The European low-cost airline, Norwegian has announced plans to open its fourth Cabin Crew based in the USA. The airline plans to recruit around 150 new cabin crew to work from its new Los Angeles base. Recruitment has already begun for direct entry ‘Cabin Chiefs’ with the process for hiring junior flight attendants to follow soon.
Norwegian already employs around 600 U.S.-based cabin crew – more than any other foriegn airline. This latest announcement should go some way to allaying fears that Norwegian has been trying to undercut legacy American carriers by hiring cheaper overseas staff.
In 2016, Norwegian carried over 30 million passengers and its likely to smash that figure by the end of this year. In the last 12-months, the airline has opened up a slew of new routes between Europe and North America. The decision to open a dedicated crew base in Los Angeles is on the back of yet more new routes.
In summer 2018, Norwegian plans two new services from Los Angeles which will operate four-times weekly:
- From June 18th: LAX to Milan Malpensa, Italy
- From July 17th: LAX to Madrid, Spain
The carrier already flies from Los Angeles to Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Oslo, Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
Norwegian has also announced an expansion of its services from New York JFK. On May 7th, a four-times-weekly service to Amsterdam, Netherlands will start, followed by a new three-times-weekly service to Madrid, Spain from July 18th.
“2017 has been a year of exponential growth for Norwegian in the United States. Next year, we will continue our vigorous expansion,” said Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s chief executive.
Kjos continued: “We are not slowing down our quest to provide Americans with low fares and a high-quality onboard experience. Americans have enjoyed our service so much that Norwegian was one of the world’s most awarded airlines in 2017.”
Unlike traditional U.S. airlines, Norwegian’s cabin crew aren’t directly employed by the airline. Instead, they’re hired and managed by OSM Aviation, a third party recruitment agency which is part-owned by Norwegian.
Unfortunately, OSM Aviation has come under fire in the last few months from serving Norwegian cabin crew. They’ve complained the company is disorganised and have raised concerns about how they are managed.
There are also fears that certain bases – notably the UK’s Gatwick base – have overhired crew. As a result, some cabin crew have claimed they spend most of their time on ‘standby’ duties without ever getting called to operate flights.
For those who are lucky to be called to work, it’s also important to mention how Norwegian schedule cabin crew rosters. Rather than simply operating a flight from, for example, Los Angeles to Madrid and back, you might end up working something which looks like this:
- Los Angeles to Madrid,
- Madrid to New York
- New York to Copenhagen
- Copenhagen to Los Angeles
As a result, you can spend anything from 8 days to 15 days away from home at a time. Clearly, this could appeal to some cabin crew although it won’t be suitable for all candidates.
We recently featured an interview with a serving member of Norwegian’s U.S.-based cabin crew to find out more about why they enjoy working for the airline – and what the recruitment process is like. Read the full article here.