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What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Norway?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation if your flight from Norway is delayed.

What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Norway?
Photo: AFP

Although delayed or cancelled flights can leave travel plans in tatters, passengers do have a number of rights.

If you are flying to, from or between EU or EEA countries, European Union rules provide you with the right to compensation, re-booking or refunds on air travel tickets, as well as meals and accommodation while you wait for a replacement flight, if applicable.

It should be noted that for these rights to apply, you must be at check-in at the airport a minimum of 45 minutes prior to departure time (unless your airline states otherwise). This applies even if you already know the flight is delayed before leaving home (unless the airline states otherwise).

Delays

Your flight must be delayed by at least two hours for any of these rights to apply. You may be entitled to one or more of the following: compensation; food and drink; two or more telephone calls or emails; and accommodation plus transport to and from the accommodation, if applicable.

You are entitled to meals if your departure is:

  • Delayed by 2 hours or more on journeys of under 1,500 kilometres
  • Delayed by 3 hours or more on journeys of over 1,500 kilometres within the EEA and between 1,500-3,000 kilometres for all other journeys
  • Delayed by 4 hours or more for all journeys

The airline is responsible for providing meals in these cases, but if it does not provide its own service then you can purchase your own meals and apply for a refund. It is therefore important to keep receipts.

If the delay means you are unable to travel until the following day, the airline must provide accommodation and pay for travel to and from the airport and accommodation.

If you are delayed by 5 hours or more, you are entitled to a refund of your ticket or return flight, but not to a ticket for a different route.

The airline must offer a refund of the ticket price for the part of the journey that has not started, or the whole ticket if the purpose of the trip cannot be fulfilled due to the delay. If you choose a refund of the ticket price, you can also claim a return flight back to your departure point.

If the trip is delayed by more than 3 hours, you have the same right to standard compensation as for cancelled flights.

Cancellations

A ‘cancelled' flight is defined as a flight which the airline decides not to operate, instead changing passengers to other (earliest possible) departures. You are not entitled to compensation for cancellations if the flight is cancelled at least 14 days in advance, and you are informed accordingly by the airline.

If your flight is cancelled and does not fall under the exceptions outlined above, you have three options: a refund, a ticket for the next available departure; or a ticket for the same route on a date of your choice (depending on availability).

That can in turn result in the airline being obliged to provide you with meals, accommodation and compensation in line with the rights set out above.

You should also note that the airline is obliged to inform of your rights in writing when a cancellation occurs. For your rights to apply, you should still be at the airport check-in at least 45 minutes before the original scheduled departure – unless the airline has advised otherwise.

Meanwhile, your right to monetary compensation does not apply to cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, strikes or terrorism, but the other rights as detailed above remain in place.

Compensation

The amount of compensation is dependent on the length and distance of your journey. Compensation of 250 euros may be due for journeys of up to 1,500 kilometres; 400 kilometres for flights over 1,500 kilometres within the EEA and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres; and 600 euros for all other types of flight.

READ ALSO: 'Historic' weather conditions ground flights in North Norway

Compensation can be reduced by 50 percent when you are offered a seat on another flight to your destination and arrival time does not exceed the original flight by more than:

  • 2 hours for flights up to 1,500 km
  • 3 hours for flights within the EEA of more than 1,500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres
  • 4 hours for all other flights

Conversely, you can apply for more than the standard compensation if you can prove that, as a result of the cancellation, you have incurred a greater economic loss than the standard compensation amount.

Complaints procedure

If your airline fails to provide the compensation, re-booking, refunds and catering for which your rights provide, you can file a complaint, initially with the airline itself. You can also contact the relevant airport.

Forms for filing a complaint with various airlines operating in Norway can be found here.

Should your complaint not be upheld by the airline or you wish to take the matter further, you can contact Norway’s Travel Complaint Handling Body (Transportklagenemnda), a neutral organization which manages passengers complaints on all forms of transport.

Sources: Forbrukerrådet (1), (2),  Norsk Reiselivsforum

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TRAVEL

Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany

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