In just over a week, the deadline for SAS mediation will expire, and we will receive the answer as to whether more than 800 pilots will go on strike.
A potential strike will affect tens of thousands of customers a day, and can thus have enormous consequences for travel-hungry Norwegians, as well as SAS as an airline.
On Monday, TV 2 was in contact with the parties to the strike. They are currently in Stockholm where there is a coordinated mediation between Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
– The mediation is confidential, so then we can not really say anything more than that, says leader of the SAS pilots in Norway Roger Klokset to TV 2.
If the strike becomes a reality, SAS’s first task is to see if it is possible with alternative travel for those who have booked tickets through the airline.
In a busy summer season, there is not necessarily an abundance of available airline seats available.
So what really matters which customers are offered alternative travel?
Flight analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs speaks on a general basis, and says that each airline has its own guidelines they follow.
– What you often look at is the ticket price, status of the bonus program, travelers with disabilities and families traveling together, he says to TV 2.
These are shielded
SAS’s press manager Tonje Bjerve Sund states that if a flight is changed, you have the right to be rebooked as soon as possible, rebooked at a later date or refund of the ticket.
– It is normal practice in the event of a traffic disruption that you try as far as possible to shield, for example, families with children, those who need extra assistance or have further connections, says the press manager to TV 2.
According to Elnæs, there is little you as a customer can do to influence this choice.
– It is the airlines that control this, and you probably have to wait for the information you get from the company about how they dispose, says the flight analyst.
– Completely unusual
If SAS does not find alternative routes for its passengers, their next option is to refund the flight ticket.
Thus, many may have to look around for travel with other airlines such as Norwegian and Flyr. But what exactly is the possibility of backup travel?
– We see a surprisingly large proportion of package tours in July that are still available. And that it is still vacant, so close to the school holidays is completely unusual, says commercial director of Finn Reise Terje Berge.
Prices are also between 3000-6000 kroner per person for both flights and hotels to popular destinations such as Turkey, Greece and Spain.
– One of the reasons for this is a trend, which we see not only in Norway, but also in other countries. Namely that people order late. It may not be the recipe to get it affordable, but this year it actually looks like it has paid off, says Berge.
Anita Svanes, communications director at Flyr, tells TV 2 that they have for a long time experienced a sharp increase in sales towards the summer, and several of the most popular holiday destinations are being sold out.
– The program for the summer is largely set and is at almost full capacity utilization, so there are no plans to set up extra flights, says Svanes.
Norwegian press officer Andreas Hjørnholm writes in an e-mail that the demand for flights this summer is high, and that several of their departures to the most famous destinations are already sold out.
– However, there are still tickets available for the summer, and at a reasonable price. A good tip is to book a departure in the middle of the week. Then you can get very good prices, writes Hjørnholm.
– Affects a lot of people
Norwegian is assessing the situation on an ongoing basis, but like Flyr, it is not currently relevant to set up more flights in the event of a potential SAS strike.
– Our most important task is to ensure that all those who have booked travel with us, arrive at their destination, says Hjørnholm.
However, there is little doubt that the situation this summer can quickly become chaotic.
– Now you are in a very special situation, and it affects a lot of people. It can quickly become a very confusing situation if you are to have the three ongoing strikes at the same time, says Elnæs.