Fliers without credit cards refused food, water, blankets

AFP-JIJI

Norwegian Air Shuttle, Europe’s third-largest budget airline, apologized Monday for refusing passengers food, water and even blankets on its recently launched long-haul flights to New York and Bangkok.

A 16-year-old spent his Oslo to New York flight freezing since he only had cash and no credit card with him to pay the $5 fee charged by the carrier to rent a blanket, the daily Aftenposten newspaper wrote. That followed a report last week of Norwegian crew members taking a cup of coffee back from a Thai woman after it emerged she only had cash and a local credit card with her. The woman was also unable to buy food or water on the 12-hour flight.

“This is totally unacceptable. Norwegian must ensure its passengers are treated well and we apologize deeply,” company spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said. “We are the first to admit that we have had some startup problems on the long-haul flights.”

Norwegian will review its policy of only accepting credit card payments and will improve its communication with customers, Sandaker-Nielsen said.

The two episodes quickly drew criticism among social media users.

“Unbelievable that people have the courage to fly Norwegian. Not being able to drink water can lead to death,” said Thor Olsen on Twitter.

Fellow Twitter user Tor Andre Ljosland even speculated that “soon you will also need a credit card to use the toilet.”