Mislead by Norwegian Air upgrade bid offer = $850 charge

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Sep 7, 2019
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#1
>I have two economy tickets on Norwegian Air to Paris. Boston to Paris cost = $259.50 x2 for $519 total charge.
>In the week prior to departure I received and email from Norwegian with opportunity to submit a bid for an update to their premier class.
>In the on-line from there was one box for me to fill to show what my bid was. I entered $30 with the understanding that this was per ticket so my total bid was for $60 for the upgrade. I did see reference to $425 which I did not understand but assumed that must be the revised cost of my tickets. My error- but my thought process was driven by the fact that I had just entered a bid for $30.
> I was diverted and later in the day came back to my computer and saw the outstanding bid. There was a graph that indicated that my bid was low but I figured there was nothing to lose and pressed submit.
>I received an email confirming receipt of my bid. I did not open it. If I had I would have seen detail indicating that I had submitted a bid for $425x2 for a total bid of $850 additional charge for the upgrade.
>This morning I saw several emails: 2 from Norwegian - one indicating my bid was accepted and the other with ticket attachments. I also received emails from my credit card indicating that there had been a charge from Norwegian totaling $850.
>Needless to say I was shocked and immediately called Norwegian. I had an extended call with customer service in which I explained the details and requested that I get my old economy seats back and a refund for the $850. I was repeatedly told (after multiple conversation between the rep and the supervisor) that "they could not refund me the money" based on the fine print that apparently said that the bid process was final.
> So I currently am paying $591 (original cost of two economy one-way tickets) plus $850 for my bid for a total of $1,441. And I thought I would see an additional charge of $60 for a total of $651.
>My current plan (flight is on Monday, Sept 9 - today is Saturday Sept 7) is to call Norwegian and ask them to downgrade my seats back to my original economy seats. And then pursue a refund through Norwegian as suggested by Elliott Advocacy. Under no circumstances would I ever submit such a bid unless I was mislead -as we always have flown economy which is what our income can afford as a public employee and a social worker.
> I am wondering if this approach makes sense. There are some who are saying I will never get the money back and just enjoy the first-class seats. I believe if we take those seats the odds of ever getting a refund are slim.
> Thoughts? Suggestions?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
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San Francisco
#2
Oh dear, based on extensive experience with upgrades involving several different airlines, I'm afraid that I am one of those "some who are saying you'll never get your money back, so just enjoy the ride". I'm sure that by now you've reviewed the whole process and see where you made choices, so I don't believe you were misled. Playing these games is great fun and can enhance your travel most positively. But there are many, many rules and if you want to play the game you have to understand exactly how it all works. You have to stay on top of the situation and be sure that everything is going the way you set it up. You must pay attention and question every aspect of your actions. You must "ride herd" on your transaction and, of course, open any communications that are sent to you.

What is offered to you by their Premier Class? If your flight was 90 days from now, you could probably get this transaction cancelled ... with a great deal of effort. The airline is struggling financially and would be most reluctant to give you back your money.

But there's no time, and here are my reasons: I don't think you will be allowed to sit "in your original seats" because they've been sold so someone else. So you will sit in the better cabin, or not board the flight. That will allow them to deny a refund to you. I literally don't think you can win this one. I know you don't want to hear this, but I think you should put your game face on and enjoy a (hopefully) comfortable flight to my favorite city in the world.

The only positive idea I have would probably not work. If you could convince a gate agent to sell two upgrades to premier to another pax for $850 or more, "auction them off" so-to-speak right at the gate, maybe you could switch seats with those pax. But I still don't think you'd get your money back. Please let us know what happens, and wherever you are seated, have a great flight to Paris.
 
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May 7, 2019
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#3
Oh dear, based on extensive experience with upgrades involving several different airlines, I'm afraid that I am one of those "some who are saying you'll never get your money back, so just enjoy the ride". I'm sure that by now you've reviewed the whole process and see where you made choices, so I don't believe you were misled. Playing these games is great fun and can enhance your travel most positively. But there are many, many rules and if you want to play the game you have to understand exactly how it all works. You have to stay on top of the situation and be sure that everything is going the way you set it up. You must pay attention and question every aspect of your actions. You must "ride herd" on your transaction and, of course, open any communications that are sent to you.

