Norwegian Air - Turned away at check-in, Made to pay a change fee

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Jul 22, 2019
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#1
My family of 4 arrived at the Norwegian departures desk at Gatwick before the 1-hour check-in deadline and were turned away and forced to pay $1494.00 USD to change to a flight later in the day to a different destination city.

Despite there being several minutes remaining before the 1-hour pre-departure deadline for check-in, we were told we would not be able to check in for the flight because check-in was "about to close". It had not yet closed. They said we would need to go to customer service desk to have our flight changed. We arrived with 3 minutes until the deadline. Close, but still not past the deadline.

Adding insult to injury, the gate agents (more than one) with whom we pleaded to allow us to check-in for our original flight were callous, condescending and rude. Traveling with small children is hard enough, and it was quite upsetting for my wife and kids when airline employees appeared to enjoy our struggle.

However, the bottom line is that we were there before the deadline, even if it was close. We were there on time, and they would not allow us to check-in. Forcing us to pay $1494 to change our flight.

I thought I'd check in here before formally submitting a complaint. We'd like to have the change fee refunded.

Thank you
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,958
2,055
113
Maui Hawaii
#2
You need to provide the details of your flights before we can offer any advice. Where were you scheduled to go, what was the fight schedule, when did you try to check-in, etc, etc?
 
Sep 19, 2015
4,853
6,476
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#5
My family of 4 arrived at the Norwegian departures desk at Gatwick before the 1-hour check-in deadline and were turned away and forced to pay $1494.00 USD to change to a flight later in the day to a different destination city.

Despite there being several minutes remaining before the 1-hour pre-departure deadline for check-in, we were told we would not be able to check in for the flight because check-in was "about to close". It had not yet closed. They said we would need to go to customer service desk to have our flight changed. We arrived with 3 minutes until the deadline. Close, but still not past the deadline.

Adding insult to injury, the gate agents (more than one) with whom we pleaded to allow us to check-in for our original flight were callous, condescending and rude. Traveling with small children is hard enough, and it was quite upsetting for my wife and kids when airline employees appeared to enjoy our struggle.

However, the bottom line is that we were there before the deadline, even if it was close. We were there on time, and they would not allow us to check-in. Forcing us to pay $1494 to change our flight.

I thought I'd check in here before formally submitting a complaint. We'd like to have the change fee refunded.

Thank you
You have to be "fully checked in" before the deadline. Just being in line is not enough unfortunately or being at the counter. Considering Norwegian has to do things manually (ie no online check in for flights UK to US) they may not have been able to process 4 check ins in 3 minutes -- that is less than one minute per passenger -- and if one is checking baggage that takes more time. Norwegian check in takes long because they are so strict about carry on bag weights in addition to checked bag weight -- they weigh it all.

Was there a reason that you arrived at the airport late?

I have seen Norwegian check in lines and they are often very long.

Norwegian is a low cost airline and not known for customer service.
 
May 1, 2018
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#7
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news OP, but I just reviewed Norwegian's contract of carriage and it doesn't look good.

8.1 Check-in deadlines
We reserve the right to cancel your Booking if you do not comply with the stipulated deadlines and requirements for check-in pursuant to Article 15 and other applicable regulations. Check-in deadlines may be found on our Website and are available by contacting us, or our Authorised Agents. We are not liable for any Damages you incur due to the failure to comply with the provisions of this clause.
Source

Flights to/from U.S., Canada, Thailand, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Dubai, Argentina and Brazil.
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure
  • Boarding closes 20 minutes before departure
Source

As you can see, the check-in desk closes 1 hour before departure. They might have gotten one of you checked in but there's no way all 4 of you would have completed check-in on time.

You may be able to file for reimbursement through your credit card if you booked this flight on a credit card that offers travel protections.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,927
17,142
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news OP, but I just reviewed Norwegian's contract of carriage and it doesn't look good.


Source

Source

As you can see, the check-in desk closes 1 hour before departure. They might have gotten one of you checked in but there's no way all 4 of you would have completed check-in on time.

You may be able to file for reimbursement through your credit card if you booked this flight on a credit card that offers travel protections.
Arriving too late to check in generally isn’t covered by insurance.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,958
2,055
113
Maui Hawaii
#9
My family of 4 arrived at the Norwegian departures desk at Gatwick before the 1-hour check-in deadline and were turned away and forced to pay $1494.00 USD to change to a flight later in the day to a different destination city.

Despite there being several minutes remaining before the 1-hour pre-departure deadline for check-in, we were told we would not be able to check in for the flight because check-in was "about to close". It had not yet closed. They said we would need to go to customer service desk to have our flight changed. We arrived with 3 minutes until the deadline. Close, but still not past the deadline.

Adding insult to injury, the gate agents (more than one) with whom we pleaded to allow us to check-in for our original flight were callous, condescending and rude. Traveling with small children is hard enough, and it was quite upsetting for my wife and kids when airline employees appeared to enjoy our struggle.

However, the bottom line is that we were there before the deadline, even if it was close. We were there on time, and they would not allow us to check-in. Forcing us to pay $1494 to change our flight.

I thought I'd check in here before formally submitting a complaint. We'd like to have the change fee refunded.

Thank you
The computers for international flights "lockdown" 60 minutes before the scheduled departure for immigration control reasons. The check-in desk cannot override the lockdown. Four people arriving 63 minutes before the departure of an international flight means that the check-in cannot be completed before computer lockdown. Essentially the OP missed the flight and had to be reticketed aa walk-up prices.

Check-in opens 180 minutes before scheduled departure. You should arrive at the check-in desk 120-180 minutes before the closing of check-in. After check-in, you will need to process through security and, in some countries, passport control. This can take far more than 40 minutes (the time between check-in closure and the end of boarding.)
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,927
17,142
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
What would have been worse for the OP is if they had checked in one or two of them and the computers locked down. Then two people would have had to buy new flights and an arguement could have ensued about who was lucky enough be the two that were processed first.

This is a sad way to learn you need to be at the airport at least two hours before your flight.

We have company contacts for Norwegian Air, OP can try and write.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/norwegian-airlines/
 
Likes: Patina