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.

The Consumer Council has sent an urgent letter to Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård demanding that the ministry get involved in protecting passenger rights. Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

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.

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Fjord Line to end Sandefjord-Strömstad ferry route between Norway and Sweden

Fjord Line will stop operating its ferries between Sandefjord in Norway and Strömstad in Sweden, the company announced Wednesday.

Fjord Line to end Sandefjord-Strömstad ferry route between Norway and Sweden

The route, a favoured choice for many on cross-border shopping trips, will end on October 29th. The Sandefjord – Strömstad route has been in operation since 2014. 

The decision to terminate it is due to Fjord Line’s new focus on routes between Norway and Denmark, public broadcaster NRK reports.

Brian Thorsted Hansen, the managing director of Fjord Line, said, “It (the route ending) was a profoundly challenging and sombre message to convey today.”

Hansen emphasised the significance of this decision on the employees, as more than 220 employees are expected to be impacted. The company said that some will lose their jobs, while others will be moved. 

While Color Line also operates offers ferries between the Sandefjord and Strömstad, the route’s discontinuation by Fjord Line is expected to have ripple effects.

Fjord Lines other routes will be unaffected by the closure and the vessel used for the service, MS Oslofjord, may be sold.