Margaux Isbecque, 27, a cardiology nurse, had booked travel to Venice from Gatwick Airport with easyJet on 27th July 2018 alongside three friends, but their holiday started disastrously.
The excuse given by the airline was “mass disruption” due to a lack of staff and the runway being closed. However, easyJet said that they didn’t have the capacity to rebook passengers onto alternative flights or help at all, so the group had to fend for themselves.
After being ignored repeatedly by easyJet and struggling with the Small Claims Court, the four friends approached Bott and Co for help claiming flight delay compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004, and were awarded €250 each.
A Delay Turns Into a Cancellation
On 27th July 2018, Margaux, her partner Finlay and friends, David and Nicky, arrived at Gatwick Airport with their luggage and bikes in tow in preparation for their cycling holiday. The group were planning to explore Venice for two nights before biking through the Dolomites mountain range.
Their concerns were mounting as the flight was delayed further and further on the easyJet app, from 18.45, to 19.45, then back to 19.00. The departure board instructed passengers to queue to board the plane, but while everybody was waiting, easyJet cancelled the flight. As another 13 flights had been cancelled already that day, staff stated that they did not have the capacity to assist them in booking another flight.
The friends were given a piece of paper stating that whatever they spent to get to their intended destination would be reimbursed. It later transpired that they had to fight tooth and nail with easyJet to receive any cost back.
A Frenzy To Rearrange Flights
Hugely disappointed that their holiday was a catastrophe before even taking off, Margaux and her friends had to think fast about the next steps. It quickly became clear that they were priced out of direct flights to Venice, as the cancellations had caused fares to skyrocket to well over £1,000 each. Struggling, they sought advice and financial help from Margaux’s dad, a regular business traveller, who found an indirect flight to Venice via Amsterdam with KLM.
However, the new flight didn’t take off until the next evening, 28th July. They were all desperate to leave the airport by this point, but had to wait even longer to receive their luggage and bikes. By the time they left Gatwick, it was midnight. They travelled way back to Margaux’s flat in central London, which cost them an extra £85 as they had to get a taxi big enough to fit all of their bikes.
I called and I called… sometimes I was put on hold for three hours. When I finally got through, they fobbed me off with an excuse about a delay.
The next day, they made the long journey via train up to Newcastle, which amassed yet more costs – a huge £508 between them. This time, they travelled without their bikes, a major inconvenience for them, as their KLM flight would have cost even more if their bikes had been stowed.
Fleeting Visit To Venice
When the party of four finally arrived in Venice, it was a whole day later than planned. Exhausted, they went to bed as soon as they arrived at their apartment. But, keen not to waste any time in The Floating City, they set their alarms the next morning before 6am, to take in the sights before their journey to the Dolomites.
They missed a night’s stay at the Air Bnb that they had paid £133 for – but it later transpired that easyJet wasn’t true to their word, and refused to refund the wasted night’s stay.
Margaux says, “We were gutted to miss out on the opportunity to properly explore Venice, as that was supposed to be one of the main highlights of our trip. easyJet completely derailed our whole schedule.”
Radio Silence From EasyJet
After easyJet’s promise to refund all passengers for the extra cost incurred in getting to Venice, Margaux submitted all receipts that they had diligently kept hold of. Margaux says, “They ignored us for the best part of three months. I called and I called… sometimes I was put on hold for three hours. When I finally got through, they fobbed me off with an excuse about a delay. easyJet didn’t pay us back until we had filed a claim with the small claims court. They pretended they had but I never actually got the money in my account until they had received a notice from the courts that we would be pursuing them.”
No Success With The Small Claims Court
Becoming increasingly frustrated, Margaux decided to pursue a claim against easyJet with the Small Claims Court. But this came with its own problems, as it cost £120 to file the claim and as the court date approached, easyJet were difficult once more, refuting the claim which meant that the four would have to physically go to court rather than it being reviewed on paper.
Eventually, they found an indirect flight with KLM from Newcastle Airport instead, which cost a huge £1936 between them.
Due to the stress and extra fees, Margaux cancelled the claim and turned to flight delay compensation experts Bott and Co for help. Margaux says, “The most important thing to us is that easyJet had to pay. Bott and Co helped us ensure that justice was served – airlines always think they can get away from their duties, but not this time.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co says, “We’re delighted to have recovered 250 Euros each for this group. Margaux and her friends amassed huge extra costs through no fault of their own, and their entire trip was thrown into question.
“Under EU Regulation 261/2004, airlines have a duty to put passengers on the next available flight to their intended destination, even if that flight happens to be with a rival airline. But in this instance, the party of four had to travel hundreds of miles by train and experienced unexpected financial pressure. The communications, or lack of communications from easyJet after the flight disruption is sadly all too familiar, and a good example of why we fight for passengers’ rights day in and day out.”
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*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.