Tens of thousands of SAS passengers on flights in and out of Norway had their travel plans disrupted Thursday morning, after SAS cancelled around 100 flights because of a threatened escalation of a pilots’ strike. The strike was called off at 4am, but SAS officials claimed Thursday they’d had no choie but to prepare for the worst, and were scrambling to re-book passengers on other flights.
“Yesterday the situation we faced was a potential, major strike,” Tonje Sund, spokesman for SAS, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “In order to avoid several thousand passengers being stranded at the airports, we chose to cancel the 100 departures to minimize the consequences. We are of course very glad that we have a solution now, and that we avoided a major strike, but we had to make that (cancellation) decision yesterday. Today would have been too late.”
She couldn’t guarantee that all the passengers on the cancelled flights would be able to travel on Thursday but said SAS was “working intensively to re-book so many as possible. We hope traffic will normalize this afternoon and we have beefed up staffing at customer service at the airport, so there’s full preparation to help passengers fly out.”
SAS personnel were also passing out water bottles and snacks to passengers caught in long lines at OSL Gardermoen. The situation was less chaotic in Stavanger, where ground crews told NRK that it appeared most passengers on eight cancelled SAS flights had found alternatives or dropped their travel plans.