What is offered to you by their Premier Class? If your flight was 90 days from now, you could probably get this transaction cancelled ... with a great deal of effort. The airline is struggling financially and would be most reluctant to give you back your money.

But there's no time, and here are my reasons: I don't think you will be allowed to sit "in your original seats" because they've been sold so someone else. So you will sit in the better cabin, or not board the flight. That will allow them to deny a refund to you. I literally don't think you can win this one. I know you don't want to hear this, but I think you should put your game face on and enjoy a (hopefully) comfortable flight to my favorite city in the world.

The only positive idea I have would probably not work. If you could convince a gate agent to sell two upgrades to premier to another pax for $850 or more, "auction them off" so-to-speak right at the gate, maybe you could switch seats with those pax. But I still don't think you'd get your money back. Please let us know what happens, and wherever you are seated, have a great flight to Paris.
I totally agree with jsn55. Just enjoy the upgrade.

I will say the upgrade bid/charge seems excessive. The upgrade fare you (our OP) paid sounds higher than the fares I generally pay when I initially book flights to Europe in Norwegian premium economy.
 
Sep 7, 2019
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#4
Thanks for the quick responses.

I agree about not being mislead, at least intentionally- the info was there for me to see. However, the one bit that influenced leading me astray in my thought process is how my bid entry of $30 somehow translated into a bid of $425. I cannot get to this screen to see again what I was looking at but I have no memory of seeing anything in that initial input screen indicating that there was a minimum that bids would be added on top of.

Re getting my economy seats back, the flight is something over half full with a lot of empty middle rows. I doubt very much that in the next two days all those seats will be filled.

Re price of premium I checked to see what a one way bos-paris seat on Monday 9/30 would be = $660. I am paying about $685 per seat. And their graph indicated that my bid was low - definitely in the lowest quadrant. This seems pretty misleading to me. As was entering a bid of $30 that translated into a total bid of $425.

Re Norwegian current financial situation, I have a hard time believing that $850 is going to do anything in regard to their bottom line. Especially in comparison to its impact on our bottom line!

But this is all "logic" . If the consensus is that I can kiss the $850 goodbye regardless, then I would be remiss to not advantage the upgrade for a once-in-my-lifetime opportunity to experience "premium class".
 
May 7, 2019
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Thanks for the quick responses.

I agree about not being mislead, at least intentionally- the info was there for me to see. However, the one bit that influenced leading me astray in my thought process is how my bid entry of $30 somehow translated into a bid of $425. I cannot get to this screen to see again what I was looking at but I have no memory of seeing anything in that initial input screen indicating that there was a minimum that bids would be added on top of.

Re getting my economy seats back, the flight is something over half full with a lot of empty middle rows. I doubt very much that in the next two days all those seats will be filled.

Re price of premium I checked to see what a one way bos-paris seat on Monday 9/30 would be = $660. I am paying about $685 per seat. And their graph indicated that my bid was low - definitely in the lowest quadrant. This seems pretty misleading to me. As was entering a bid of $30 that translated into a total bid of $425.

Re Norwegian current financial situation, I have a hard time believing that $850 is going to do anything in regard to their bottom line. Especially in comparison to its impact on our bottom line!

But this is all "logic" . If the consensus is that I can kiss the $850 goodbye regardless, then I would be remiss to not advantage the upgrade for a once-in-my-lifetime opportunity to experience "premium class".
While I agree that $850 won’t make a whit of difference to Norwegian’s bottom line, the reality is that Norwegian undoubtedly faces hundreds, if not thousands, of consumer claims. The airline’s current financial pressures surely encourages a reluctance by it to compensate any of them.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#6
My guess, having not flown on Norwegian, is that they have a minimum bid amount and it sounds like if you enter an amount that's lots than the min but complete the bid Norwegian automatically enters it as the min bid.

