Complaints Against Norwegian Soaring

Norwegian reward program

Norwegian's global expansion, low fares and ever-expanding list of long-haul destinations may be winning them heaps of fans, but not everyone is pleased after a summer of disruption.

The disruptive low-cost carrier suffered the biggest number of complaints of any of the leading transatlantic carriers in the second quarter of 2018, according to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. The airline also received more complaints than competing low-cost carriers within Europe.

The news comes as a blow to the airline as London Gatwick airport is a critical hub for their European and long-haul flights.

The airline received 526 complaints per 1 million passengers carried, higher than Air France, KLM, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air Canada, United, American Airlines, and Lufthansa. Within the low-cost sector, complaints against Norwegian were higher than both Ryanair and EasyJet.

Flight compensation claims denied

Passengers who have recently suffered delays have told The Guardian newspaper that the airline cites ‘extraordinary circumstances' as the reason for delays, which means passengers do not qualify for the EU-mandated compensation for delays and cancelled flights.

Norwegian baggage delays

In normal circumstances, passengers flying with EU registered airlines have the right to claim compensation of up to NOK 5,500 if their flight is cancelled, overbooked or significantly delayed. The amount passengers can claim depends on the duration of the flight, and of the delay, and it's possible to claim for delays that happened as long ago as three years.

In a recent case, Norwegian refused to pay compensation when a flight from Florida was cancelled after it got a “puncture” on the tarmac, but a legal case had the decision overturned.

Last minute long-haul cancellations

The British newspaper also carries several stories from frustrated passengers. Those with the biggest complaints are when then airline has cancelled long-haul services at the last minute, or even after a significant delay.

While it's often possible to make alternative arrangements when intra-Europe flights are disrupted, such problems with long-haul services can leave people facing big financial consequences, not to mention their business trips or holidays being ruined.

Cherry Griffiths and her young family waited for a Chicago-bound flight from London Gatwick for 11 hours before it was finally cancelled.

She was told no accommodation could be provided, she would have to book alternative flights herself. Three months later the family are still waiting for their original flights to be refunded.

Dreamliner problems turning into a nightmare

The principal reason for the complaints is that Norwegian has suffered problems with the Rolls Royce engines of its new Boeing Dreamliner fleet, which has forced the airline to lease much older planes from other carriers.

The airline have issued an apology to anyone who has suffered delays over the summer.

We have hired other carriers to operate some transatlantic services due to mandatory inspections of a specific Rolls-Royce engine type on some of our Dreamliners. The feedback from customers is that they would rather fly with another aircraft type than not travel at all. Technical issues with some of the hired aircraft in the summer disrupted some flights but have since been resolved and we apologise to those passengers.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.


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  2. Dear David,

    I recently had a very bad experience with Norwegian. We went from Oslo to Miami, we checked in our luggage and got one carry on for bOth of us. Before boarding the plane they told us our carry on is too big (which is not, it is really small in comparison with others in the same flight) (it can be however 24 instead of 23 in depth because it has a pocket that is a bit hard) anyways we’ve used this luggage for ever and it is totally unfair and abusive how they allow you to enter with the hand luggage without problem and then right before boarding they forced us to pay the fee, basically put it like we pay or we don’t flight or lose the luggage we felt literally like being robbed and abused of the power they have in this moment. We contacted them and they didn’t care to help. So, my question is if you know which would be the next step for making a claim to a higher authority that can look into this mafia of forcing people to pay fees right before boarding… Thanks in advance.

  3. We had the same thing happen to us yesterday. Our flight was from Fiumicino Airport going to Orlando with a stopover in Oslo. Our luggage was tagged and approved for carry on in Rome. The gate in Oslo opened 30 mins before boarding time. While waiting for boarding we were approached by a Norwegian staff and asked if we were transit passengers and of course we said yes. She then asked to have our luggage weighed and told me my luggage was bigger than the required size,(we saw bigger carry ons once inside the plane) we told her we were already approved in Rome but she said she need to check it again. They made my friend and I check in our luggage and pay $85 each. When I told the staff I can discard some items in my luggage to meet their weight requirement, he informed me that the plane is boarding and to just send their customer support a complaint. I feel we were pressured and forced to pay since the boarding has started. The request to reweigh our luggage was done 5 mins before boarding which left us feeling we were going to delay the flight if we unload our stuff. I feel that this illegal in a way, felt robbed and taken advantage of because of the power that they had at that particular time. Sent a complaint online and still waiting for a reply. I am also interested on who I need to contact (government body) to file a complaint regarding what I feel is a subtle but coercive practice by Norwegian airlines.

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