Bott and Co has conducted the UK’s largest ever airline passenger survey by a law firm, with shocking results.
The overarching theme of participants’ answers is that the airlines continue to pull the wool over passengers’ eyes to get out of paying due flight delay compensation.
The findings also revealed that a staggering 92% of 1,949 passengers surveyed were ignored and refused compensation by airlines. All eventually received up to 600 Euros under EU Regulation 261/2004 after instructing Bott and Co to pursue their claim.
They fobbed me off! They gave what seemed a plausible reason but as proved it was just outright lies.
Despite the Regulation being introduced 14 years ago, the telling answers show that there is still a long way to go for passenger rights as airlines continue to break the law.
Almost 70% of passengers were in the dark about their flight rights at the time of the flight delay or cancellation, alluding to potentially hundreds of millions in unclaimed compensation each year. It’s this very reason that we fight so hard on a daily basis to boost passenger rights.
Which Airlines Did Passengers Struggle The Most Against?
easyJet and TUI stood out for not paying passengers what they’re entitled to with the highest number of respondents travelling with those two airlines, followed by British Airways, Thomas Cook, Ryanair and Jet2. The majority of passengers sought legal help after being unsuccessful with the airlines.
Out of all participants, it was easyJet that 24.48% had made a claim against in the past two years. One of our clients recalls the seemingly insurmountable mountain he was forced to climb at the hands of the airline, saying, “It was impossible to get them to engage with me. I felt they were going to put as many obstacles as possible in the way to avoid paying out.”
Another disgruntled easyJet passenger states, “They fobbed me off! They gave what seemed a plausible reason but as proved it was just outright lies.”
Bott and Co is at the forefront of flight delay compensation law; Coby Benson, our Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor, played an integral part in bringing this area of law over to the UK when he himself was left stranded after a flight delay. He said: “It’s clear that airlines are continuing to break the law by ignoring their customers and shirking their responsibilities.
Airlines do not have a valid defence when flights are affected by everyday factors or where reasonable measures could have been put in place to limit or avoid disruption. But they seem to have a hard time accepting this.
The survey highlights that nearly 40% of those surveyed did not receive a response from the airline within a month when they are legally obliged to do so within 28 days.”
Frustratingly, zero communication from the airline was a common response from our passenger survey, with answers ranging from, “Communications disappeared into a black hole”, to “Completely obstructive; in the end they paid after four years”, to “The airline was unresponsive, unhelpful and deliberately evasive.”
Airlines Consistently Waste Their Passengers’ Time
Shockingly, 80% of passengers had to contact the airline more than once, with 42% spending more than two hours of their time trying to deal with airlines before giving up and seeking solicitor intervention.
Benson continues: “Airlines do not have a valid defence when flights are affected by everyday factors or where reasonable measures could have been put in place to limit or avoid disruption. But they seem to have a hard time accepting this.”
Passengers are fed lie after lie, with nearly 60% of people told they couldn’t claim due to ’extraordinary circumstances’. These circumstances are commonly cited by the airlines as the reason for a delay or cancellation, as generally, they aren’t claimable. Examples include security risks, extreme weather conditions such as an earthquake or volcanic ash cloud and political unrest.
I knew I was entitled to compensation and it surprised me that I was refused. I felt I had no power to prove my justice. That’s why I turned to Bott and Co.
However, the fact that all participants in Bott and Co’s survey were successful with their flight delay claim proves that extraordinary circumstances can be claimable.
Coby concludes, “It’s unacceptable that all of these people were legally entitled to receive monetary compensation from the airline in the first instance but only did so after being forced to seek legal advice.”
‘Extraordinary Circumstances’ CAN Be Claimable
The most popular excuse given by airlines to not pay compensation was bad weather conditions (40%), followed by technical problems (23%). Other excuses given were crew/staff sickness, delay on a previous flight and crew being out of their allocated working hours.
“The results show that airlines are likely cashing in on the mistaken belief that bad weather is always an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, which would stop them having to pay compensation. However, weather is a grey area and delays caused by weather conditions that are not considered ‘freakish’ or ‘wholly exceptional’ are likely to be claimable,” continues Benson.
Benson said: “We would therefore encourage people to look into the nature of the delay and how the airline managed it; even if they are told it is ‘extraordinary circumstances’, they should look further to seek a fair resolution.
Over the last few years, the lines have been blurred and confusion around passenger rights has been created largely by the excuses and inaccuracies of airlines towards those trying to claim.”
In many of the cases, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) weren’t helpful and 12% of people never received any kind of response from the airline.
It’s so important for people to be aware of their rights so that they can push back if they believe they are entitled to compensation.
The majority of respondents suffered a flight delay or cancellation when travelling from Manchester Airport, with Gatwick Airport coming second. 75% said that if they had another delay they would go straight to Bott and Co and not bother with the airline.
Out of the 1,949 respondents, 52% were male and 48% were female. 61% of respondents were over the age of 45, 16% were 35 – 44 years of age and 23% were aged between 18 and 34.
Passengers Must Question The Airlines
We have issued over 100,000 sets of court proceedings for passengers who’ve been refused flight delay compensation by over 140 airlines. We continue to invest heavily in major cases against some of the world’s largest airlines in a bid to force transparency from the airlines and to secure passengers with the compensation which is rightfully theirs.
Passengers that were shamelessly let down after their flight delay or cancellation are pleased that at least some justice was achieved after seeking Bott and Co’s help. The proof is in the pudding for those that did seek out legal advice. One customer said: “I knew I was entitled to compensation and it surprised me that I was refused. I felt I had no power to prove my justice. That’s why I turned to Bott and Co.”
Benson concludes: “In our experience we’ve found that passengers often lack the confidence to question the airlines. We would wholly recommend that they do this. It’s so important for people to be aware of their rights so that they can push back if they believe they are entitled to compensation.”
Bott and Co Solicitors Ltd. surveyed 45,000 passengers who’ve previously made a compensation claim against airlines where the matter has been settled and paid through the legal help of the law firm. Out of the 1,949 responses, 366 (24.48%) were easyJet passengers, followed closely by 334 (22.34%) being TUI (formerly Thomson) passengers. For the purpose of the survey results, these two airline entities were rated based on number of respondents. It is understood and accepted that each airline carries different numbers of passengers.
While it is undisputable that these two airlines have a majority number of flights operating to and from the UK, if they considered paying out as they should at the same time of the cancellation or the delay, passengers would receive compensation sooner without the need to instruct law firms such as Bott and Co.