Norwegian Airlines Broken Seat - Refund or Compensation?

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Aug 10, 2018
I recently flew on an 11+ hour Norwegian flight from Oakland, CA to Barcelona. The flight had been downgraded from a 787 Dreamliner to a HiFly Airbus (A380 I think?). I didn't like this but the real cause for complaint was the fact that my seat's headrest was broken off so that it was dangling between my neck and the seat back. The flight crew did nothing but half-heartedly try to stick it back on. As you can imagine, this made for an immensely uncomfortable 11+ hours as the the headrest fell off again and again, causing stress on my neck. I had to constantly put it back on and try to hold it in place with my head. I have pictures showing the extent of the problem if it helps.

I've contacted Norwegian customer support, but they've basically given me a f*** you, saying it doesn't violate regulations and I have no right to compensation. I haven't had such issues with airline customer service in the past but I was aghast they would consider this an acceptable experience for a paying customer (especially after seeing the pictures and considering I had flown on 3 Norwegian flights on the same trip!).

Has anyone had success getting a refund or compensation for an issue like this? I've tried social media and have asked to escalate to a manager with no reply. Is it time to try the executive contacts given on this site, or can you recommend another avenue?

Sep 19, 2015
Dreamliners are still having engine problems I think and being rotated in an out of service which is why you had the different plane. I take it there were no other seats to move to.

Did you pay for a seat assignment or premium seat?

What sort of refund or compensation do you think is appropriate? Most airlines would not even give a voucher of $50 for that. Discomfort seems to be an expected part of travel now.....
Aug 10, 2018
I did not pay for a seat assignment or premium seat and they did not move me to another seat. I think a partial to full refund of my fare would be appropriate. Even if it's not in the letter of the law or the ticket contract, it's in the spirit of good faith toward customers and a reason for me to choose to continue using Norwegian.

Perhaps my expectations are too high, but having worked in several companies where customer service is a priority, I can't believe that that a business would be so dismissive of such a subpar customer experience. Shouldn't it be a minimum standard to have a usable seat? I've been flying for a long time and have dealt with all kinds of delays, canceled flights, missed connections etc but never anything like this. The bar is getting really low I guess and there's no accountability.

Here's the picture, seriously WTF:


Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Were there empty seats on the flight you could have moved to?

I’m glad you posted the pictures - I was trying to envision how bad it could be. Well that is very bad.

We have company contacts on our pages. I think you should contact corporate and ask for at least a 50% - 75% refund. They got you to your destination albeit uncomfortably. Do tell them you asked to be moved and why the FA wouldn’t move you. Since you’ve already dealt with Customer Service your next letter should be to the first executive we show on company contacts.

This is a discount airline where customer service is pretty nil but that’s just a really uncomfortable ride.

Did they acknowledge your complaint online?

I would ask you to refrain from posting foul language here on the boards and on any letter you write to the airline. You need to send a well written letter that states facts only and be polite. That’s the type of letter that gets results. If you want to write something and post it here before you send it we’d be happy to edit it for you.
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
Thanks for the visual. I was thinking that it was the usual headrest that is affixed to the top of the seat. This is bad.

What was the response to the tweet? Usually the Twitter teams are more proactive as it is to public.

When looking for compensation look at the fare of the segment before taxes and ask for an appropriate amount.
Likes: Neil Maley


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
What an awful experience. This is a low-cost airline, so I imagine they'll ignore you as long as possible. Be polite, patient and persistent. I've always carried a little roll of duct tape in my stash bag ... I've never had to use it, but it would have come in very handy here.
Feb 3, 2017
I would think a polite, succinct email describing the situation and what you would like from the airline together with the attached photos should get you some response; I can't imagine they want those photos being posted on twitter, etc (though I certainly wouldn't mention any intention of complaining on social media in an email to them)

I did this with Delta - brief email with dates/flight number/issue along with a photo and received a response with an hour or so with a promise for a refund for the money I had paid extra for that particular class of seat (which is what I felt was all that was owed as my situation was not as bad as what you experienced) and the next day, the refund was credited to my account.

Good luck - that really is awful - with my neck/back problems, I would have been a mess after sitting with that -
Feb 28, 2018
I recently booked a flight with Norwegian from Oakland to Barcelona, wanted to pay for an assigned seat and meals on the 11 hour flight. I eventually cancelled when I 1) had incredible difficulty in getting someone on the telephone who could reserve my seat and arrange meals, both for a fee. and 2) discovered the awful recent Norwegian record for for that scheduled departure/arrival. The low ticket price reflects the level of service. If you don't care when you depart or arrive it may be acceptable.