Daisy Stephens, now 23, from Watford, Hertfordshire, was separated from her classmates when she and a teacher were told their flight was overbooked at the check-in desk.
EU Regulation 261/2004 allows passengers six years to make an eligible claim against an airline. After being denied and fobbed off by the airline for five years, Daisy decided to instruct Bott and Co in a last-ditch attempt to get compensation before her case reached the six year mark that passengers have to make a flight delay compensation claim.
Daisy was refused compensation many times by the airline, with them even telling her she was late for boarding, when this wasn’t the case. Contrary to what the airline said, she was entitled to compensation as she presented herself for boarding on-time with a valid ticket. Daisy was also surprised to find out that the six years to bring a claim only starts once a claimant turns 18, therefore, she had longer than expected.
Bott and Co managed to secure Daisy, who is now a Content Assistant, 600 euros in compensation within three months of her instructing them with a denied boarding claim.
Daisy said: “After five years of unsuccessfully trying to claim compensation from the airline and having them repeatedly tell me I wasn’t entitled to compensation Bott and Co settled my claim in about three months. They were happy to answer any questions I had and kept me informed at every step of the way. I always knew what the next step was or what the wait was for. I’d highly recommend them.”
After months of fundraising efforts, including sponsored activities and local jobs, eight year 12 sixth form students, including Daisy’s twin sister and a teacher from Rickmansworth School embarked on an Ecuadorian adventure. They were also accompanied by a group leader from Outlook Expeditions.
The group was due to fly from London Heathrow to Madrid where they would catch a connecting flight to Ecuador. The month-long trip was to include voluntary work in local communities and trekking up a volcano.
As a 17 year old, with no previous experience of travelling without my parents, it was very upsetting to be turned away and separated from my fellow classmates and my twin sister who was also part of the group.
“We were faced with huge queues but this didn’t dampen our excitement at the prospect of setting off on an adventure.
There were many different flights all checking in at the same time and it was very chaotic. All of a sudden, there was an announcement for our flight’s last call. We were in a bit of a panic and went to the front of the queue immediately.”
Ten Became Eight At The Check-In Gate
The group felt reassured when they were able to be checked-in as a priority.
“Most of our group had been checked-in and proceeded to go to airport security. Myself and the teacher were the last ones there and were told the flight was full.
Even though I had booked the ticket for the flight months earlier and we were travelling as part of a group, they still split us up and insisted there were no spare seats on the flight.
As a 17 year old, with no previous experience of travelling without my parents, it was very upsetting to be turned away and separated from my fellow classmates and my twin sister who was also part of the group.”
A 24-Hour Wait To Be Reunited With The Group
Daisy and her teacher were hoping to be rerouted in time to still make their connecting flight from Madrid onto Ecuador. They were then told that this wasn’t going to be possible and offered a replacement flight, 24 hours later.
The airline kept saying it was my fault, however if it was my fault why did they put me up in a hotel and arrange my alternative flights, albeit 24 hours later.
“As soon as we heard that our only option was to wait until the next day, we knew we had missed the connection.
It was an expensive trip to miss out on one day, it was very frustrating. By the time we eventually got there, we had to recover from jet lag whereas the others had already recovered. This made the first couple of days tiring and I feel I didn’t get the most out of them.”
Five Year Battle For Compensation
Once back in the UK, Daisy wrote to Iberia to claim compensation for the loss of time and inconvenience brought to her by being denied boarding.
“The real stress started when I got home and wrote to the airline applying for compensation. The airline kept saying it was my fault, however if it was my fault why did they put me up in a hotel and arrange my alternative flights, albeit 24 hours later.”
Thereafter, Daisy contacted the airline and CAA multiple times and then took her complaint to Resolver and even the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Confusion Over Flight Rights
“Over the years, I’ve been told different things. The airline told me I’d have to claim through the tour operator Outlook Expeditions and then when I disputed this, they said it was my fault because I did not arrive at check-in on time. If this was the case, why weren’t the others in our group also denied boarding?
The CAA said they couldn’t help because it was approaching the six year mark and there wasn’t enough time to do anything.
I even spoke to the Citizens Advice Bureau and have been told conflicting things. I got to the point where I was so confused about what my rights were.”
Legal Help With Only Months To Spare
With the six year point just around the corner, Daisy felt like there was nowhere else to go.
“I had previously heard about Bott and Co but felt because the circumstances were out of my control and I had presented myself for boarding with a valid ticket, I wanted to fight for the full amount of compensation direct from Iberia.
When I had exhausted all avenues, I turned to Bott and Co to help in my final effort to claiming compensation. Within three months, they were able to get me the 600 Euros I had been entitled to all along.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “Like so many other passengers, Daisy was passed from pillar to post on her journey to claiming compensation when the law is simple and straightforward enough for airlines to adhere to.
EU Regulation 261/2004 was put in place to protect passengers and compensate them for circumstances that are not ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
“In this case, Daisy and her teacher were refused onto a flight which they both had a valid and paid ticket for and where others were let on who checked in at the same time. We’re delighted to have been able to secure compensation for Daisy as well as letting her know she had more time than she was told.”
Now that the matter has concluded, Daisy said: “It’s irritating to know that all that time I was entitled to compensation and nothing was done. The important thing was that the airline finally paid out, it was worth instructing a law firm and paying their fees.”
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*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.