On 23rd September 2015, Mark Hudson, 66, and his wife Lesley, were travelling from Paphos, Cyprus, with friends John and Liz Towle to East Midlands Airport, after celebrating both couple’s 40th wedding anniversaries. However, their TUI flight home was delayed by nearly six hours, and they were left in the dark regarding what was happening when the airline failed to help.
The reason cited for the delay was a problem with the runway in Kos the previous day. When Mark tried to claim flight delay compensation direct from TUI, he came to a brick wall after writing to the airline three times before even receiving a reply, then being refused compensation outright.
Having had no success with TUI, Mark turned to flight delay compensation experts Bott and Co, who in turn recovered 400 Euros each for the four friends under EU Regulation 261/2004. Mark rates Bott and Co as a first class service, and has already recommended the firm to a friend. The friends used their compensation to book another joint holiday, this time to Spain.
Mark Notices The Flight Delay On Flight Radar
Out of curiosity, just before leaving the hotel, Mark checked his TUI flight status back to East Midlands Airport, but was shocked to discover that the plane hadn’t even left England yet.
Immediately, he queried this with a TUI rep, who reassured him that the delay was only “minor”. Once the party of four had checked in, there were no staff available to answer their questions about the delay. He says, “The information was poor. All we could do was keep checking the departure boards. They should have let us stay at the hotel for longer.”
No Food Or Drinks Vouchers Given By TUI
Throughout the delay, Mr Hudson says that there was no offer of food or drinks vouchers by TUI However, under EU Regulation 261/2004, after a delay of two hours or more, airlines are obliged to provide ‘care and assistance’ to delayed passengers, including food and drink in reasonable relation to the waiting time, and free hotel accommodation if necessary.
Mark says, “There was a lack of sensitivity towards passengers’ needs. In the end, we didn’t want to be sat on uncomfortable airport chairs for hours on end, so we each paid 15 Euros to sit in the VIP Lounge. That shouldn’t have been necessary.”
Questioning TUI’s competence, Mark, Lesley and their friends were left wondering why the airline couldn’t have told them of the delay earlier to prevent a long wait at the airport; especially as Mark had noticed the delay himself on Flight Radar.
“A Classic Case Of A Big Company Not Taking Responsibility”
Mark repeatedly tried to seek flight delay compensation from TUI, but to no avail. After a friend of Mark’s recommended Bott and Co’s services, Mark instructed the legal experts to take on his claim for him.
He says, “When we finally got home, I contacted TUI direct. I got no response. I emailed again, and eventually they said it was an unavoidable delay because there had been a problem at Kos Airport the previous day. How does that make sense? TUIwere awful – they thought I was just going to go away!
“A friend recommended Bott and Co and I just thought ‘What have I got to lose?’ I’m glad I did, the whole thing was seamless and done electronically, and we each got 400 Euros in compensation. I just hope other passengers on our flight knew their rights too.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co says, “TUI blamed the Hudsons’ and Towle’s flight delay on an incident that occurred the day before at a completely different airport. The airline was evasive when passengers tried to find out what was happening, and also failed to provide care and assistance to those waiting, which is a legal obligation set out under EU regulation 261/2004.
“We were able to recover 400 Euros each for the four passengers from TUI after they suffered an almost six hour delay – but not before the airline was obstructive in paying out due compensation. The airline ignored court proceedings so we were able to win against easyJet by default.”
Keen for this to never be in the same situation again, Mark admits, “I travel with other airlines now. Our experience with TUI left a sour taste in my mouth. It was a terrible way to end our joint Ruby Wedding anniversary celebrations.”
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*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.