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Bumpy start to 12-hour flights without food or water

June 19, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Forget your credit card on low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle and you get to fly 12 hours without food, water or a blanket. And if you’re too young to have a credit card – too bad!

That seems to be the policy of the fast-growing Scandinavian budget airline, which wants to rival Ryanair and is said to be the third-largest low-cost carrier in Europe.

Its new long-haul routes to Bangkok and New York have got off to a bumpy start, Norway’s News in English service reports.

Passengers complain that they were denied food, drink and even a blanket because they didn’t have a credit card. 250x250

Norwegian Air Shuttle reportedly considers such items extras. The airline has a policy of accepting only credit card payment on board its flights and refusing cash. That may work (with a few problems) on short-haul flights, but it’s problematic on the new long-haul routes. Some passengers don’t have a credit card. Others may carry a local card that the airline doesn’t accept. A few are too young to own credit cards.

Norway’s largest newspaper Aftenposten gave an example. A Thai passenger had to endure the 12-hour flight from Bangkok to Oslo without food or water, it reported. The passenger had forgotten to pre-order food and drink and when she tried to buy these on the plane, flight attendants refused her money. Her Thailand-based credit card didn’t work on the flight either. Result: Norwegian’s cabin crew refused to sell her either food or drink.

It gets worse. A 16-year-old boy flying alone to visit his uncle in New York on Norwegian’s other new intercontinental route was unable to pay USD 5 for a blanket as he was too young to hold a credit card, the paper reported. He shivered on the flight and his father says that they (the flight attendants) “could see that he was freezing, but consciously avoided helping him”.

The furious father has lodged a complaint.

Norwegian is reportedly reviewing its “no cash” policy. It is expecting deliveries of B787 Dreamliners soon, to take over the long-haul routes. As deliveries of its B787s were late, it is using leased A340-300s to operate the new long-haul services in the meantime.

Norwegian is one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines. It wants to shake up the European low-cost, no-frills market, becoming a rival to Easyjet and Ryanair.

The BBC reports that Norwegian’s Dreamliners will squeeze in 292 seats “near the top end of what the aircraft can carry” but the premium class offers “a pretty generous 46in of legroom”. The airline’s website says its Dreamliners carry 291 passengers (32 in Premium Economy and 259 in Economy).

Norwegian plans to inaugurate its eagerly awaited B787 Dreamliner aircraft on the Oslo/Malaga route on 4 July 2013, followed by Oslo/London Gatwick.

Written by : Peter Needham

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