Management consultant Tom Henry and his partner Alina, both 32, were left stranded in Romania, £1,000 out of pocket after their Wizz Air flight back to Doncaster, Sheffield was cancelled in January. Three hours before their flight was due to take off from Bucharest Airport, the airline announced it was cancelled, with the airline citing adverse weather conditions as the reason why.
The couple was outraged when Wizz Air offered them replacement flights a whole five days later. There was no explanation given to passengers whatsoever and Tom and Alina couldn’t wait five days due to work commitments. In order to get home, Tom forked out over £1,000 on a British Airways flight back to Sheffield the next day.
Since returning home, the couple has tried to seek compensation from Wizz Air, but been rejected by the airline, so they have instructed Bott and Co solicitors to seek €400 each for them in flight delay compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.
Disorganised Chaos At Bucharest Airport
As more and more time passed after Tom and Alina’s flight was initially due to take off, it was clear that something wasn’t right. Then airline crew disembarking the plane gave cause for more concern.
Tom says, “At first we saw the flight crew getting off the plane and walking past our gate. Then we were told our flight had been cancelled. They didn’t give us any further information.
“It was carnage at the airport – there was a huge horde of people, hundreds of us, all wanting answers. There was nothing resembling a queue. Wizz Air representatives were just trying to get rid of us – we weren’t offered any food or drink vouchers. ”
Mounting Worries And Hundreds Queueing For Answers
With constantly growing queues not resembling any kind of order, the couple’s stress was increasing. They were then instructed to go back to the Departures area. Having done this, Wizz Air staff said that they would arrange a hotel for them, but understandably, all they wanted was to return home for work the next day.
The flight we were offered was five days later – it was absolutely ridiculous.
Tom recalls, “Our main concern was getting home for work. This was six hours after our flight was due to take off. We were amongst everyone clambering towards the front of the airline desk. It quickly became apparent that they were not being put on flights the next day, but five, six or even seven days later.
Wizz Air Offers A Replacement Flight – Five Days Later!
Still refusing to cooperate with the couple’s wishes, Wizz Air said that if they had an issue, they should call the airline’s helpline. But not wishing to be messed around any further after already waiting for such a long time, Tom and Alina thought the best choice would be to book new flights themselves.
“We were so desperate to get home after already waiting six hours that I just booked new flights with British Airways the next day. It cost just over £1000. Wizz Air weren’t interested. All they were bothered about was keeping their own costs down.”
It just wasn’t possible to take extra days off work at short notice. As a management consultant, I would have lost my job if I’d done that, so now of course I’m hugely out of pocket
Tom has been put off travelling with Wizz Air ever again, and says, “I will 100% never fly with Wizz Air again. I had reservations to begin with, but went against my better judgement in booking cheap flights with them. Never again.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Solicitor at Bott and Co says, “Under EU law an airline is obliged to put passengers on the first available replacement flight, and that includes flights operated by rival carriers. In this case Wizz Air has only offered a flight 5 days later, when there was clearly another flight available with British Airways just a day later.
“This breach of EU law means Tom and Alina are entitled to compensation of €400 and also reimbursement of the cost of their replacement flights.”
The Airline Refuses To Provide Compensation
Shortly after finally arriving home, Tom’s partner Alina wrote to Wizz Air requesting flight delay compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004, but they cited “extraordinary circumstances” for the cancellation, meaning they didn’t think they were liable to pay compensation.
The airline tried to blame adverse weather conditions for the unexpected cancellation, but Tom doesn’t believe this, as many other flights were taking off while they were waiting at Bucharest Airport. Wizz Air also failed to give any updates or explanation whatsoever.
Tom says, “Wizz Air said they weren’t obliged to pay consequential losses – but I don’t think getting passengers home can count as ‘consequential’. The onus is on the airline to prove the bad weather conditions.”
After Wizz Air neglected their obligation to pay flight delay compensation, Tom and Alina have come to Bott and Co solicitors to act on their behalf to secure them the reward. The firm has been forced to issue 100,000 court proceedings on behalf of passengers who’ve been refused flight delay compensation by more than 150 airlines since bringing this area of law over to the UK in 2013.