Norwegian's stealth cabin baggage confiscation policy.

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  • PhilipHart

    When travelling Ryanair, the T&Cs – clearly presented at the time of booking – advise that only 90 “roll-ons” will be allowed in the cabin. And in order to guarantee that your bag will definitely make the cut, you will need to chose “Priority Boarding” when making your booking.

    Some might see this as money-grubbing, but at least it has the merit of being transparent.

    But compare and contrast this with my experience on Monday 20th when flying LGW-PMI with Norwegian.

    I arrived at the gate sufficiently early to hear the initial call for passengers seated in rows 16-31, and only rows 16-31. This made a fair degree of sense, since it meant that those passengers sitting aft could board swiftly without having to struggle past those sitting forward. (In reality this wouldn’t have been a big problem because aft stairs were provided at LGW)

    Then came the call for all other passengers to board, but with the unexpected accompanying message that, because the aircraft had reached it’s allocation of 90 cabin bags – What? – all subsequent bags had to be handed in for placement in the hold.

    Now because I had positioned myself at the front of the queue I was able to remonstrate with the gate crew, saying that this was utterly random and incredibly unfair. I think she realised that I might be a bolshy sort, so she placated me by saying that they hadn’t quite reached 90 – because of late arrivals – and that I could slip under the limit. But the rest of the forward passengers weren’t quite so lucky.

    So does this mean that Norwegian are now operating a stealth baggage confiscation policy, when even the much-derided Ryanair operate theirs in an open and honest manner? I would certainly be interested to hear from Bjørn Kjos on the subject.

    postscript: for those who travel on FlyBe’s Q400 puddle-jumpers, you will often hear about “weight & balance” when you ask to be reseated. Well if this is Norwegian’s new – stealth – policy, then the weight distribution within the cabin will be skewed aft or forward, depending on which half of the plane is loaded first.


    Apologies for replying to my own topic, but I thought I would provide an update.

    I am currently flying back PMI-LGW on Norwegian, greatly appreciating the free WiFi.


    However I did not appreciate, once again, being told at the boarding gate that the maximum number of roll-on cabin bags had already been reached, and that my roll-on would have to go in the hold.

    Naturally I remonstrated, but to no avail; my bag was duly tagged, and I was told to hand it to the ground crew on the apron before boarding.

    Fat chance that was going to happen. I merely tore the tag off and chucked it away. Thus when I got the steps, I marched confidently on with my roll-on, while those with tags intact had theirs confiscated.

    Once on board I had a longish conversation with the senior cabin crew, saying that this new policy was not only irritating, it was also decidedly dishonest. Because, as I pointed out to her, and as i’ve indicated in my original post, at least Ryanair gives one the opportunity to pay to bring one’s cabin baggage aboard. The Norwegian policy is a crap shoot at best.

    She of course apologised for the policy and the randomness of its execution, but said that there was nothing she could do. Her only suggested remedy was that I fill in the on-line complaint form.

    I actually think it needs much more than that, so I think I will have to dust off my fountain pen and write directly to Bjørn Kjos. As the saying goes, an organisation is like a fish; it rots from the head first.



    Thanks for the stories, Philip, and no need to apologize. I enjoy a good rant anyway.

    No doubt the whole cabin baggage situation causes problems, and is very frustrating, for airlines and travellers alike. At least Norwegian is doing something about it, wrong though their policy may be. The cabin luggage topic has been discussed many times, and I think the best solution I’ve read is for all airlines to have a weight and size checker at check-in and ruthlessly enforce the actual rules for both premium and economy passengers. Some passengers will make it past check-in and to the security entrance: they could then be stopped there by staff with another size (not weight, as airlines differ) checker there, with offenders being sent back to check in the offending bags.

    All this is expensive, and difficult, but I think worth it.


    I’ve only travelled on Norwegian once and at the (automated) check in there was a problem which was dealt with very badly by the staff member on duty. We had each paid for a 20kg checked bag and one (guess who’s) weighed 22kg and the other about 12kg, so the heavier one was flagged for XB and the woman came over and said we’d have to pay extra. I said we’d just move stuff so that we’d have two of roughly 17kgs. No, she said rudely, we couldn’t do that as we’d already initiated the check in process. So I told told her to override and reset it, which she did in a huge strop.

    Subsequently I wrote to Norwegian to complain primarily about the woman’s foul attitude and then about the policy. They didn’t reply so presumably don’t care. Nor do I, as I don’t have to use them.

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