Back in May 2016 we enjoyed (not sure that is the right word) the hospitality of Malaga Airport. Our flight home did not materialise as
scheduled and we were left to wonder if it ever would. Eventually it
turned up but instead of being back in Manchester at 10.25pm we finally
got there at 1.41am the next day.
Once home I investigated the possibility of making a claim for compensation under EU rule 261/2004 by visiting the Martin Lewis website and reading the very detailed information. You can find it here.
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-delays" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" class="break-word">http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-delays
Once I was satisfied I had a claim I decided to make use of the free online reclaim tool, which uses technology from complaints site Resolver. Alternatively, you can use the free template letters – there is a link on the site for these also.
Before you start it is important to gather together as much information as you
can. When we return from holiday we have lots of bits of paper which we
quickly discard and that includes your Boarding Pass - Don’t!!! - You might need them.
Remember your claim is against the airline not the TO - We booked with First Choice but flew with Thomson. At peak times even Thomson have been known to use another airline.
When you finally get on board the plane, having savoured the delights of the
airport lounge, the pilot will make an apology for the delay whilst
there is the mad scramble to find your seats and stow your hand luggage.
It is easy to dismiss this as all you want to do is get in the air but
what he says can make a difference to the successful outcome of any
claim. Listen to him. In our case the explanation given was that the delay was caused by a passenger
being taken ill and the need to unload them and their luggage. If that
is the case then normally you would not have a claim.
There are a variety of reasons that the airline can claim as “Beyond Their Control”
and so reject your claim. In our case the airline eventually put
forward the poorly passenger as the excuse. They were only telling part
of the story. That is why it is important to listen to what the pilot
has to say - The plane had done a flight to the Canaries earlier in the
day and that is where the incident had taken place and therefore was not
a valid reason.
Make a note of times. Arrival is deemed to be the time it arrives at the gate not when it touches down. You can check
this online by going to
http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" class="break-word">http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do
This site is useful for recent flight/claims but it only shows the date for
limited period. Again the link can be found on the Money Saving Expert
site but do read the conditions.
As I have said I used Resolver to process my claim and having completed the template form I submitted
my claim. It creates a unique file for you and advises you when to
expedite the claim. People do get frustrated when submitting claims and
receiving no reply, they then proceed to fire off emails and letters
which only confuses things. Be patient; give the airline a reasonable
amount of time to reply if you are going it alone.
In my case despite following the system .I reached the end of the line with Resolver and was referred to CEDR
https://www.cedr.com/aviation/guidance/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" class="break-word">https://www.cedr.com/aviation/guidance/
The CAA, the UK's airline regulator, has been approving various Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] schemes to take on cases. If your airline has signed up to one it has to tell
you when it rejects your claim but you must go through the process with
the airline before you can use this scheme.
Again the process is easy to use and a telephone call to their help desk will guide you
through the process if you are not sure. In my case the Resolver file ensured everything was in one place.
Once they have reviewed your case they will refer the file to the
Adjudicator. As part of their process they will contact the airline and
give them a chance to reply. There is a timescale to all this and
failure of either party to reply will result in a decision in absence of
As far as the airline is concerned they are bound by the decision of the adjudicator. You could if the adjudicator found againsy
you pursue it through the courts if you were not satisfied.
In my case on Nov 14th I received the ruling in my favour and acknowledged
my acceptance. Just Four hours later I received an email from the
airline rejecting my claim. I contacted CEDR and was asked to forward the rejection email. They then advised me that
as they had already made a ruling in my favour the airline was bound by
The airline was given 20 days to pay up. They didn’t so again I contacted CEDR who chased up the airline. I was then given a contact ay Thomson and
was asked to provide bank details for payment (they have phased out
I was advised that there was a backlog in payments and it eventually arrived in my account on the 27th December. I had started
my claim on 24th May so you do need to be persistent.
One further point – Be brief and factual when putting forward your
submission. Nobody is interested in the problems this caused Aunt Nelly
and her in growing toe nail.
Put yourself in their shoes. What exactly would you want to read if you were reviewing a claim? Just the facts, nothing else.
In my own past dealings with TUI/Thompson/First Choice, I've found them to be extremely unhelpful on slightly more complicated claims for some sort of redress.
Namely last minute change of hotel to one of a lower standard ( which they disputed on their ratings) and the loss of a whole day in the Caribbean when the plane returned to Gatwick ,for what they claimed ,was a burst tyre on takeoff (took them 4 hours in the air to decide to turn round!!) These were both a few years ago now; if it happened again, I would definitely follow your route!!
TOs really are their worst enemy when it comes to complaints. One complaint I had with FC was about reports on Trip Adviser regarding a sickness bug at a hotel. FC positively denied this even though on the page for the hotel on their website it actually showed the TA reports. I wonder if none of them can understand English and have to wait until someone can translate letters of complaint.
Resolver worked for me but then as an old, (or should that be mature?) member of HT I have some experience in the complaint field.
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