Ongoing technical trouble with Norwegian Air’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is causing more nightmares both for the airline and its passengers. Yet another flight from New York to Oslo was seriously delayed on Wednesday, and passengers weren’t even offered a cup of coffee.
The airline has suffered a string of disappointments over the aircraft that Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos was so proud to introduce earlier this year. Their delayed arrival caused by battery problems ended up spoiling the launch of intercontinental routes to Bangkok and New York, and now problems with pumps and hydraulics have caused more serious delays and forced Norwegian to lease new aircraft. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Kjos ended up missing his own airline’s promotional party in Bangkok earlier this week.
Another major problem is that Norwegian isn’t part of any airline alliances, so can’t place stranded passengers on other carriers unless they buy tickets for them. That’s expensive, and Norwegian has no other reserve aircraft of its own, hence the need to lease in aircraft from other carriers and the delays that entails.
A Norwegian spokeswoman said this week that the airline was sorry about all the delays and inconvenience to passengers but was putting safety first through its decision to replace the Dreamliners. The airline nonetheless did little in the air to make up for its problems on the ground, with one passenger reporting that she still had to pay USD 5 for a blanket, received no breakfast because she hadn’t ordered it in advance and “we weren’t even offered a cup of coffee.” Water was available, after a storm of passenger complaints earlier this summer, but not voluntarily offered by flight attendants “who just rolled right by us with their carts.”