I was recently supposed to fly from New York to London on Norwegian Air. I became ill and saw a doctor two days before my flight and was diagnosed with a viral infection. We hoped that I would be well enough to travel as planned, but on the morning of my flight, my doctor advised that I was too ill to travel. I have a doctor's note to that effect.
I tried hard to cancel or change the flight by email but received only a response that it was not possible because it was within 24 hours of the flight.
I tried to call the U.S. number but could never get through. I received just a prerecorded message with various numbers to select. When I selected the numbers, I got sent back to the message about selecting numbers. I also tried the Norwegian phone number, but the canned responses were in Norwegian.
I recovered and was able to fly shortly thereafter. I flew from Boston to London on Norwegian and paid the fare without any credit for my previous flight.
As I was not permitted to cancel or change the flight, I would like a partial refund and or credit for another Norwegian flight to be taken within a year.
Can you help me? - Olga Boikess, Washington
A: If you'd canceled your flight before it left, you could have received a ticket credit. But once the flight pushes back, you're out of luck. And there's a reason for that: The plane is flying with an empty seat because you were a "no-show."
Still, Norwegian should have made it possible for you to notify it of your cancellation. I find it hard to believe you couldn't reach the airline to inform it of your change in plans. Airlines are typically so easy to reach when you want to make a reservation. It stands to reason that when you want to cancel a reservation, they'd be just as easy to contact, right?
How about the airline's website, I asked, and you told me the airline's online cancellation system refused to allow you to cancel because it was within 24 hours of the flight. That definitely sounds like a glitch that needs to be looked at. Add it all up and it's possible you couldn't reach Norwegian before your flight departed, and that's a problem.
Norwegian rejected your request for a ticket credit because there are "certain conditions we must adhere to" - in other words, you were a no-show. The airline didn't address any of the difficulties you had canceling the ticket. It just said "rules are rules."
You might have appealed this to an executive. I list the names, email addresses, and phone numbers for Norwegian's customer service executives on my site: http://elliott.org/company-contacts/norwegian-airlines/.
I contacted the airline on your behalf. Norwegian said it's unsure why you were unable to connect with a representative but agreed to refund the difference between the new ticket and the old one, plus the change fee.