Arguably they probably should have instead have a flag pop up and say you bid less than the minimum amount. I recall seeing that on another airline, but it's been awhile as I ignore the bids once I found out they have minimums.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#7
Here is the information on how the bids work from Norwegians site. It states the bid can be made as small it as you’d like within the bid slider. Was the bid slider set at $425?

Bid placement
In most cases, Bid for Upgrade will be made in the same currency as the original booking. If the currency is unavailable, the bid will be made in US Dollars (USD).

Your bid can be as small or big as you'd like within the price range defined in the bid-slider. How big your bid must be to win you an upgrade depends on a number of criteria, such as the number of passengers placing a bid for the same flight, seats left in the Premium cabin, etc. We reserve the right to keep these criteria undisclosed.

Your bid amount will be added to the cost of your ticket.

https://www.norwegian.com/us/travel...m-cabin/bid-for-upgrade/terms-and-conditions/
 
Likes: VoR61
May 1, 2018
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#8
I'm sorry you're going through this OP. This appears to be a common position for people to find themselves in unfortunately. The bidding systems are purposely confusing and the documentation available after the fact always favors the airline.

I know it's not much help now, but here are two stories of other travelers who faced the same issue, though not on the same airline.

https://www.elliott.org/blog/icelandair-bid-upgrade-confusion/

https://www.elliott.org/case-dismissed-2/smart-upgrade-austrian-airlines-business-class-upgrade/

Unfortunately, the travelers in the two instances above were not able to get reimbursed for the mystery bid amount.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#9
Re getting my economy seats back, the flight is something over half full with a lot of empty middle rows. I doubt very much that in the next two days all those seats will be filled.
In that case, I have a thought (emphasis "thought") that you could try. Even if it fails, it is simple and harmless.

I would arrive early at the gate and ask about a "voluntary downgrade". Perhaps the gate agent can accommodate your request and offer a refund of the difference or a voucher. Just spitballing here . . .
 
Apr 1, 2018
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#10
I'm a fan of Norwegian Air because of their premium economy service. Those seats are the largest premium economy seats I have ever encountered.

But Norwegian's customer service is just helpless and they can rarely fix anything ever.

If you can afford it, enjoy the service - free checked bags, first to enter to board so no worries about lack of overhead bin space and occasionally (but not always), decent food. Also, the FAs and the on-board service is really good.

If this really puts you in a financial bind, make your case when checking in. But I doubt they can do anything for you.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
Oh dear I am afraid I am not optimistic.

Norwegian is clear:


“Norwegian Air Shuttle may accept your bid at any time up to 12 hours prior to your scheduled flight. Once your bid has been accepted, you are legally bound to complete your payment for the price stated in your final bid. After this you will not be able to modify or cancel your bid.”

You could cancel the bid anytime before it is accepted but once it is accepted there is no going back.

I am not sure what you saw as I do not take Norwegian. But from looking at anecdotal reports $30 would not have realistic — that $425 was likely the suggested bid which is usually 15 percent below the straight upgrade purchase.

Other people have reported success on that route with bidding in the range of 300 dollars.

As I said I have not taken Norwegian but know people who have.

The gate agent will likely not want to deal with the upgrade issue.

As to Volunteering to be downgraded — my gut feeling is so not do that— volunteer means just that and with no refund. Norwegian may not want to downgrade you at all because of EU 261 rules on downgrades —

Gate Agents likely do not even have the ability to refund or offer vouchers

Norwegian is very strict — this is an airline that will charge you extra if your carryon is over 10 kilos — and yes when it is enforced it is really enforced — to 100 euro overweight charge to someone I know.


They only way I see the bid refunded is if the flight is canceled and they cannot out you in another premium seat.

Unfortunately when you made the bid you also gave the credit card number and permission to charge.

Norwegian check in and gate agents at US airports are often provided by a ground service company — not true employees of Norwegian so they tend to be less empowered and will likely not do anything.

