Consumer rights

Norwegian Airlines will not refund £2,676 cash for tickets to Florida | Consumer rights

We need to know if we have a realistic claim against Norwegian Airways, who we paid £2,676 for flights to America that it is no longer possible to take.

In August 2019having saved for years, we bought flights to Florida for a unique family trip to Disneyland. covid hit and the airline canceled.

At the time we were persuaded to take ‘points’ rather than a cash refund, and were told these could be used towards a re-booking. In December 2020, we booked new Norwegian flights to Florida, paying a cash top-up.

However, a month later Norwegian announced that it would no longer be flying to the United States and the flight was cancelled. The points were returned to our rewards account and the small cash amount refunded.

Since then I have tried to get the airline to refund the cost of the original flights but to no avail. When I agreed to take the points, it was on the condition that they be used to purchase new flights within the United States.

The points expire on December 22 of this year. Can you offer us hope?

K.D.by email

In March 2020, when airlines began canceling flights, Guardian Money urged readers to expect cash refunds, often in the face of refusals from airlines who were determined to offer vouchers instead.

The biggest problem is that Norwegian Air UK – the part of the company that sold you the original flight – has gone into liquidation and no longer flies to the US.

Exceptionally, its parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle, continues to honor the rewards program that, in effect, holds your credit – and that of countless others. He does this to maintain some goodwill.

The company told me that when you agreed to take the points, you actually entered into a new contract, and that’s why they can’t refund you cash.

Coby Benson, a theft lawyer at Bott and Co, describes the case as “a sad set of circumstances and a cautionary tale about accepting airline vouchers”.

Following the liquidation, he says, there is little prospect of repayment. He suggests contacting your credit card company, but you paid by debit card.

I found a possible solution, however. If you decide the points are worthless to you, there’s nothing stopping you from using them to book other people on Norwegian flights and make a financial deal with them behind the scenes. Norwegian has confirmed that the booker does not need to fly.

Must be worth a try.

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