Bott and Co has helped a couple from Norfolk secure £700 in flight compensation from TUI after their flight from Tenerife South Airport to Norwich Airport was delayed. The couple were left stranded for over eight hours with no information about when they would be on their way home.
Anne and Derek Plackett were left feeling cheated after being told by TUI representatives at the time of the delay that they could claim flight compensation but were refused when they got home. After writing to the airline three times, citing relevant legally binding cases and being ignored, the couple were forced to turn to Bott and Co.
We took on the case believing that the couple had an eligible claim under EU Regulation 261/2004 for crew sickness, and that the airline should have had contingency plans in place to minimise the inconvenience to passengers in these circumstances. The firm took the case to court on behalf of the couple and a judge ordered TUI to pay compensation.
Arriving to the news of a delay
Anne and Derek had enjoyed a sunny holiday in Tenerife, but when they arrived at the airport on 9 March 2018 to fly home, they were met with the news that their pilot had taken ill.
Anne describes the events that followed: “We got to the airport early and were told by a TUI rep that our pilot ‘had the vomits’. They said we were to check-in and wait on the other side so we presumed they would sort a replacement fairly quickly.
Living in Norfolk, it’s nice to get away to warmer weather in the winter months and flights from our local airport go to Tenerife. The holiday had been very pleasant and enjoyable up until arriving at the airport to fly back.
On the other side of check-in we weren’t kept informed by TUI and there were groups of very irate passengers trying to get information from the airline staff who were not at all very forthcoming. The information board continued to say ‘delayed’ but there was no indication of how long we would be waiting.”
Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers must be provided with food and drink vouchers if delayed for over three hours (For flights between 1,500km-3,500km in distance). After waiting for hours, Anne and Derek along with their fellow passengers tried to get the obligatory care and assistance.
We harangued the TUI representatives to give us food vouchers and we eventually got what we were entitled to. We should have been given these straight away without having to ask.”
No contingency plans in place
We were fairly indignant because the airport was so overcrowded and we really felt that TUI should have contingency plans in place. An airline of their size should have a local supply crew on standby so that the inconvenience could be managed for passengers.”
It reached eight hours and TUI eventually got another crew, but passengers were kept waiting longer for a new departure slot.
Given false hope for compensation
“It put a dampener on the whole holiday and the experience was so stressful. When we eventually got on the plane, the flight attendant told us that we will get significant compensation for the delay.
When we landed in Norfolk, we were given forms with information detailing the reason for the disruption and how to claim compensation for the delay. Taking that advice, we wrote to TUI and presumed it would be a straight-forward process to get what we were entitled to.”
Existing laws ineffective in the fight for compensation
The couple’s claim was initially rejected by TUI citing extraordinary circumstances, despite there being a ruling in place allowing for passengers to claim for flight delays and cancellations caused by crew sickness.
“When the claim was initially rejected, I wrote again detailing the laws that airlines should get a standby crew or be prepared to pay legitimate compensation because it stemmed from an event that was inherent to the activity of an air carrier.”
In the Plackett’s case, TUI refused compensation citing extraordinary circumstances and so Bott and Co took legal action against them, taking it all the way to court after the airline continued to deny the couple compensation. This shows that in some cases, persistence is what’s needed in order for passengers to get what they’re legally entitled to.
Having ran a special needs provision in a school, Anne described how they couldn’t just shut if a teacher became sick.
“I believe TUI should not be absolved of liability. In any industry you need to make arrangements for these situations, the industry can’t grind to a halt.
I was adamant on getting compensation as the disruption could have been avoided or limited. I wrote to TUI a further two times and sent emails to the CEO but I didn’t have the courtesy of a response.”
Solicitor intervention was needed for TUI to pay out
“I reached a point where I felt I couldn’t go any further having already spent my time putting together detailed letters when I had other things I could have been doing. TUI was so quick to deny us compensation and I believe they should not be absolved of liability.”
Having reached a brick wall, Anne looked into her options of how she could take the matter further.
“I looked in great detail to find a solicitor that could help me and Bott and Co came highly recommended by Martin Lewis and other passengers online.”
The Placketts approached the flight delay compensation team at Bott and Co who accepted their claim on the basis that crew sickness is claimable under EU Regulation 261/2004.
I was grateful to have Bott and Co there to help me. I had read so many articles online of how airlines including TUI fob passengers off and try to duck out of paying eligible compensation and I couldn’t continue fighting for it on my own.
TUI continued to deny the couple compensation and so the firm issued court proceedings. In April 2019, a judge at Luton County Court ruled in their favour and ordered TUI to pay them £352 each in compensation.
Anne said: “I was grateful to have Bott and Co there to help me. I had read so many articles online of how airlines including TUI fob passengers off and try to duck out of paying eligible compensation and I couldn’t continue fighting for it on my own.
Shortly after I instructed Bott and Co, I read an article online where TUI said that it’s far better for passengers to go through them for compensation than to use third parties. They said they would rather pay passengers direct than put them out and have them suffer solicitors taking a cut of the compensation. I thought it was rather ironic as they don’t do what they claim to do.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “passengers who’ve suffered a flight delay or cancellation due to crew sickness are likely to have an eligible claim should it meet the other qualifying criteria under EU Regulation 261/2004.
In the Plackett’s case, TUI refused compensation citing extraordinary circumstances and so Bott and Co took legal action against them, taking it all the way to court after the airline continued to deny the couple compensation. This shows that in some cases, persistence is what’s needed in order for passengers to get what they’re legally entitled to.”
“Getting compensation made up for the awful experience we had to endure at Tenerife airport and we used the money on a family holiday with our daughter. Bott and Co provided an excellent service and kept us informed at every stage of the process” Anne said.
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*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.