, with not a single turbulence ripple felt along the whole trip. I guarantee you, Norwegian, fortunately your days are coming to an end, because you will never be able to compete with neither comfort nor quality, or decency for that matter.
Rest in peace, long live your successor. We mon’t miss you.
Maybe fly a different airline? Norwegian is just like anyone else in the sky. Economy has pitch, recline and width on par with legacy airlines. Premium Economy is a far superior experience to other airlines’ premium economy for alot less money.
Many travelers now just pack a carry on and want to doze off in whatever seat they get. Some travelers pack a more and want to choose their own seat, etc. Like it or not, people not wanting full service generally don’t want to pay for extra service for someone else.
We’ll see how it goes. The CEO’s words made more sense when given full context. They’re here for a while longer, choose wisely.
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