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Couple Claim Compensation From Easyjet After Being Stranded For 48 Hours

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A couple in their 60s have pursued flight compensation against easyJet after feeling let down by the airline when they were left stranded for over two days on their way back to Manchester after a relaxing holiday in Portugal.

Ian Windmill, 65 and his partner Carol, 64, flew to Madeira for a relaxing break before Carol underwent a heart operation. The couple from Sandbach, Cheshire, didn’t anticipate such a tense and distressing journey home.

Their flight was originally delayed and subsequently cancelled due to high winds in the area, despite other airlines arriving and departing during this time. However after a stressful 24 hours, they were further inconvenienced when crew sickness took its toll and the couple were left sleeping on the airport floor.

Bott and Co have taken on the case and believe the couple are entitled to 400 Euros each in flight compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004. We believe the airline had not put reasonable measures in place in anticipation of a crew shortage and also due to the fact that other easyJet flights were taking off and landing.

Ian said: “It actually ruined the holiday and put a dampener on the whole experience because a big part of a holiday includes the journey there and back.”

Passengers prepare for take-off

The couple were due to depart on Monday 25 March 2019 at 6.25pm from Funchal Airport, Madeira, Portugal to Manchester. Although it was windy, passengers were reassured by seeing other flights landing and departing.

“While we were waiting, in spite of the wind, we could see other flights landing. While we kept our eye on the departure board, we received an email from easyJet to say our flight had been diverted to Porto Santo, an island 20 miles away, in the hope that the weather would improve and it could then come to us.”

At 11.30pm, they were told that the flight to Manchester was cancelled. Passengers were provided with accommodation for the night and given a replacement flight at 3pm the following day.

Two cancelled flights and confusion at the airport

“We returned to the airport on Tuesday afternoon to be greeted with the news that our flight was delayed again. The email explained that the delay was as a result of the weather, but compounded by crew illness. Shortly before midnight, we were informed the flight had been cancelled.

There were no easyJet staff present and the handling agents didn’t know what was going on and I think it all became too much for them. It was very tense for everyone.

I went to baggage reclaim to collect my suitcase, but when we returned to the departure area we found out that the coach to overnight accommodation had left without us. We were left in the airport with no information as all the staff had gone.

There were no easyJet staff present and the handling agents didn’t know what was going on and I think it all became too much for them. It was very tense for everyone.

I felt powerless as my phone battery had gone so we couldn’t call anyone; I searched for a charger but to no avail. We were forced to stay in the building sleeping on the floor, which was particularly distressing for Carol because of her heart condition.”

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Stressful experience for a heart patient

“Carol has a heart condition called Ventricular tachycardia which is made worse by stress. The idea of going to Madeira for a week was to get rid of any stress and prepare for the operation.

She really struggled because the surgeon had told us before the holiday that under no circumstances should she get stressed because that exacerbates the situation. easyJet left us high and dry with nothing.

This stressful situation got Carol very worked up. It was a very worrying time for both of us; it was anything but a relaxing journey home.”

Third time lucky…

After a night in the airport, the couple were told that their flight was rescheduled for 3.55pm on Wednesday 27 March. This was then delayed further to 5.25pm.

“More than 48 hours later, we departed back to Manchester and having endured so much emotional strain, we were exhausted.”

Once home, we decided to research claiming compensation on the internet. We studied the EU Regulation 261/2004 and discovered that crew sickness was claimable and also although some weather is extraordinary, the airlines have to show they had put reasonable measures in place to limit our inconvenience.”

easyJet’s flawed claims process

Initially, Ian made a claim through the easyJet website after his travel agent confirmed this was the correct process. But after he received an email back explaining it was beyond their control, he took on the task to look into it further.

This is a perfect example of when airlines don’t put reasonable measures in place to limit or alleviate the disruption for passengers. EasyJet should have contingency plans for events such as crew shortages so that passengers such as Ian and Carol don’t have to endure such experiences.

— Coby Benson

“They said that their decision was final, but I felt upset that they didn’t want to hear about our particular situation. I submitted another email to their customer service department and different people kept getting back to me. Every time I responded, the email bounced back as it was a no-reply email address.

It was like a merry go round with emails asking me for the information that I had already submitted and I was passed from pillar to post. I think it’s a deliberate tactic on their part.

It has put me off ever flying with easyJet again.”

Not taking no for an answer and continuing in his fight

Ian wanted to persist, and read about Bott and Co on the Money Saving Expert website. After contacting our flight delay compensation team, he was told that we think his case was worth fighting. We have now started legal action against easyJet.

Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “This is a perfect example of when airlines don’t put reasonable measures in place to limit or alleviate the disruption for passengers. EasyJet should have contingency plans for events such as crew shortages so that passengers such as Ian and Carol don’t have to endure such experiences.

The airline offered only one night of accommodation and all the while, other flights were taking off. The airline also failed in their duty to re-route the couple at the earliest available opportunity under comparable transport conditions.

Passengers should be entitled to be re-routed with any airline and it is the booked airline’s responsibility to assist their passengers, even if it means on rival airlines.”

Ian concluded: “I’m hoping with solicitor intervention, easyJet will admit fault and we can put the stress of the matter behind us and focus on Carol’s health.”


*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.