Once low cost airlines get your add on fees they do not return them — why? That is where the money comes from. You are flying across the Atlantic from Boston to Paris for $259. each — about 3400 miles and it takes what less than 8 hours? Contrast that with the price and time of taking the greyhound bus from Boston to Los Angeles about 3000 miles by bus and takes about 72 hours and the cheapest price in the first week of October is $163.

I realize $850 is a good amount of money but Norwegian and many other LCC are not too generous with returning money. There are very few customer service gestures.

And yes the financial problems make them less likely to try and maintain goodwill— because short term survival is at stake.

There is a chance that the flight may be canceled which would be the only hope.

I would not volunteer to be downgraded because volunteering may mean no money and no premium seat — even worse.
 
Sep 7, 2019
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#12
Thank you to all for your helpful responses and links. Very informative. Lessons learned. Read the fine print, proceed carefully!

The links to other incidents just like mine provided some comfort in a way to see that others have done the same thing - which does lead me to believe that the airlines are intentionally devious in how these bid processes are constructed. Looking at my bid confirmation email again (which I did not read carefully when it counted) I see that bid detail is in small, light grey print - it certainly does not draw your eye to it. And the fact that others did not see that there was a minimum bid but were led to believe as I did that their $30 bid was what they were offering also says something about how the process is constructed.

So - based on all the feedback and info provided, we'll be sitting in the premium seats we unwittingly paid $850 for. And do our best to enjoy finding out what life is like up there in first class! I am not a big drinker but will definitely enjoy a few beers. And then put it all behind me. And never bid for an upgrade again!
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#13
To emphasize further . . .

There is wisdom, I think, in re-viewing strategic web content before purchasing:

Personal Information. Are my name, address, and method of payment correct?​
Refund Policy. Are their time constraints? Restocking fees? Can an item be returned locally?​
Cancellations. Is there a charge? What are the other terms-and-conditions?​
Customizations. Are they accurately displayed? Have I rechecked the price based upon these?​
Coupons. Are any showing on the site? Have I obtained a code elsewhere?​
Double-checking before single-clicking ("Place Order") can help avoid the pain of buyer's remorse afterwards . . .
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,214
2,560
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Maui Hawaii
#15
Thank you to all for your helpful responses and links. Very informative. Lessons learned. Read the fine print, proceed carefully!

The links to other incidents just like mine provided some comfort in a way to see that others have done the same thing - which does lead me to believe that the airlines are intentionally devious in how these bid processes are constructed. Looking at my bid confirmation email again (which I did not read carefully when it counted) I see that bid detail is in small, light grey print - it certainly does not draw your eye to it. And the fact that others did not see that there was a minimum bid but were led to believe as I did that their $30 bid was what they were offering also says something about how the process is constructed.

So - based on all the feedback and info provided, we'll be sitting in the premium seats we unwittingly paid $850 for. And do our best to enjoy finding out what life is like up there in first class! I am not a big drinker but will definitely enjoy a few beers. And then put it all behind me. And never bid for an upgrade again!
ENJOY!! As others have said, you may become addicted for life (not a bad thing).
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
8,963
113
San Francisco
#16
Thank you to all for your helpful responses and links. Very informative. Lessons learned. Read the fine print, proceed carefully!

The links to other incidents just like mine provided some comfort in a way to see that others have done the same thing - which does lead me to believe that the airlines are intentionally devious in how these bid processes are constructed. Looking at my bid confirmation email again (which I did not read carefully when it counted) I see that bid detail is in small, light grey print - it certainly does not draw your eye to it. And the fact that others did not see that there was a minimum bid but were led to believe as I did that their $30 bid was what they were offering also says something about how the process is constructed.

