Maybe we’ll just pay with Monopoly money from now on, and call it even?

Dear Norwegian,

You’re about to have your pants pulled down in public. Get the popcorn, and the tissues. As a travel blogger, two days are rarely the same for me. For example, in the last week I’ve been in Hong Kong, Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Paris – but one thing lets me know that the world is still the same place each day: emails, about you. Every day my inbox is flooded with emails about a story I once wrote, and before reading them, I always know how they end: with you explicitly lying about compensation claims. That’s not ok, and something should be done about it.

The Runaround

Norwegian Air lies to customers seeking rightful and lawful delay and cancellation compensation. Period, full stop, no amendments or asterisks. Flights are delayed because of technical faults, the passengers are told of these technical faults and told to contact Norwegian to receive their lawful EC261 European Union compensation, and then Norwegian’s claims department takes over, and  flat out lies to avoid actually paying out. It’s a classic game of “make it difficult, so they go away”, but there’s a definitive difference between difficult and fraudulent.

Every Email…

Every email I receive starts just about the same way. “I read what they did to your sister in law“. They then continue with “I was on a flight where the weather was clear everywhere, there were no ATC strikes and Norwegian either delayed or cancelled the flight due to problems with their aircraft, and theirs alone – every other plane flew that day”. When this happens on flights to or from the European Union, on European Union based airlines, passengers are owed money. Real money, and if the flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, they’re owed €600 and they still must be flown to their destination. I get up to 100’s of these very emails every day, and in every one, I check the flight records and see that there’s in fact no grey area. Norwegian should be paying, promptly. Instead, they lie. Yes Norwegian, you lie.

What if the government made you pay double the claim every time you were caught in a lie?

Fraudulent Claims

There’s a difference between runaround and fraudulence. Calling a lion an elephant, and selling a lion as an elephant is fraudulent. Finding a broken piece of plastic from the street and selling it as a brand new Macbook Air is fraudulent. Telling someone that they will not be paid what they’re owed, because of a rule which either a) never existed b) was overturned years ago c) has nothing to do with the specific case in question is purely fraudulent. Norwegian Airlines is taking months to answer customer emails which is bad enough, but when they do, they’re falsifying statements which they explicitly know to be incorrect. If you’re one of the people at Norwegian Air who send these emails, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are lying. You are hurting people and you really should be fined or prosecuted. Norwegian LOVES sending this tosh…

“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”

Officially Nonsense

It sounds official right? But it’s total BS. Extraordinary circumstances have been proven in court not to include airlines having technical issues or delays caused by all other avoidable cockups. It’s been tried, and the case is clear cut. Zeus coming down from the skies and striking a plane with a lighting bolt and then winking at passengers is an extraordinary circumstance. Not having pilots in position due to shoddy operational procedures is not. This is pure runaround designed to sound official, while being complete and utter nonsense. Maybe passengers can start telling you they’ve paid for flights, and when you ask where the money is they can just hand you Monopoly money? Seems fair to me!

My demands are simple: don’t lie. We expect you to drag your feet, play possum and pretend emails bounce – that’s the shady world we live in. But when you lie and take away hope from honest people, convincing them that the truth is not the truth you’ve gone way too far. I know you want to defer these payments until you can get out of the financial woods, but you won’t have any customers if your brand becomes synonymous with deceit. I’d question your moral compass, but I don’t actually think you have one at this point. My other demand is that you find one. You won’t have customers if you build a brand known for duping people wherever possible.

In Closing…

Dear Norwegian, you are duping customers at every corner in hopes of keeping your airlines balance sheets from sinking. Your airline launched in the EU, you set fares, you leased the planes, and you must play by the rules. Few airlines are seen as saints on this issue, but you’re the only one consistently telling patently false lies which cost hard working people the compensation they’re rightfully owed. Thank goodness people can make claims six or more years back, because when this letter makes the rounds, you might need another round of financing!

