John Stretch, 70 and his wife Wendy, 67, from Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, were set to travel from East Midlands Airport to Palma Airport with TUI Airways on 10th April 2018. The pair was due to go on their first ever cruise trip, starting in Majorca. However upon arriving at check in, the couple were rudely asked what they were queuing up for, as “they weren’t going anywhere”.
John and Wendy had received no communication from TUI Airways about the delay, and suffered an 11 hour wait at the hands of the airline, which has been blamed on windy weather conditions.
Despite TUI admitting liability, they did not compensate passengers affected on the flight, so the couple turned to Bott and Co for help. The law firm has successfully recovered €400 each in compensation for the couple under EU Regulation 261/2004, which they are going to put towards their next holiday.
The Couple’s First Ever Cruise Tainted From The Beginning
At 5.30am on 10th April 2018, John and Wendy arrived at the check in desk at East Midlands Airport to be met by rude, smirking staff. John recalls a female TUI staff member saying “What are you upset for? You’re not going anywhere.” John says, “That was it, that’s how we found out we were delayed. She left us with no information, and there were about 150 of us.”
Although some of John and Wendy’s fellow passengers had received an email the night before warning of the delay, the Stretch’s hadn’t. The holiday involved cruising from Majorca to Corsica and then Rome and onwards, and was the couple’s very first cruise.
Furthermore, John had been delighted the day before to learn that his best friend and his wife were flying from Newcastle Airport to join the pair in Majorca. But what was supposed to be a leisurely and wonderful retirement experience quickly became thwarted.
We should have arrived in Palma at 11am, but we actually got there just before midnight, exhausted and fed up
John says, “The whole of the first day was a write off, then the delay had a knock on effect throughout the whole trip, which was only a week long to begin with.”
TUI’s Promise Never Delivered
John and Wendy were given no further information on their delay until 10am, four and a half hours later. During the time between, they tried to communicate via phone with TUI, but the phone lines were all down. For the entire period of their eleven hour delay, they were given a £20 food voucher, which John admits didn’t go very far due to airport prices, so he and his wife were left feeling hungry and parched.
At one point, a TUI rep told everyone to meet at an information desk at an agreed time later – everyone turned up as agreed, but there was no TUI member of staff to be seen. Rumours were circulating around the delayed passengers that the plane they were supposed to board was stuck in Madeira due to windy conditions the day before, but no concrete explanation was ever given to them.
Armed Police Guard At The Airport Adds Further Insult
Just before the dispirited passengers finally got on the plane to Majorca, John and Wendy say they were shocked to see an armed police guard at their gate.
We couldn’t believe it, there was actually an armed police guard there in case we kicked off. It was insulting
When John and Wendy eventually got to Majorca, instead of having a lovely reunion with their close friends, they had to go straight to bed due to their sheer exhaustion and frustration.
Due to the upset that they have suffered, John and Wendy will never fly with TUI Airways again, calling them “absolutely terrible.”
John remembers: “There were lots of people with push chairs, elderly people, but there was no consideration shown towards anyone.”
Bott and Co Get John And Wendy The Justice They Deserve
Upon returning home, John did extensive research into flight delay compensation. He didn’t want to approach TUI as he and his wife were still so angry at the treatment they received.
John says, “Bott and Co were by far the most clear choice of solicitors to trust with recovering our flight delay compensation. I could see from research they are a transparent company with well-documented past successes in holding the airlines accountable.
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co says it’s important that passengers know bad weather conditions aren’t always an “extraordinary circumstance” i.e. not claimable. Speaking about John and Wendy’s circumstances, he says, “There had been bad weather conditions, however it affected previous flights, at a completely different airport.
“John and Wendy’s case went to a hearing and the judge agreed with our arguments that in order for bad weather to be extraordinary it has to be wholly exceptional and also has to affect the passenger’s particular flight.”
Bott and Co secured 800 Euros for the couple under EU Regulation 261/2004, which they say has been put into the “pot” to fund their next holiday abroad.