Can I/Should I apply for EC 261 compensation?

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Apr 1, 2018
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Hello, I live in the Bay Area. Last week, Norwegian cancelled my direct flight from Oakland to Barcelona about 30 hours before flight time "due to technical issues." I was notified by text message. They offered me 'free rebooking' or a full refund. When I looked on-line, there were no other flights available on Norwegian that same day. As last minute fares are quite expensive, I was able to pull together points and book an award ticket on another airline, with one stop, and while it took 7 hours longer, I arrived in Barcelona about the same time if my Norwegian flight wasn't cancelled. In the beginning, it looked like Norwegian had cancelled my entire reservation - including my return ticket, but with a phone call and a on-line form, I was able to keep my return ticket and Norwegian refunded my ticket for the cancelled flight.

I do like Norwegian and their premium economy cabin and for now, they are the only direct flight from the Bay Area to Spain. I fly there 2-3 times a year. My question is - do I qualify for the 600 euro compensation under EC261? Would it be unethical for me to ask for it? Will Norwegian 'blacklist' me for asking for it?

I was able to recover from the cancellation, but it was really stressful, took several hours and interrupted my plans on my last two days before flying. Please note that even if I do qualify for the 'compensation' I still may not ask for it.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions about this. Thank you.
 
Apr 1, 2018
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Why do you think it could be unethical? Even though you recovered, it was at a cost.
I've never done this before and I don't know the actual purpose. There is so much bad behavior in just about every aspect of flying and I just want to make sure I'm not being a jerk by applying for compensation if none is due. I do appreciate your response. Thanks.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#4
Hello, I live in the Bay Area. Last week, Norwegian cancelled my direct flight from Oakland to Barcelona about 30 hours before flight time "due to technical issues." I was notified by text message. They offered me 'free rebooking' or a full refund. When I looked on-line, there were no other flights available on Norwegian that same day. As last minute fares are quite expensive, I was able to pull together points and book an award ticket on another airline, with one stop, and while it took 7 hours longer, I arrived in Barcelona about the same time if my Norwegian flight wasn't cancelled. In the beginning, it looked like Norwegian had cancelled my entire reservation - including my return ticket, but with a phone call and a on-line form, I was able to keep my return ticket and Norwegian refunded my ticket for the cancelled flight.

I do like Norwegian and their premium economy cabin and for now, they are the only direct flight from the Bay Area to Spain. I fly there 2-3 times a year. My question is - do I qualify for the 600 euro compensation under EC261? Would it be unethical for me to ask for it? Will Norwegian 'blacklist' me for asking for it?

I was able to recover from the cancellation, but it was really stressful, took several hours and interrupted my plans on my last two days before flying. Please note that even if I do qualify for the 'compensation' I still may not ask for it.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions about this. Thank you.
It's definitely not unethical in the slightest. The EU261 compensation was DESIGNED to be a penalty on the airline above and beyond the obligation to either refund or rebook, as a way to provide airlines additional incentive to deliver passengers as promised. Collecting the €600 in this case is exactly what the EU intended. Collect your €600, and feel no concerns at all.

The only case in which I might feel a bit dubious about collecting EU261 compensation is one in which the airline proactively provided me a materially better experience than what I had paid for. For example (assuming you were in economy on Norwegian), if they had contacted you 30 hours before departure and said "our flight is cancelled, but we've got a seat held for you in business class on another carrier that will take the same or less time to get you there," then I might just let it go. Absent that, collect what you're due.