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Air Asia X may be the only example of long haul no-frills airline that has actually worked, though that was a new & growing market where passenger expectations were very different. Norwegian may have to give up a little, and do some more educational work on expectations.

Europe’s third-largest budget airline has apologised to passengers for refusing them water, food and blankets on long-haul flights.

Norwegian Air Shuttle described the experiences of passengers on two of its flights from New York to Bangkok as “totally unacceptable”.

On one, from Oslo to New York, a 16-year-old complained that he was “left to freeze” after being unable to pay for a blanket.

A report in the Aftenposten newspaper said the boy had cash but was required to use a credit card to pay the $5 (£3.20) fee.

The complaint came a week after a Thai woman had a cup of coffee taken from her by Norwegian crew members when they discovered that she only had cash and a local credit card with her, neither of which the airline would accept. The woman was unable to buy any food or water for the entire 12-hour journey.

“This is totally unacceptable,” said company spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen. “Norwegian must ensure its passengers are treated well and we apologise deeply.”

The flights had only been recently launched, making Norwegian one of the few no-frills carriers to fly long-haul. The furthest passengers in Britain can fly on a budget airline is to Egypt, a five-and-a-half hour journey. Aer Lingus, the Irish low-cost carrier, offers a service to New York.

“We are the first to admit that we have had some start-up problems on the long-haul flights,” Sandaker-Nielsen added.

The airline said it is going to review its policy of only accepting credit card payments and will make efforts to improve communication between staff and passengers.

Reactions to the news on social media included a comment from Tor Andre Ljosland that “soon you will also need a credit card to use the toilet.”

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Tags: low-cost carriers, norwegian air

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