The Norwegian Airlines That I Knew

My former airline is hiring extensively and aggressively. The growth is amazing and the opportunity— from both a travel perspective and employment perspective— is wonderful. Subsequently, there is increased interest over what the airline is like to work for; inquiries about pay and overall curiosity regarding the company. Although, I have never mentioned the company directly by name in a blog, until this post, I’ve made certain purposeful choices within my blogging, so that this website pop-ups at a top place in Google searches (if Norwegian is being searched). Also, uniform photos exist here and that Dreamliner is pretty recognizable.

Many interested individuals find The Flight Attendant Life due to their desire to work for the company. What they discover from reading the blog is a real, completely honest, and authentic perspective of what it was like FOR ME, at THAT TIME, working for Norwegian Airlines. What they will NOT find out is how it is now, how it is at a particular base, or how it could be for them personally. Because these things— I just don’t know. I just can’t know anymore. I could never know how it will be for you. It’s your life, so live it.

That being said, it makes me irritated beyond words when I hear people that have never worked for the company or ‘think they know,’ because someone told them, that the company is shit and, “Don’t work there.” How about this? I’ll listen to you when you actually figure it out for yourself. Pretty much anyone who leaves the company regrets it. It’s often hard to see how good you have it somewhere while you’re not there anymore. Or, like many of my friends who also left, you know how good it is, but life responsibilities demand a shift.

Do I regret leaving? I did, but not now. I’m doing this new thing now which I really love. I work as a freelance digital marketer, writing blogs for a luxury aviation company and fly as a contract corporate flight attendant with a few companies. When I was working at Norwegian Airlines, there were times when I was stunned by “my dream job.” It was a world that I would love and hate and love again. It was wonderful for the time that it was. But now, I have this new dream job that is amazing, challenging, and rewarding— a job and career I would have never been ready for if it wasn’t for Norwegian Airlines and the people that I met there.

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You may be curious about working for the company that has taken budget air travel to new altitudes; the airline with inexpensive ticket prices on beautiful new aircraft. It’s an unlikely opportunity like Norwegian Airlines. Secretly, I really want to tell you what to do and what I would do if I were you, but it’s not my place. The only story I have is the Norwegian Airlines that I knew. So, that is the story that I will tell, and ultimately, you can make your own conclusions and decisions.

I only quit one year ago, but I don’t feel like I know what the company is like now. My life is currently so embedded in corporate aviation that I’m disconnected to what my former crews and what the company is doing internally. Norwegian Airlines has been growing and changing quickly and drastically, so I cannot say how the company is to work for now. I know it’s larger and rarely do crew members fly with the same colleagues or pilots anymore. New bases and routes are opening up so quickly that I can’t keep up. The flight deck crew of foreign pilots are being added to by American aviators. London base is joined by European bases in Rome, Barcelona; and American crews are welcoming the option of a Los Angeles crew hub. So much opportunity exists in this company; so much adventure. It’s very exciting.

When I was cabin crew at Norwegian Airlines, it was like a family. Crews are hired through OSM Aviation and all employment details are handled by that corporation. All scheduling and rostering was (and still is) handled by Norwegian OCC (the name for the scheduling department). Both Norwegian and OSM is filled with some of the best management individuals that I have ever met. A few times, I even had the privilege of meeting the very kind founder of OSM and many crews have flown or met Bjorn Kjos, the CEO of Norwegian and one of the wealthiest men in Norway and the world.

The corporate culture as a whole is a very beautiful experience. Regardless of rank or status, everyone is considered equals. It is expected that you act and behave as an adult and it’s more than ok to approach upper management. American corporate culture is very different, and when I first left Norwegian in November 2016, this was an aspect of my career life that I missed very much.

I began working for the company in 2014 and was part of the second class located in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I was drawn to working for a European carrier; creating a new adventure for myself, and wearing the cutest cape and red gloves that I had ever seen. As an American who doesn’t speak any other languages besides English, it was a rare opportunity that I felt so lucky to have. The next three years were filled with what I never expected. I dated a Norwegian man for a bit and learned some of the language. I had the chance to return over and over again to some of the most beautiful countries in the world. I was proud to be part of that company, even when it had difficulties or I experienced challenges.

I didn’t know how the experience would shape, grow, and change me— but it did in so many ways. I didn’t anticipate the adjustment in pay that I would have to go through or how the commuting and long trips could affect my personal life. The long trips didn’t matter at first and even when it did, I knew how easy and good my job was. As a commercial flight attendant, there isn’t much better than working on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, with what was often your closest friends, and (sometimes) really young and very attractive foreign (they were always) pilots. The parts of the job that was difficult are the parts of every flight attendant and pilot job that will be difficult; jet lag. Scheduling, seniority, and rosters (monthly schedules) were also different than how an American airline will do things, but if you manage your expectations, or don’t compare “apples to oranges,” you’ll probably find Norwegian to be one of the best things that has ever happened in your life.

Then there was Copenhagen. When I was at the company, we couldn’t trade our schedules, drop trips, and seniority didn’t exist, but what did occur, was three, five, and seven-night layovers in Copenhagen, London, and Stockholm, among other things. I don’t want to glamorize this, as we didn’t usually stay close to the city centers and lots of nights in a city was always a treat, but it could happen. There was one trip pairing for a while that was perfect. One flight out from FLL. Sit for three nights-four days in CPH, and return back to Ft Lauderdale. I would sometimes take my kite gear, spend way too much time and money on avocado toast and cappuccinos, and wander the city.

Avocado Toast forever: Circa 2014-Current

As crew, we became intimately familiar with these foreign cities, the hotel staff, and our fellow crew members. After two weeks with the same nine colleagues, you could really love your crewmates, but not want to see them for months. We were this odd family with always a few oddballs in the mix.

There were our favorite crewmembers and captains. There were the horrible pilots too— the ones who crossed lines of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. But mostly, both crew and company management worked together harmoniously. Nothing was perfect, but it was good. The company is full of really good people. I can say that I miss my friends a lot, and for a long time after I left, missed the identity that I created for myself within the company.

I struggled while I was at Norwegian due to commuting. The job would have been so much better had I lived full-time at base. This was my choice to live in Los Angeles while based in Ft Lauderdale. I wouldn’t recommend following my example. Just live where you are based. Enjoy the job for what it is— because it truly is amazing.

If you hear negative things about Norwegian or any other airline for that matter, take the opinions lightly. Listen and evaluate what you hear, but I would highly recommend that you take a chance on your curiosities. Don’t let other people’s opinions, including mine, determine your adventures.

Do I wish I never left Norwegian? No— I won’t lie to you and say that leaving was an easy decision or easy after the fact. Leaving that airline was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. If it wasn’t for that company, I don’t think I would have been ready for corporate aviation. I grew a lot at that airline. I learned and adventured and lived so much of my time in Scandinavia. I made friends from all over the world.

Was it worth it working for Norwegian? Absolutely. Don’t compare it to any other companies or any other place. Let it stand alone. Let it be what it is. It will be the easiest job you ever have. It will introduce you to interesting and crazy individuals. You may love it. You may hate it. I don’t know how it will be for you, but for me, I have so many special memories from that company. I have so many lifetime friendships because of that company.

And, if you are curious about the Los Angeles base, or Barcelona, or Rome, I would love to tell you the details about how it is and what to expect, but I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the recruiters? Why don’t you just go to an interview and stop believing everything you read on the internet. Why don’t you just make a decision to go on a new adventure? If it’s terrible, at least you will never have to wonder what could have been.






About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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