So - based on all the feedback and info provided, we'll be sitting in the premium seats we unwittingly paid $850 for. And do our best to enjoy finding out what life is like up there in first class! I am not a big drinker but will definitely enjoy a few beers. And then put it all behind me. And never bid for an upgrade again!
It's all about attitude, Greyholmes! If people could see the machinations I go through just to be sure I have the best deal possible, they'd laugh. Airlines and hotels very quickly figured out that many people seem to suspend their own reality when "playing on the internet". I do know two people who flew Norwegian in first class recently, very experienced travellers, and they loved it. I predict you will too.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jul 14, 2019
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#17
>I have two economy tickets on Norwegian Air to Paris. Boston to Paris cost = $259.50 x2 for $519 total charge.
>In the week prior to departure I received and email from Norwegian with opportunity to submit a bid for an update to their premier class.
>In the on-line from there was one box for me to fill to show what my bid was. I entered $30 with the understanding that this was per ticket so my total bid was for $60 for the upgrade. I did see reference to $425 which I did not understand but assumed that must be the revised cost of my tickets. My error- but my thought process was driven by the fact that I had just entered a bid for $30.
> I was diverted and later in the day came back to my computer and saw the outstanding bid. There was a graph that indicated that my bid was low but I figured there was nothing to lose and pressed submit.
>I received an email confirming receipt of my bid. I did not open it. If I had I would have seen detail indicating that I had submitted a bid for $425x2 for a total bid of $850 additional charge for the upgrade.
>This morning I saw several emails: 2 from Norwegian - one indicating my bid was accepted and the other with ticket attachments. I also received emails from my credit card indicating that there had been a charge from Norwegian totaling $850.
>Needless to say I was shocked and immediately called Norwegian. I had an extended call with customer service in which I explained the details and requested that I get my old economy seats back and a refund for the $850. I was repeatedly told (after multiple conversation between the rep and the supervisor) that "they could not refund me the money" based on the fine print that apparently said that the bid process was final.
> So I currently am paying $591 (original cost of two economy one-way tickets) plus $850 for my bid for a total of $1,441. And I thought I would see an additional charge of $60 for a total of $651.
>My current plan (flight is on Monday, Sept 9 - today is Saturday Sept 7) is to call Norwegian and ask them to downgrade my seats back to my original economy seats. And then pursue a refund through Norwegian as suggested by Elliott Advocacy. Under no circumstances would I ever submit such a bid unless I was mislead -as we always have flown economy which is what our income can afford as a public employee and a social worker.
> I am wondering if this approach makes sense. There are some who are saying I will never get the money back and just enjoy the first-class seats. I believe if we take those seats the odds of ever getting a refund are slim.
> Thoughts? Suggestions?
Please let us all know what happened. We had our flight cancelled and 3 of the last 4 days they cancelled DY 7001 JFK to OSL. Our vacation became a $3000 extra expense to book another airline and has been impacted by fear our return will be cancelled.
I hope yours did not get cancelled and no matter how you flew that Paris healed those $$ wounds. Cheers!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Please let us all know what happened. We had our flight cancelled and 3 of the last 4 days they cancelled DY 7001 JFK to OSL. Our vacation became a $3000 extra expense to book another airline and has been impacted by fear our return will be cancelled.
I hope yours did not get cancelled and no matter how you flew that Paris healed those $$ wounds. Cheers!
You booked a round trip on the other airline, correct, not a one way? If you aren’t on the outgoing Norwegian flight, the return automatically gets canceled.

This is not unusual with this airline and one reason we will not put any clients on it. There is a website called FlightStats that you can go to and view the on time performance of any flight you are considering:

https://www.flightstats.com/v2/flight-ontime-performance-rating/DY/7002

I saw that the flight from JFK to Oslo is canceled yet again today.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
8,963
113
San Francisco
#19
Please let us all know what happened. We had our flight cancelled and 3 of the last 4 days they cancelled DY 7001 JFK to OSL. Our vacation became a $3000 extra expense to book another airline and has been impacted by fear our return will be cancelled.
I hope yours did not get cancelled and no matter how you flew that Paris healed those $$ wounds. Cheers!
Adele should be singing the theme for not booking the cheapest thing, whether it be air, hotel or rental cars. All that money to book another tix, and the return on Norwegian was probably cancelled automatically when the outbound flight wasn't taken. Ugh! Travel is complicated enough these days without giving your money to entities that don't appreciate you ... or at least make an effort to fulfill their side of the deal.