Norwegian flight delay hits 44 hours

UPDATED: More than 200 passengers on board one of Norwegian Air’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner jets faced yet another nightmare trip over the weekend, with their flight setting what may be a record long delay because Norwegian’s aircraft lacked a spare part. On Monday, the delay was estimated to be as long as 44 hours.

Norwegian Air has had a difficult launch of its new intercontinental flights. PHOTO: Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air has had a difficult launch of its new intercontinental flights, and now a problem with one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets has delayed passengers by nearly two full days. PHOTO: Norwegian Air

Newspaper VG reported that passengers first had to spend many hours in the airport terminal in Orlando, Florida Saturday night before finally being sent to a local hotel. The flight should have taken off at around 10pm Saturday local time and land in Oslo on Sunday.

Norwegian spokesperson Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson initially told VG Sunday afternoon that the delay was estimated to be 24 hours, since the aircraft was waiting for the reserve part that had to be flown in from Norwegian’s base at London’s Gatwick Airport. By midday on Monday, the aircraft remained parked at the airport, unable to take off from Orlando. That extended the already lengthy delay to at least 40 hours.

One passenger complained to VG that it took “many hours” before the 221 passengers on board the Norwegian flight finally were offered accommodation in the middle of the night. That turned out to be at a Day’s Inn motel near the airport, where passengers also had to wait in long lines at check-in when they all were finally delivered to the Day’s Inn lobby.

“There hasn’t been any good follow-up,” Terje Rølvåg, age 50, told VG. “It’s one thing to get the message right away, and something else to sit for many hours in a terminal.” He was on a business trip to Florida and was also delayed by a day when traveling from Oslo to Orlando.

He and his fellow passengers ended up having to spend two extra nights in Orlando. Norwegian officials told VG on Monday that a new departure time was set for 2pm local time Monday (8pm Oslo time). That would get the passengers into Oslo early Tuesday morning, fully 40 hours later than their scheduled arrival time Sunday. By late Monday afternoon, Norwegian was reporting that the flight was due to land at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen at 4:55am on Tuesday. By midnight, the flight’s arrival time was delayed again, to 9:25am Tuesday.

Norwegian officials had to once again apologize profusely for the two-day delay, with the airline’s information chief Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen admitting the situation was “just terrible” for passengers on board and all those involved. “This is an unacceptably long delay,” Sandaker-Nielsen told VG.

He couldn’t even guarantee that the flight would take off at 2pm in Orlando, calling it “an estimated departure time,” Sandaker-Nielsen said. It was “taking time,” he said, for Boeing, which is responsible for maintenance of the aircraft, to get the spare part to Orlando.

Sandaker-Nielsen said Norwegian had tried to charter another aircraft to get its passengers to Oslo, “but there haven’t  been any available aircraft because of the football World Cup. Passengers will have all their food and hotel covered, but we understand that doesn’t mean much when they most of all just want to get to Oslo.”

Norwegian has been plagued during the past year by start-up problems with its new intercontinental service that uses Boeing’s troubled new 787 aircraft. Berglund

  • BobBobbyBobertsen

    Stuff happens, Orlando isn’t the worst place to get stranded for an extra couple of days, who is in a rush to get back to Oslo? I do hate how airlines are so slow to inform passengers and offer accommodation when the flight is obviously going to be cancelled.

    • Ben Taffe

      Orlando is one of my faves!

  • John Hoedemakers

    Orlando is not a bad place to be stuck, if you can do anything. Having to stay and sleep first in the airport, later in a roach infested dirty motel 10 miles off the airport in a very bad neighborhood is.

    • inquisitor

      Holding them up at a low budget Day’s Inn.
      For shame…for shame.

    • Ben Taffe

      Oh come on.. Everyone knows Florida is inhospitable. The Indians gave it to the yanks as punishment; along with potatoes and sugar. On top of that, aircon causes more global warming than it’s worth and perpuates the very need for ever more powerful heat-exchange systems in domestic and commercial environments.

  • No_offence_intended

    Enough of the excuses and blaming boeing. No other airlines are having the amount of issues that Norwegian is. And that is because they have well trained staff, who are experienced with their fleet as well as well established maintenance programmes.

    Norwegian has tried to do it on the cheap. What’s quite annoying is that they have set up and started marketing and selling tickets a long time and are still unable to get their transatlantic and Asian routes running smoothly. People should know by now not to book long haul with them. Short haul-no problem.

    The tickets aren’t even that cheap to be honest. I looked at flights around the end of August to Sep (out of interest) to New York. Norwegian came back close at around 4000 (adding a bag, which you need long haul) and British Airways had an unbelievable offer, around 3300 nok all in…for that you get full service.

  • Indian2003

    Norwegian should stop lying to the passengers. They knew very well that the spare parts would not arrive within 24 hours.
    I had a similar experience with them while waiting for my wife arriving from Budapest to Oslo. They kept delaying for 20 minutes every time.
    Finally after 2 hours and another 20 minutes, I called my wife in Budapest and she said they had not boarded to plane yet.
    For the next 4 hours they kept delaying every 20 minutes until the plane finally landed 4 hours and 45 minutes late.
    Another time in Budapest we had boarded the plane when they announced that the delay would be 15 minutes. After that none of the crew could offer any answers. The 15 minute delay turned out to 90 minutes.
    I have since stopped flying with them