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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18 Comments

  1. Sorry, folks, but many of these super-cheap-no-frill-operations are just a matter of: Take the money and run. We all know that 99$ transatlantic fares aren’t sustainable and still people book them. So, what do you all expect? This is not about right or wrong. Norwegian wants to make as much money as possible. In order to do so, they will exploit there employees and their passengers as much as possible. If you don’t like the idea, fly other carriers. Norwegian will likely go bankrupt, soon, and I can already here the then stranded passengers whine about being left to themselves with wortless bookings. Grow up, understand that everthing in life comes at a price. And please, don’t travel with unrealistic expectations.

      1. This is not about EU protections but about a carrier’s policies. Of course you may be entitled to compensation, but
        a) good luck claiming it and
        b) even if you succesfully do so, you still have all the hassle in the first place – and in the process of claiming compensation, as well

        just not worth saving a dime or two

    1. My expectation cost near enough $1000 so don’t think it unreasonable to expect it back when they decided not to fly to and from US anymore.

  2. This behaviour is unacceptable but how is this any different from the way one of your favourites (British Airways) behaves when passengers make a lawful claim? My point is a “full service”, “legacy” carrier charging massively higher fares operates precisely the same deny, obfuscate and lie and they’ll go away tactics yet you don’t call them out… Evidence? Simply look at the British Airways complaints group (over 2k members) on Facebook for numerous examples.

  3. Totally agree. If you actually get that many emails, maybe you should lead the class action charge? Or at least act as a consolidator and take a cut…
    I’m so surprised the EU hasn’t clamped down harder on this. I know it has taken some action but those countries are pretty intolerant of “runarounds” as exemplified by the nearly immediate accusations of Google and FB under GDPR.

    On the other hand, this would be crazy expensive for airlines that operate on an ultra-low-cost basis. You’re getting what you pay for and if you’re delayed 4 hours on a $25 ticket across Europe… that just seems like a cost you should factor in. The LCC model allows them to offer crazy cheap tickets because they don’t have the same systems in place as full-service carriers and they don’t invest in that infrastructure.

    So I appreciate that the choice exists and see both sides. But if every airline paid out all these claims, I don’t know how ticket prices wouldn’t rise exponentially.

  4. I flew with Norwegian from Gatwick to New york on my honeymoon. We got told the aircraft had changed to yamos never heard of them. We payed for extra leg room we were checking in the lady said the aircraft only has extra leg room at exit seats I am disabled so could not sit in them. Got on plane no tv no service just t and coffee 8 hours flight should have been amazing not. I booked with cruise nation they told me to contact norweign I have this is so annoying no reply talking Sept here. Also they charged us extra to change the plane !!! I can’t express how disappointing we are it’s a disgrace do not book with them they need boycotting. I heard they are a nightmare with complaints.

  5. We had a flight cancelled due to a labor strike (not Norwegian emoyees) they rebooked us next the day from another airport. They reimbursed us our costs ($450 US hotel/train) after submitting the form they directed us to fill out. I think most people do not correctly fill out the forms.

  6. Flying from Gatwick to New York back in February this year for the first time was joy full on there Dreamliner.not so pleasing on way home delayed after being told technical flaunt with aircraft so given food vouchers witch we had to add money to discussing. Finally boarded on a aircraft that looked like it was from the seventies torn seat window blind stuck open carpet torn and staff that hardly spoke English wamos air ????? Thought we would make it home

  7. I had a situation at the airport in Bergen, Norway. The employees of the company humiliated me and made racist comments about my self …When I told them they had being disrespectful to me and I was uncomfortable about the comment they told me I was agressive with them when I was very calm .They denied the entry of my flight and they called me the police. The police apologized and regret about the situation but they couldn’t help me. I have to spend 400 dollar in new tickets.So far I have no response about the company.

  8. i have had quite a few with Norwegian went from novice to Champion flyer, I have had some very good times flying with Norwegian, I have never had a Pancake landing, I get the sense they have good flyiing crew just by the way they speak like they know what they are doing.
    However booked 3 flights in the final furlong got rewards, but will they be honoured, the Fat Cats in charge have left the bridge, AHOY THERE, so to relate.

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