A Norwegian airline will now serve free water on long-haul flights following complaints that passengers were left without food, drinks and blankets for up to 12 hours.
The budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle was criticised after a 16-year-old boy said he was left feeling extremely cold after being refused a blanket on a flight between Oslo and New York. He was able to pay for the blanket with cash but did not have a credit card, which is the airline’s required form of payment.
This incident, and another where a Thai woman had a cup of coffee taken from her after staff realised she was only carrying a local credit card – another invalid form of payment – were described as “totally unacceptable” by the airline, which apologised on Tuesday.
The carrier has now decided to change its payment policy and will now accept cash on board, AFP reports. It will also provide water free of charge to all passengers.
“Of course, we’re very concerned about the well-being of our passengers,” said Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, a spokesman for Norwegian Air Shuttle.
However, credit cards will still be the only accepted form of payment on shorter flights.
The flights had only been launched recently, making Norwegian one of the few no-frills carriers to fly long-haul.
The complaints over the original policy could serve as a warning to Ryanair, which announced it still hopes to offer transatlantic flights in the future. It claims its fares for flights to the US could cost from as little as €10 – not including baggage and extra charges.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, did acknowledge that a move into long-haul would require a different business model from the one used on its single-class high-density European services.