Ferry services between Norway and Denmark cut back due to fuel prices 

Two of ferry company Fjordline’s boats will stop sailing between Stavanger, Bergen and Langesund in Norway and Hirtshals in Denmark between February and May. 

Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.
Ferry services between Norway and Denmark will be affected between February and May. Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.Photo by Henry Bauer on Unsplash

Some 36,000 passengers who had already booked tickets to travel on either the MS Stavangerfjord or the MS Bergensfjord services have had their trips cancelled.

Newspaper Bergens Tidende reports that the services will not run throughout the spring due to rising fuel costs.

The ferries currently run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which has increased in price ten-fold, according to Fjordline CEO Brian Thorsted Hansen. 

The two ships being taken out of service will be converted to run-on marine gas oils (MGO), which have also increased in price- but not to the extent of liquefied natural gas. 

“Due to the energy crisis in Europe and very high gas prices, Fjord Line will rebuild its two ships which are currently powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). The conversion means that the ships will be able to switch between LNG and MGO as fuel, so that we ensure an economically sustainable operation also in the period until LNG prices normalise,” Fjordline writes on its website

Customers who had booked to travel on the services will be offered a refund, travel vouchers to be used with Fjordline, or the opportunity to be rebooked at a later date. 

MS Stavangerfjord sails Bergen-Stavanger-Hirtshals, MS Bergensfjord Hirtshals-Langesund. Neither of the routes will be operated between February 8th and May 25th. Fjordline has said that its Kristiansand-Hirtshals will run as normal from March 31st. 

Full service on all its routes to Denmark will not resume until June 17th, Fjordline writes on its website. 

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Airlines in Norway criticised for treatment of passengers

Air passengers in Norway risk not getting compensation or treatment that they are entitled to from airlines, the Norwegian Consumer Council warned on Tuesday.

Airlines in Norway criticised for treatment of passengers

A significant majority of passengers in Norway who have had their case heard by the relevant aviation industry complaints body (Transportklagenemnda for flyreiser) this year have won against airlines.

So far in 2023, a full 85 percent of the complaints that the relevant entities have dealt with have ended in full or partial favour of the passenger.

“Such a high share of positive decisions is not at all positive, but unfortunately rather a clear sign that the industry does not take customer treatment seriously and in practice deprives consumers of compensation to which they are entitled,” Consumer Council director Inger Lise Blyverket said in a press release.

“The fact that so many (cases) end up (in favour of the passenger) tells us that the airlines, in practice, have too poor of a customer service. Instead of acknowledging when the consumer is right, the companies force them to go to the complaints body. That is unacceptable,” Blyverket said.

Furthermore, the Transportklagenemnda for flyreiser seems to be swarmed by cases.

Cause for concern

The Consumer Council believes that this indicates that many consumers, in practice, do not get what they are entitled to from the airlines.

“The situation is so precarious that we believe the minister of transport must step in to ensure that the airline passengers’ consumer rights (are safeguarded,” Consumer Council director Inger Lise Blyverket noted in a press release.

When a flight is cancelled or delayed, passengers in Norway have rights. For example, they may be entitled to new tickets on the next flight, food and drink, or standardised compensation, the Consumer Council said.

However, if the passenger and the airline disagree on the settlement after a deviation from the agreed-upon flight, the appeal body can be used to deal with the case.

The Consumer Council has sent an urgent letter to Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård demanding that the ministry get involved.

“No consumer wants to spend time and effort on complaints. A complaint body neither can nor should be a substitute for a customer service apparatus in the business sector,” the consumer rights watchdog said.

Most complaint cases involve SAS

One company, in particular, stands out negatively in this year’s case statistics, according to the Consumer Council.

“Unfortunately, we see that SAS is overrepresented in the statistics. The feedback from the company is often short or non-existent both to the consumer and the complaints body,” Blyverket said.

You can find out more about your rights as an airline passenger via the Consumer Council’s online wizard.