John Sutton, 71, was due to fly to Goa, India, alone to celebrate his birthday but the plane was diverted to Mumbai, causing John to arrive in Goa 33 hours later and in a lot of pain.
The initial delay was due to adverse weather conditions, despite these clearing within two hours of his scheduled departure. Passengers were then diverted to Mumbai due to the cabin crew going over their allocated working hours. Once in Mumbai, John faced an agonising wait without his luggage.
TUI offered John £111 for the inconvenience and disruption caused, half the amount he’s entitled to under EU Regulation 261/2004, which he did not accept.
John said: “For a lone and elderly traveller, the experience caused me great anxiety and stress.”
Anxious About Travelling Alone
After the death of his wife, John made the brave decision to travel to Goa on his own on 22 February 2018 so that he could spend his birthday abroad. He boarded the flight at Manchester Airport and departed on-time, but that was the most punctual part of the trip…
John describes how things took a turn for the worse: “We flew overnight and were due to land in Goa at 6.30am but with 45 minutes left the pilot announced that landing had been aborted due to mist and fog.
For a lone and elderly traveller, the experience caused me great anxiety, stress and pain from standing up for hours without any assistance.
We sat on the plane while it circled airborne before being told we were being diverted to Mumbai for refuelling, despite the adverse weather clearing up in that time. When we landed in Mumbai, we were kept on the plane for hours without being offered food or refreshments.”
One Thing After Another
The passengers were told that refuelling had been successful but as the crew had gone over their allocated working hours, the flight had been cancelled and would not be going to Goa that day.
“We were offloaded and sent to stand in a small corridor inside the airport. There was nowhere to sit and as time went on, the pain in my legs got worse and I was struggling on my feet.
For a lone and elderly traveller, the experience caused me great anxiety, stress and pain from standing up for hours without any assistance.”
Passengers were eventually told that they would be going to a hotel overnight without their luggage and weren’t offered any food or water apart from small snacks that they had to buy themselves.
“TUI gave me a new flight time of 6.45am the following morning but I was told by one of the other passengers who received a text message from TUI that it had been changed yet again.
It was not a good experience, especially my first time travelling abroad without my wife. It was one thing after another during the delay and seems they continue to fob me off even now I’m home.
I arrived in Goa 33 hours later than planned and it was then that I was reunited with my luggage. My legs were sore due to the endless standing in Mumbai airport and I had been without proper food since 9am the morning of my flight from Manchester.
It’s difficult enough being a lone traveller, especially without the company of my wife, but in this situation I didn’t get any information from the TUI staff which made it unbearable. It was just by word of mouth I got to find things out from other passengers.”
Claiming Compensation Should Have Been Straightforward
John made a claim for compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004 but was told by TUI that the diversion was due to adverse weather conditions, despite these clearing within two hours of his scheduled departure of 3.40pm.
If a flight is affected due to bad weather, as a priority the airline should re-route passengers at the earliest opportunity, on any available airline.
“Their excuse didn’t explain the crew going out of their allocated working hours and why they didn’t have another crew ready to take over. It also doesn’t explain why the new flight time was then delayed further.”
The airline told John to pursue a claim through his holiday insurance if he was covered.
“I continued to contact TUI several times for compensation and to highlight their lack of care and assistance. They eventually offered me £111 for the inconvenience and disruption caused.”
John chose not to accept this as he knew it was half the amount he’s entitled to under EU Regulation 261/2004. He enlisted Bott and Co’s help to recover what he’s legally entitled to in full after reading about the firm online.
The airline has continued to reject the claim and so Bott and Co has issued court proceedings against TUI.
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “Under EU Regulation 261/2004, if a flight is affected due to bad weather, as a priority the airline should re-route passengers at the earliest opportunity, on any available airline. In John’s case, TUI should have made every effort to get him on one of the earlier flights.
They then offered him £111, knowing this is less than he is entitled to under the regulation. We’ve now issued court proceedings against TUI on John’s behalf after they continue to not follow their obligation to pay compensation.”
John said: “It was not a good experience, especially my first time travelling abroad without my wife. TUI didn’t care about health or anybody else’s and left us standing in a corridor for hours without seats. It was one thing after another during the delay and seems they continue to fob me off even now I’m home. I’m glad I’ve got Bott and Co fighting my case for me otherwise I would have been forced to give up a long time ago.”