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Norwegian is not so friendly, after all

July 23, 2017 by norman lebrecht

6 comments.


The budget airline has upgraded its website with happy messages for musicians who fly with instruments. Yes, you can carry them on board.

But not all their staff read the website, apparently.

Here’s the latest incident from Aingeala De Búrca, who recently ha such trouble with Aer Lingus.

Norwegian is an airline that presents itself as ‘musician-friendly’ with guidelines on its website that clearly states that violins and violas may be stored in the overhead if it is the only carry-on bag.

Last week, I flew from Stockholm to London with Norwegian. Full of confidence, I boarded,stored the violin in the overhead and sat down. Minutes later, a member of the cabin crew saw it and shouted ‘what’s THIS?’and ‘Who owns it?’ and I found myself, once again, in difficulties.

She insisted I should have bought a seat for it. I protested saying I had followed the website guidelines but this had no effect. She told me that the flight was full and my violin would have to go in the hold. Oh the FEAR of hearing those words again so soon after my Aer Lingus nightmare.

In the end, she did me the ‘big favour’ of ‘allowing’ me to strap the violin into a window seat. Such drama. So unnecessary. And clearly this Norwegian employee had no idea of what their policy is.


Comments (6)

  1. Thomas Silverberg says:

    Why don’t musicians print & carry the guidelines with them?

    1. Scotty says:

      Many, including myself, do.

    2. Bruce says:

      There’s no guarantee that having a printed copy of the policy would help. I believe the cabin crew has the final decision about what happens in the cabin, and, well … power corrupts.

      If the employee’s goal is to win a confrontation rather than help a passenger solve a problem, then they would likely interpret the printed policy as a provocation or threat, an excuse to call security.

  2. V. Lind says:

    What is wrong with these bloody companies? Their policy can be what they want,but can they not train their staff to carry it out? I realise the principle of customer service is ancient history in airlines, as they stuff in more seats, add more charges and reduce comforts all in search of the almighty dollar. But forcing instruments to the hold can only cost money — there will be inevitable demands for compensation, and passengers will be turned off airlines by reports of this kind of obstruction.

    Is there nothing that can be legislated about a company’s stated policies and customer rights?

    But any musician who does not carry a copy of a favourable company policy is remiss in his/her part of the obligation.

  3. Scott says:

    Or make sure that you have a bag checked into the hold as well. The threat of leaving the flight and meaning that they need to open the hold to find and remove your bag often tips the scales…as long as you are prepared to follow it through! The delays that this causes usually means that they miss their take off slot, and can end up costing a lot of money. It’s also worth very obviously putting your phone onto ‘record’ as soon as the conversation begins.

    In general though, yes – it’s madness!!

  4. dd says:

    my husband of 16 years started an affair with a pilot from Norwegian, classy, on tinder and sexting when flying …. I’m sure she enjoys the power of her job too


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