“I lost £880 because Easyjet and Gatwick are fighting over who’s to blame”

easyjet gatwick flight travel chaos

easyjet gatwick flight travel chaos

Passengers are being denied hundreds of pounds in compensation for delayed and canceled flights, caught in a blame game between airlines and airports.

Other customers were ignored and left waiting for months despite making multiple claims in lieu of ruined family vacations and trips of a lifetime.

British airports fell into chaos at the start of the Easter holidays and have yet to recover. Passengers waited hours at airports only to have their flight canceled at the last minute and, in some cases, were stranded abroad. But airlines were not forthcoming with compensation.

Cancellations, charges and fees accounted for 90% of airlines’ refund issues in June and July, according to the Resolver claims website. Nearly 40,000 complaints of this nature were made to the service last year, with more than 600 made in the first three days of this month alone.

But many customers found themselves “caught in the crossfire between airport and airline,” warned Guy Hobbs of Which?.

Hobbs said: “Often, neither party accepts responsibility for delays and cancellations, and passengers lose money owed to them or find themselves pursuing compensation in the courts.”

Easyjet flight Nice France - John Harper/Moment RF

Easyjet flight Nice France – John Harper/Moment RF

In May of this year, Andres Korin, 41, was boarding an easyJet flight to Nice, France, after a three-hour delay at the airport. But as he and his family were lining up at the shuttle, the flight was cancelled.

“People had already boarded the plane and sat down when they canceled it. Nobody got a direct answer from easyJet as to what was going on,” Korin said.

It came 24 hours after a software glitch forced the airline to cancel around 200 flights across the country, for which it encouraged passengers to claim compensation under standard regulations.

The family postponed the holiday and a refund was issued by easyJet along with the payment of £76 compensation to cover the cost of a taxi back from the airport.

But Korin’s claim for damages of £880 – £220 per family member booked on the flight – was denied by easyJet, which blamed the fiasco on an “extraordinary event” beyond its control. The airline said the delay and cancellation were the result of air traffic control issues at Gatwick, for which it was not responsible for paying compensation.

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are sorry that Mr. Korin was canceled due to delays caused by air traffic control restrictions, which led to our crew reaching their maximum safety regulated operating hours.

“While this was out of our control, we would like to apologize to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

But as The Telegraph approached Gatwick airport, a spokesperson said air traffic control restrictions were only in place for flights arriving for two short periods that day.

He added: “The impact on flights was considered low, so it would be surprising if this were the root cause of this canceled flight.”

It’s a stalemate where thousands of passengers are picked up in the middle of each year. Travelers can apply for compensation when a flight is delayed by more than three hours or canceled at short notice, but only if it is caused by an issue within the airline’s control, such as technical issues and aircraft wear and tear.

But in the event of an “extraordinary event” such as safety, natural disasters and air traffic control problems, the airline is absolved of liability and customers are not entitled to compensation.

Frank Brehany, a consumer rights expert, said: “The ‘extraordinary circumstances’ excuse is not designed to provide coverage for any reason – the defense’s purpose is to cover events that cannot be seen or predicted.”

Passengers allege the airlines added insult to injury by ignoring their claims for compensation for months. Korin said she hounded easyJet after 45 days to get a response, despite the company’s terms and conditions stating she would respond within 28 days.

Hobbs said the Civil Aviation Authority, the regulator, needed stronger powers and a new ombudsman was needed to mediate disputes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.