a red and white airplane in the air

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.

a plane with seats and a televisionWe 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 bridge over a river with a large building and a domeA 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?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I lost a valuable necklace when told at the gate I had to hand in my carry on bag. I had a senior moment and did not remember about my jewellery being in the bag. After much correspondence and Norwegian denying having received certain documentation (signed for by them) to support my claim for compensation, they denied liability as did my own insurance company latterly. Make people aware of this expensive outcome where a passenger carrying only one piece of luggage loses out because Norwegian allowed passengers who boarded earlier to take up to 3 pieces into the aircraft (I counted as they disembarked!)

  2. They sadly are. My flight from ARN to OAK on Jul 31 was delayed by over 6 hours. Norwegian is claiming extraordinary circumstances due to mechanical/maintenance reasons, their response below:

    Norwegian flight: DY7067 (ARN-OAK) 30.07.2018
    Disruption type: Delayed
    Delay time: 6 hours and 13 minutes
    Reason for disruption: This delay was caused by an inspection of the aircraft following a possible technical fault. During inspection, no technical defect was found. The aircraft was then released for operation without the need to replace any components.

    Although we respect your request for compensation, we’re unable to honour your claim as your flight was delayed due to extraordinary circumstances. This is in accordance with the European Court of Justice Verdict C-549/07 Wallentin-Hermann.

    They even announced over the PA system at the gate that everyone would be eligible for the €600 compensation, so this is rather frustrating. Would you recommend going straight to the national enforcement bodies on this, or wait for their response (I responded quoting van der Lans case (C-257/14)) first?


  3. Hi Godsavethepoints
    I have the same problem that Torstein is refering to. The most important part is i Norwegian,sorry. I’ii tried a google translate.
    What to do next. Can somebody help me???

    Flight Disruption Information

    Norwegian flight: DY7202 (BKK-OSL) 20.09.2018
    Disruption type: Delayed
    Delay time: 4 hours and 11 minutes
    Reason for disruption: This disruption was caused by an inspection of the aircraft following a possible technical fault. During inspection, no technical defect was found. The aircraft was then released for operation without the need to replace any components.


    Vi respekterer ditt krav om kompensasjon. Dessverre kan vi ikke imøtekomme dette, da denne avgangen ble forsinket som følge av forhold som utgjør ekstraordinære omstendigheter.

    I de fleste tilfeller, vil passasjerer har rett til erstatning når uregelmessigheten skyldes en teknisk feil. Dette er i henhold til domstolsavgjørelsen C-257/14 van der Lans, hvor en utskiftning av en teknisk komponent kan anses for å være innenfor flyselskapets kontroll og dermed gi rett til kompensasjon.
    Google translate.
    In most cases, passengers will be entitled to compensation when the irregularity is due to a technical failure. This is according to the C-257/14 van der Lans court decision, where a replacement of a technical component can be considered to be within the airline’s control and thus entitle it to compensation.

    Domsavgjørelsen sier videre at visse tekniske problemer likevel kan utgjøre ekstraordinære omstendigheter som fritar flyselskapet for erstatningsansvar. Dette vil omfatte tilfeller hvor en inspeksjon resulterer i at ingen tekniske komponenter feiler, tekniske problemer som kan påvirke flysikkerheten, som til eksempel skjult fabrikasjonsfeil, og/eller skade på flymaskinen som følge av sabotasje eller terrorisme.

    Google translate
    The court ruling further states that certain technical problems may nevertheless constitute exceptional circumstances that release the airline for liability. This will include cases where an inspection results in no technical components failing, technical issues that may affect flight safety, such as hidden manufacturing defects and / or damage to the aircraft due to sabotage or terrorism

    Vi beklager de ulempene denne uregelmessigheten har medført, men håper at vi til tross for dette vil få gleden av å ønske velkommen ombord ved en senere anledning.

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