Oslo-based Norwegian Air is facing more turbulence this summer. The forced grounding of its large fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft left Norwegian with less capacity, and several passengers holding tickets have been denied boarding.
“I think it’s incredible for an airline to treat its passengers as if the airline has no systems at all,” fumed Marthe Sofie Løkeland Eide to state broadcaster NRK after getting bumped off a flight to Barcelona for a summer holiday with her mother and sister. The airline honored their tickets but not Eide’s.
Things got worse when other stranded passengers joined the waiting list for another flight after they’d been bumped the day before. Passengers complained of getting zero help from gate personnel or Norwegian Air’s customer service conter at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen.
Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, the hard-pressed communications chief for Norwegian Air, admitted to NRK that Eide had not been treated well and that they’d try to make things right. The airline, however, is suffering severe capacity problems after selling tickets on flights that no longer can be operated because of the 737 MAX groundings following two fatal crashes.
Sandaker-Nielsen claimed Norwegian engages in little overbooking, but has had problems leasing in alternative aircraft to operate all its flights. “Some of the airraft we’ve leased have fewer seats than our own aircraft,” he said, meaning that some passengers get bumped.