Bott and Co recovers £818.78 flight delay compensation from Thomson for Manchester couple who were delayed and refused compensation by the airline even after court ruled in their favour.
Elaine Holdaway and her husband Nicholas were travelling home to Manchester from a relaxing two week holiday in Dubrovnik on 1st June 2014.
“We were particularly looking forward to the holiday because the Christmas before we had to cut our trip in Australia short due to my father falling ill. Once my father had regained health and had an operation, we decided to book a two week holiday!
“When we got to the airport and checked in no one said there was any delay because at that time there wasn’t.
“After waiting a while, my husband who has had a career positioned within the aviation industry, was checking the flight on the flight radar online and saw it was late but on its way, so we thought there was only going to be a short delay.”
After a few hours we could see the runway and the plane hadn’t landed so we couldn’t work out what was happening.
The couple’s plane was supposed to depart Dubrovnik at 10.55am but with no sign of the plane and no airline representatives around, they approached the information desk for answers.
“The staff at the information desk told us that the plane had left Manchester late due to bad weather and we weren’t given any further information but to keep going back to the desk every 10 to 15 minutes. Eventually they said there was going to be a further three hour delay.
“We checked the weather back in Manchester and it was showing as clear. We later found out that the plane had actually left Manchester late due to baggage handling and encountered bad weather just before arriving in Dubrovnik and had diverted to Split until it was clear.”
We weren’t kept informed and provided absolutely no food or drink vouchers.
“There was no information about our passenger rights displayed around the airport and we hadn’t been offered any food or drink, I went to the desk and said they were obliged to provide us with a refreshment voucher but I was told there would be nothing!
“The airport staff tried to cut corners.”
“They changed the delay time to 2 hours and 55 minutes although we’d been waiting much longer than that. They must have known a delay of three hours is claimable and wanted to steer people away from claiming.”
Thomson adamant delay was extraordinary circumstance…
“The initial letter to the airline was sent off and we got a standard fob off response saying that they would write to us within 28 days. Thomson eventually replied saying that due to our delay being caused by extraordinary circumstances, our claim was invalid.
“We wrote back explaining it wasn’t caused by an extraordinary circumstance as delays caused by baggage handling are indeed claimable. They responded explaining that baggage handlers are not employed by them and continued to defend the claim.”
Elaine and Nicholas had no other choice than to go to the CAA. “The CAA said they agreed with us in principle and our delay does appear to fall within the regulation however because the flight originated in another European country, we have to get the ruling from their national enforcement body.
“We contacted the Croatian national enforcement body and their solicitor dealt with us. It was very difficult. They then contacted the airline and gave them a certain amount of time to respond.
“It took the airline nine months to respond. In the end we got the ruling and they ruled in our favour. We thought great, we’ve now got the ruling. They contacted Thomson telling them to pay us. Thomson wrote back and said they didn’t agree and they won’t pay. The law is beyond them.”
Issuing court proceedings against the wrong department
In a last ditch attempt at recovering the compensation they were entitled to, the couple issued court proceedings at the small claims court, which was denied as all the correspondence was made to the Thomson after care department instead of Thomson Airlines. They had sued the wrong department.
“We tried to get advice from the court and re-did all the paperwork. Then we got a letter back explaining our case was about to run out of time. They threw out our claim as they said they didn’t receive our letters when it turned out that they had lost them. After two years we had lost the will to live and got told to start again.
“I saw on the Martin Lewis website that Bott and Co was mentioned so I called up and gave all the relevant paperwork over and our claim was settled.
“Bott and Co has been very good. We always knew our delay was claimable and Bott and Co did too! They helped us recover the money we were entitled to from Thomson under the regulation.”
*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.