Consumer protection officials in Norway are not impressed by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)’ progress in issuing refunds and compensation to passengers stranded by the SAS pilots’ strike this summer. Customers are having trouble with SAS’ own website, can’t manage to get through on the telephone, and complaints are pouring in.
Even though SAS executives promised they would compensate passengers for their losses as quickly as possible, many simply can’t get in contact with the crisis-hit airline. “The communication lines into SAS have clearly burst,” customer Håvard Gjerseth in Tromsø told state broadcaster NRK. He said it was “hopeless” to get through on the telephone, with a “robot voice” telling him the waiting time was at least an hour. After waiting for several hours, he also experienced the line being cut before his call was taken.
“It doesn’t seem like they’re concerned about helping customers,” Gjerseth said. “It seems like they’re hoping people will give up, or that they’re making it as difficult as possible to get your money back.”
The vast majority are entitled to thousands of kroner in compensation, and Norway’s consumer protection council (Forbrukerrådet) has already received more than 500 formal complaints about SAS. “If you had to buy new tickets to get home, and pay for hotels, food and drink, you should be able to get all those expenses covered,” Thomas Iversen, a lawyer for Forbrukerrådet, told NRK.
SAS spokesperson Tonje Sund claimed everyone eligible for compensation will get it, but because of the thousands of flights cancelled in connection with the 15-day strike, the process will take time. She said SAS was sorry about the situation, while Iversen said the council expects SAS “to clean up and address claims in an orderly fashion.”