Norwegian Air passengers were left fuming on Sunday night after the airline cancelled its return flight from Bergen to Berlin. The passengers were told they had to organize their own replacement flights, but there were no seats available until Thursday.
A technical error forced the cancellation, which affected 73 passengers flying to Berlin, and 116 back to Bergen, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
“We got the first message that the plane was cancelled from an information person at the airport, and then the manager came and said that there had been a technical failure which means the plane was cancelled,” said passenger Christian Andersen, who was flying home from Berlin with six friends. “What people reacted to is that Norwegian did not manage to do anything themselves, that they did not get a plane or arrange to get us onto other planes so we could come home.”
Andersen said he and his friends were put up at a nearby hotel, but had to sort out their own tickets. “We had to make contact with Norwegian ourselves, and the first available plane was not until Thursday,” he told NRK. “That was out of the question, because many of us had to go to work. I should be at work today. Norwegian has handled this very badly. What they’re now doing is saying we can get money for the tickets, but getting ourselves home is our problem.”
He said the few seats that were available in the peak July travel period were incredibly expensive, up to NOK 30,000 (USD 4,830), which many could not afford even if they did eventually get reimbursed.
“The passengers get a hotel, we cover the cost of food, and we will do everything we can to get everyone to Norway as soon as possible,” said Norwegian Air’s head of information, Charlotte Holmberg Jacobsson. “We truly apologize that they did not get home when they should have.”
Jacobsson confirmed the route was fully booked until Thursday, but the airline was working to get passengers onto planes as soon as there was a cancellation. She said passengers should contact Norwegian’s customer center for free re-booking or ticket refunds. “It is a shame if some think they have not got enough information,” she said. “We always try to inform as soon as we have the opportunity. We apologize that we do not have a plane to put in for these passengers.”