This is flying with Norwegian or Sterling: I arrive at Copenhagen airport 1,5 hours early (I had planned on being two hours early but apparently the airport train was malfunctioning). There is one counter and a long line that has not been organised at all. While the line quadruples in size, security from another airline makes sure to move the line so that their passengers can come through. I’ll probably fly with that airline next time.

After an hour in queue for checkin (poor check-inn guy, he was working like crazy), I finally get out, through security (security at Kastrup was actually very fast! :-) ) but they had no gate for the plane until ten minutes before it was scheduled to leave. At the gate the line was equally long, and by the time we were on board we were already very late. But the plane had been late at its previous destination as well, so while we all sat there, the plane stayed put.

After a very long time, the plane was ready to leave. The security announcement on this flight from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Oslo (Norway) was totally gibberish. None of us understood anything in what I think was a mix of Hungarian and English with a Spanish accent. Everyone was confused, so in case of an emergency, we’d be toast. The crew was very friendly, though, and one guy really did his best to make us feel at home, even though we had to communicate in bodylanguage. For the record, I speak Danish, Norwegian and English and usually don’t have trouble understanding people in these languages.

The flight was luckily quite eventless even though the cabin crew kept ringing the bells all the time so I was wondering what was wrong. In case of an emergency, I probably would have stopped noticing and not get the message, even if I spoke Gibberish fluently. When we landed at Oslo Lufthavn Gardermoen, though, the bridge couldn’t connect to the airplane, so we were stranded there. At first we figured it was just a few minutes, but it quickly became 20 minutes with no airconditioning and the summer sun boiling the airplane. I was seriously planning on using the emergency exit. The interesting thing was that the alternative, a car with stairs, was right outside the airplane. However, no-one of the people working there seemed interesting at using it.

When coming in the air station everything seemed fine, and after a little wait (about 10 minutes) the luggage would start arriving. Only problem was, it couldn’t get out as the belt was already full with left-over luggage. After a thirty minute wait when I got my luggage, the same super-sized Barbie doll, a couple of televisions and lots of luggage had gone around a zillion times and blocked all the luggage. The luggage system even broke down once and some guy came and fixed it. Breakdowns happen, and he fixed it quickly, but I spoke to the people there and asked if they would call someone to remove the luggage that wasn’t collected. They said it was a problem that people went to buy tax-free instead of collecting their luggage, but I pointed out that the tax-free was virtually empty and that this was a problem and they should call someone. The woman I was talking to said it wasn’t their job, so the airport should hire someone. So if anyone from OSL reads this, your staff seems to think that you should hire someone to make a one-minute phonecall to alert the airport crew that excessive luggage should be removed from the belt.

Why is my conclusion not to fly Sterling or Norwegian? Sterling and Norwegian share flights and thus share responasability. If they were having problems, they never informed us or did anything to make the journey more comfortable. They clearly have negotiated very bad deals with the airport if they cannot have more than one check-in open and if they cannot get the airport crew to service their passengers. And really, I saw other airlines getting the crew to do a great job, and I was really envious, so next time I’m flying with someone else. You might argue that you get what you pay for with a cheap airline, but the plane ticket was not priced significantly lower than the alternatives, at about 850 DKR I can fly with many alternatives.

So, Sterling and Norwegian, straighten up. You not only lost me as a customer. Being a foreign student I’m a regular customer on a budget. You’ve probably lost half the plane passengers as well if the outspoken complaints is something to go by. Bad service is bad business, straighten up or you’ll go bust: either way I expect better airline service.

For myself, I note that the entire deal took me one hour less than taking the bus. For the record, this was flight DY 905 July 15th from Copenhagen to Oslo, scheduled for departue 9.20

Categories: General