Posted by Ric Garrido

What do a couple hundred angry Norwegian Air passengers delayed two days at LAX do to pass the time while waiting for a flight departure out of LAX to London?

Start a twitter campaign.

#NeverFlyNorwegian

Norwegian twitter-1

At the same time last week that I was writing about Norwegian Airlines low fares under $500 from California to Europe, hundreds of Norwegian Air passengers were experiencing two days of flight delays for an LAX to London Gatwick flight. Many passengers slept in the LAX airport last Wednesday and Thursday night waiting for their Norwegian plane to depart for London.

Norwegian Air Flight DY7096 was scheduled for departure at 8:30pm Wednesday night, July 23. Passengers and luggage boarded the plane only to be delayed four hours as mechanics worked on a technical issue with the aircraft. After midnight, passengers were told to disembark the plane. Passengers were told they could pay for their own hotel rooms and be reimbursed by Norwegian Air. Apparently there was a shortage of available rooms around LAX at that time of the morning.

Hotels are expensive at LAX on weeknights. A quick check for tonight, also a Wednesday night one week after the Norwegian Air delay shows La Quinta and Holiday Inn Express at $200 after tax and Westin or Sheraton are more than $300 for LAX airport hotels.

News stories last week were filled with passenger comments about how Norwegian Air customer service provided inadequate information about the delay and what passengers should do. One passenger said Norwegian issued 11 flight delays by text message over 36 hours.

The canceled Norwegian Air flight was rescheduled for Thursday evening at 8pm, then delayed one hour, then eventually canceled for the second day in a row. Norwegian passengers needed another hotel night Thursday night or spend the night in LAX. That $400 for hotel rooms was probably close to the cost of the flight to London on Norwegian Air.

By Thursday night tensions were so high that passengers were filmed screaming at Norwegian Air ticket counter agents. Police were called to defuse the situation. NBC Los Angeles posted one of the videos in its news story about angry Norwegian Air passengers.

Norwegian Flight DY7096 was rescheduled for Friday 9am departure, almost 36 hours and two nights after the original timetable. The flight was delayed and finally departed LAX at 12:30pm Friday afternoon, some 40 hours late. The Norwegian Air flight landed in London at 8:05am, Saturday, July 26.

Passengers were late for weddings, work, cruises and vacation and likely many thousands of dollars were lost by passengers from nonrefundable reservations for hotel nights unused in London and around Europe.

Norwegian customer service tweet

Jack Cooper tweeted this photo of the Norwegian website when trying to make a claim for hotel reimbursement from the flight delays at LAX.

On a personal note, I plan to fly Norwegian Air from Oslo in September to get around Norway. I feel fairly certain I will end up flying Norwegian out of Oakland sometime in the next year too.

Hopefully my Norwegian flight experience from California to Europe takes less than 50 hours.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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6 Responses

  1. I feel bad for those ticket agents. They had nothing to do with what caused the passengers to be stranded and were being yelled at for something that was completely out of their control.

    Comment by PainCorp on July 30th, 2014 at 10:41 am
  2. True it wasn’t their fault, and it sucks to be on the front line of something like that, but the company should have a better procedure to handle situations like this. $400 up front with the promise of reimbursement is unacceptable. Just because someone is on a flight to London doesn’t necessarily mean they have that kind of money to float until they can be reimbursed. I’ve run into sticky situations before and luckily had an arsenal of credit to throw at the situation (allowing me to not stress), but I can imagine how stressful it would be to have to pull $400 from your holiday money to fix a problem that you didn’t create. Those employees didn’t cause the problem, but it’s their job to try and fix the situation.

  3. Travel insurance?? They probably wouldn’t have gotten enough to be rebooked on another carrier, but they would have likely gotten $700-$800 worth of expenses per person.

  4. Just as well they weren’t on United who won’t pay overnight hotel accommodation and are not subject to EU261 when flying ex-USA.

  5. Well, this highlights the risks associated with flying carriers with limited flight schedules and limited ability to substitute aircraft locally. They offer great fares, but there is a trade off.

    One can lessen the financial risks by purchasing travel insurance, but that won’t help if you absolutely need to be somewhere by a specific time. In fairness, a problem with a more mainstream carrier’s operations may also mean a missed connection, cruise, wedding…

    It appears as if Norwegian might need to review its policies so as to better take care of its customers during such times. While I can understand fliers’ frustrations, screaming at poor gate agents – unless they are outright lying, which has happened to be @ CDG – is unfair and counter productive.

  6. As much as I feel for these people, it was their decision to fly with airline that has a notorious reputation of flight delays and cancellations. I saw a statistic somewhere that only 62% of their long haul departures depart on time!

    Never Fly Norwegian, indeed.

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