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.