Shocking: Norwegian Won’t Accept Compensation Claims For Delayed A380 Flights

Last month we reported that Norwegian Air Shuttle was facing some issues with running the HiFly A380 replacement service, Norwegian is the first low-cost carrier to ever use an A380 on one of their routes. HiFly offers an A380 as a wet-lease charter plane, running the craft on routes for airlines, with an included crew, insurance and fuel. The hirer does not even need an airline certificate (It is run through HiFly Malta).

The reason for this was that some of their Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes have had engine problems (Rolls Royce Trent) and as such have been grounded until they have been repaired. As part of the compensation, Rolls Royce or Boeing has most likely offered Norwegian the funding to hire the HiFly A380 to cover their summer trade between London and New York.

This was a boon for some passengers, as they would have been upgraded for free to the ex-Singaporean A380’s first class suites, for the price of premium economy!

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However, because they had so quickly thrown the A380 into their route network, they had some growing pains.

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HiFly A380
Photo: HiFly

Since the service started running on the 3rdof August to the 23rdof August, every Norwegian A380 flight in the first four days of service had been delayed by over three hours. These delays seem to be from the fact that New York’s JFK has a limited A380 capacity, something that seems to have not been planned for when Norwegian booked the jet.

Passengers were only informed hours before the flight, and by email. If a passenger did not check or had notifications off, they would not find out until they arrived at the airport and realised they had four more hours to wait (Plus the original 2-3 hours they expected as part of the normal check-in procedure).

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Norwegian
Photo: Norwegian

These delays are not cheap either; according to EU regulations, if a flight is delayed over four hours by anything other than an ‘extraordinary circumstances’, each passenger is allowed to claim a $600EUR ($700USD) compensation from Norwegian. So far only one flight has been over the four-hour limit, which would be a maximum fine of $308,000, double what the flight might cost to run.

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Turns out, Norwegian is stating that their delays are due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and rejecting claims!

Norwegian EasyJet WestJet Tail
Photo: Norwegian

Now, some of you might be thinking, is a failure to plan to work with New York airport extraordinary? Not at all, but that is not what they are claiming. They are claiming a hidden defect in their 787’s has resulted in an extraordinary event, causing the chain of sequences, leading to A380 delays onwards to passengers. Whilst technically true, one could backwardly blame any delay on some ‘extraordinary event’.

Benji, from the website thepointsguy.com, who flew on one of these delayed flights and applied to be compensated, had the following rejection letter:

Unfortunately, Norwegian flight DI7015 (LGW-JFK) 04.08.2018 was delayed by 3 hours and 54 minutes. This disruption was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Norwegian B737
Photo: Norwegian

Reason for disruption: Mandatory checks from aviation authorities on a specific type of Rolls Royce engine forced us to take the originally scheduled aircraft out of service. Due to gate restrictions in New York, new slots had to be assigned to accommodate the replacement aircraft.

Although we respect your request for compensation, we’re unable to honour your claim as your flight was delayed due to an event, which constitutes extraordinary circumstances.

You can read the rest of the letter here.

“…certain technical problems may constitute extraordinary circumstances and exempt the carrier from its’ liability of compensation. This would apply in cases where the aircraft is released from inspection without the presence of a technical defect or any need to change a faulty component…” – Letter from Norwegian.

Norwegian
Photo: Norwegian

Obviously, as part of their incredibly cheap business model, Norwegian can’t afford to have passengers claiming for delays and will fight tooth and nail to prevent this money being paid out.

It is not the first time either, with other passengers claiming that they blamed a lightning strike and lack of staff, preventing them from flying on time.

“I filed a claim with them for a July flight that was almost four hours late. At the gate they said it was because of crew difficulties from the (Portuguese[HiFly]) charter that was filling in for their Dreamliner. In the official response a month later, Norwegian said, “This delay was caused by an earlier disruption within our network that had a direct effect on this flight. The original flight was disrupted due to a lightning strike.” I’m taking them to small claims court.”- Seth Resnik

It remains to be seen if passengers who have gone through this experience will eventually get their money back.

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Christian Robertson

I had an email from Norwegian less than 24 hours before I was due to fly to New York on 27th August . When I eventually got through to the helpline the first available flight outbound was on 31st August ; I was flying to attend a funeral which was on the 30th. Consequently I had to purchase a one-way ticket to New York the day before travelling, which was almost three hundred pounds more expensive. I am now trying to get compensation for the delay – Norwegian won’t consider a claim for the additional expense – but have been… Read more »

Caterina Vidal

On August the 26th we knew that our OAK-BCN flight was canceled right when we got in Norwegian website for checking in. After more than 2 hours on the helpline we were offered to fly on Wednesday the 29th. We had previously scheduled meetings in Barcelona, so we got a return ticket via Moscow.
After my claim to Norwegian, they are alleging “mandatory checks from aviation authotirities on a specific type of Rolls Royce engine” not to pay a single euro.

But they knew this since April and kept scheduling flights as usual??!!

Megan Van Der Voord

We had a >10hr delay flying from JFK to London this summer. Norwegian rejected our compensation claim citing “extraordinary circumstances: unforeseen difficulties with the flight planning system”. We were one of the flights that was swapped out for an A380; reading this article I suspect the “unforeseen difficulties” were in fact the airline’s failure to work with the airport in accommodating these planes. I’ve hired a legal firm specialising in flight delay compensation to look into it.

Leila

Have you had any results with ths firm? I’m having the same issue with Norwegian and I’m considering hiring one, too. Thanks.

Robin

Ok Norwegian, show us your ability to deliver a proof. Show us some officials technical papers with date, hours, names of tech people and signatures. Too many problems with the same answer. Justify yourself !