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Deny first, no matter how legit?

On the whole, we’ve been big fans of Norwegian Airlines and what they’ve accomplished in a relatively short tenure as a long haul airline. We love travel becoming more accessible to all, and Norwegian’s fares are a driving force in making travel affordable to more and more people around the world. We couldn’t pass up $69 one way flights to Dublin last year. But when the measures taken to deliver cheap fares ruin travelers vacations, and nothing is done to make things right – we draw the line. We’ve now received one (hundred) too many emails from people who read our previous story about a Norwegian compensation horror story and have again found themselves in a similar spot.

We Read The Emails

We’ve received hundreds of emails from passengers struggling to extract government mandated flight delay compensation from Norwegian Airlines. We then spent quite a bit of time checking into the actual delays, using FlightAware, historical weather maps and other tools to look for any legitimate reasons Norwegian might have to deny these claims. In far too many cases, Norwegian has denied claims which are 100% liable to be compensated. Too many of them have no grey area whatsoever and the European Union flight delay laws leave zero interpretation for Norwegian to hide behind. Sure, the 787 Dreamliner issues are semi unfair, but it’s not the passengers fault.

Deny First – No Matter What

Last year we covered a cut and dry case, where the airline flat out denied compensation on the first pass, despite there being no grey area whatsoever. The passenger was fully entitled to the €600 delay compensation, as mandated by law. This happens when the delay is 3 hours or more upon landing at your final destination for a long haul flight, and the reason is the fault of the airline – and not weather. It sadly appears Norwegian is back to the practice of denying all claims on the first pass, no matter how genuinely liable they are. Even when they are clearly in the wrong, they are choosing to deny hope, wrap people in red tape and force them to waste considerable extra time to receive something they’re legally obliged to pay out.

A Few Such Examples

A 15 hour delay on what was supposed to be a direct Newark to Rome flight. A reader named Michael got in touch to say that with no advanced warning, their midnight flight was delayed until 2AM leaving JFK. But then the airline pushed the flight back to 6:30AM, and merged everyone onto an Oslo flight, which meant their direct became a connecting flight. They then were forced to wait the day in Oslo airport, finally arriving in Rome with a delay of 15 hours, after sleeping on the floor of Newark Airport. Or how about when Norwegian cancelled a flight from Boston, sent an email confirmation (we’ve verified this) that a new flight would take off the same evening at the same time, only for passengers to turn up and find no flight at all.

Advice For Passengers

Norwegian’s practices in handling bonafide claims is downright wrong. There’s no defense for how the airline is choosing to handle legitimate claims, putting people they’ve already put through the ringer with their flights, through the ringer again – just to get what’s fairly and legally owed. If you’re unquestionably in the right, keep your emails concise, quote the law and disprove any possible excuse. Show examples of other airlines flying the same route operating on time on the same day. If your claim is denied, use the word “escalate” in your email. Politely ask for your case to be escalated to someone who has the decision making power to act on your behalf and deliver due flight delay compensation. Here’s the EC261 page with all relevant info to quote. Keep emailing, keep pushing – and if you have to – go to your aviation authority such as the CAA.

Have you had any issues getting Norwegian to honor legitimate claims?