Judith and Charles Bailey from Parwich, Derbyshire, departed from Manchester Airport but missed their connecting flight due to an earlier flight delay. This had a knock on affect for the rest of their journey.
The couple who were rejected by the airline when trying to claim, have secured £1,064 in flight compensation with the help of Bott and Co.
They were supposed to being flying via Dusseldorf but were sent back to the UK via London, Heathrow and missed two more alternative flights through no fault of their own.
Upon returning home, they got in touch with Eurowings to make a claim but didn’t hear back. When they followed it up they were told that it would take at least six months to get a response.
After hitting dead ends with the airline, Judith sought legal advice and a friend recommended Bott and Co. The law firm took on the case against Eurowings for a missed connection and were able to secure the couple just over £500 each in flight delay compensation as the initial delay in Manchester was not due to extraordinary circumstances.
Judith said: “We were let down by Eurowings, United Airlines and Virgin Holidays, who all negatively impacted what should have been an amazing Christmas experience in New York.”
Christmas In New York
On Monday 18 December, Judith and Charles arrived at Manchester Airport ready for one of two flights from Manchester via Dusseldorf that would land them in New York.
“We’ve always wanted to spend Christmas in New York, with visions of walking in Central Park on Christmas morning. After months of planning, we arrived at the airport to begin our journey. At first there were no desks open and our flight to Dusseldorf wasn’t even noted on the departure board, despite being told to present ourselves for check-in two hours before departure.
Eventually, the desks opened but the Eurowings attendant was grumpy and unengaging. Once through to the waiting area, we learnt that our flight was delayed by an hour, we eventually took off over three hours late.”
Whilst on board the aircraft, Judith and Charles became increasingly worried about their connecting flight from Dusseldorf to New York.
“We asked the cabin crew if they knew what was happening with our United Airlines flight to Newark Liberty Airport in New York but they were unable to find out.
Once we landed in Dusseldorf, we found out that our connecting flight had left without us, and a number of other passengers destined for New York.”
Landed To Confusion And Bad News
All passengers affected were unsure of whether they should go to passport control or stay within the terminal.
“The passport control officers pointed us back to the Lufthansa desk but when no one was around to speak to at any desk we then decided to go through passport control to find out what to do next.
After an hour of barely moving in a long line I walked to the top of the queue to see if I could find out what was happening. Only one lady could access the computer to look at alternative flights – the queue was growing and frustration was building.”
I wasn’t prepared to spend any more of my holiday queuing but they didn’t seem to care
Luckily Judith speaks German and was able to communicate with a Lufthansa employee who told them they were in the wrong queue.
“To put this into perspective, approximately two hours after disembarking the plane we were at last in the right queue – no thanks to anyone at Eurowings. There, two Eurowings staff had to email a flight information centre in Portugal requesting information on alternative flights for every individual, this was taking an inordinate amount of time and it was apparent that there was no group planning.
The airport was absolute carnage as it was days before Christmas.”
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Sent Here, There And Everywhere
Judith and Charles were sent to get on a flight to London Heathrow which included a connection to Zurich but the gate had closed. Once again, Judith and Charles were left queuing for hours.
“As we had a Virgin Holiday package, I rang Virgin to see if we could get on an afternoon flight out of London Heathrow to JFK airport in New York but were told no. I told them that I wasn’t prepared to spend any more of my holiday queuing but they didn’t seem to care.
I pity the other passengers who spent half their time in the airport when they should have been in New York. We had a good amount of time in New York but others were only going for a couple of days.”
We were eventually offered a flight the next day out of Dusseldorf to London Heathrow and then a connection with United Airlines to New York on Tuesday 19 December. After five hours in various queues in Dusseldorf Airport and almost 12 hours since arriving in Manchester Airport we were given a voucher for taxi, hotel and dinner and a return taxi to the airport.
I rang our hotel in New York to inform them of our late arrival and had to re-book a pre-booked tour of the Rockefeller Centre.”
Second Time Not So Lucky!
Their flight to London Heathrow was delayed by 15 minutes and then on approaching London, they experienced an aborted landing.
“When we eventually landed, we literally had to run through the terminal and beg to get to the front of the queues in order to make our connection to America. United Airlines would not allow us to proceed so once more, the United Airlines flight to New York departed without us.
Again, we were sent to a transfer desk where the queue was chaotic, not moving and growing by the minute. After one hour in a very slow-moving queue I rang Virgin Holidays and spoke to a lovely lady who listened and understood the situation.
She arranged to get us on a 6pm United Airlines flight and agreed to pay for extra leg room seats. We were advised we would have to pay and reclaim the costs upon our return.
Finally, after a further five hour delay at London Heathrow, we were on our way. We arrived in New York 30 hours late, at night rather than the afternoon, and exhausted.”
Reflecting on the experience Judith said: “The flight schedule offered by Virgin Holidays via Eurowings and United Airlines is set up to fail. It does not allow for any delay, however slight and there is no plan B when things do go wrong.”
Airline Rejects Claim
Once home, Judith wrote to Eurowings, including all the boarding passes and necessary information but she didn’t get a response, despite the law requiring a response within 28 days.
“I eventually got through to be told that they have thousands of claims to get through and that it would be at least six months before I’d hear back from them. It’s not a good representation of a company when they have thousands of compensation claims against them.
After endless calls and emails, I was told that I was not entitled to compensation. I asked them to tell me why and then I’d go away but they wouldn’t say. I spent so much time and money on calls to Eurowings. When I realised that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with them, I was forced to seek out legal advice and a friend recommended Bott and Co.
I was delighted to receive an email within a matter of months to say that Bott and Co had been successful at recovering our compensation from the airline.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “This couple suffered a great deal of stress and had to do a lot of running around when really they should have been rerouted at the earliest convenience, ideally from Dusseldorf.
They had to endure endless queues and airlines should have contingency plans in place to minimise the inconvenience for passengers who suffer missed connections as a result of a delay. We’re happy we were able to help them recover the compensation they were entitled to.”