News emerged from Norwegian Airlines this week of plans to cancel a variety of US routes, and shift others to seasonal services only, as early as this fall. The move, seen as a necessity to stem cash flow issues which have beleaguered the operation will see increased focus on Asia routes, as well as more profitable routes currently operating elsewhere. But it leaves one important question. What happens to all the passengers who’s Norwegian flights have been cancelled?
There’s two important factors here: flights that won’t ever return, and flights that are simply cancelled on a seasonal basis. For fall and winter 2019 into 2020, the following flights are cancelled until further notice in both directions…
- Boston (BOS) – Paris (CDG)
- Chicago (ORD) – London (LGW)
- Denver (DEN) – London (LGW)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Copenhagen (CPH)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Copenhagen (CPH)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Oslo (OSL)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Rome (FCO)
- New York (JFK) – Copenhagen (CPH)
- New York (JFK) – Stockholm (ARN)
- Orlando (MCO) – Oslo (OSL)
Furthermore, at the end of October, Norwegian will permanently suspend flights between London Gatwick and Las Vegas, and also Orlando, FL and Stockholm. The routes never saw substantial uptake, particularly as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic shifted Las Vegas flights to Heathrow Airport.
No matter what it tries to claim, Norwegian is a European airline, and therefore their flights are always subject to European Union rules on delay and cancellation. Since a majority of these flights wouldn’t yet have been on sale, there’s not much harm or foul here. However, if you had any of these flights booked, the airline must refund you in full. With any hope, they have already been in touch and that process should be started.
Ultimately: passengers will lose faith in making bookings with Norwegian if they feel there’s a solid chance that their booking will be cancelled and they’ll be left to buy a more expensive ticket later on. This would represent a larger problem than any other the airline currently faces.
Side tip: though it doesn’t apply to these Norwegian bookings, for all flights from the European Union on any airline, or to the European Union on European airlines, If your flight has been cancelled within 14 days of departure, and the flight you’re rebooked on lands more than 4 hours from the originally scheduled time, you’re entitled to €600 as well as the round trip ride.
Even delays between 2-4 hours would get €300 if the flight is cancelled within 14 days of travel. Again, this doesn’t apply to these Norwegian flights specifically, given the lead time given here, but it’s always good to know what you’re dealing with, when faced with cancellations on any airline.