/ Travel & Leisure

How I got compensation for delayed flights…

Tap Portugal plane

Holidaymaker Adrian Thompson tells us how he turned his getaway gripe in to a delayed flight compensation conquest after challenging his airline under the Denied Boarding Regs. Here’s Adrian sharing his story:

I was booked on a TAP Portugal flight to Lisbon that was due to fly out of Newark at 19.25. However, the flight didn’t actually take off until nearly more than seven hours later at 2.40 am.

We were given two vouchers for meals at the TAP desk, but were given no explanation for the delay. We were going to miss our onward connection, so TAP staff booked us on a later flight – but this was also cancelled.

We spent hours waiting around in the airports and in queues to find out what was going on.

Denied Boarding Regulations

I wrote a letter to the airline, using a Which? template letter, pointing out the EU Denied Boarding Regulation 261/2004, and requested 600 euros compensation for my wife and I within the required 14 days.

I sent the letter recorded delivery so I had evidence that they had received it. But after a month, I’d still not heard back.

Which? stepped in after featuring my case study on This is Money and suggested that I could contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) if the airline failed to respond. The team at Which? also contacted TAP Portugal on my behalf.

Persistence pays off in delayed flight compensation

And our persistence has paid off – as I’ve just heard that the airline will compensate us for the delays and missed flights.

Although nearly three months after the holiday, it just goes to show that if enough pressure is brought to bear a result can be obtained.

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Adrian Thompson, a supporter of our Stop the Holiday Hassles campaign. All opinions expressed here are Adrian’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.

LEON says:
11 October 2014

Delay Trigger points query on this article.

We were recently delayed for nearly seven hours on an afternoon flight (Scheduled for 13.35 departure) from Europe due to fog having closed Heathrow earlier in the morning. [Trigger Point 1. Valid airline reason. No compensation due.]

Heathrow operating normally from 12.00 [Trigger Point 2.] Actual flight departure 20.15. Delay from Trigger Point 2 in excess of the Two Hour standard and therefore compensation due.

Does Trigger Point 1 give the airline a valid reason for delay throughout the day or does a new Trigger Point 2 arise when the operational restriction ceases to apply.

We had a delay of around 8 hours in June this year whilst flying from B’ham to Dubrovnick with Monarch. An engine blew up just as we were about to leave the ground, we sat on the runway for an hour and then in the airport where we were eventually given a meal voucher each for £10. No mention of us being allowed to make calls or even info to keep us informed, just a stern keep your eyes on the monitors. We had to make calls to let others know the other end that we would be delayed etc
I made a claim to Monarch who eventually responded by email to say that there was nothing they could do until the appeal is dealt with in the Supreme Court in the case of Ronaldf Huzar v Jet2.Com. They said it would be inappropriate to assess our claim until the appeal is held. They still wouldn’t say what the problem was with the plane, but the staff on the plane we had been taken out on had been told not to say anything to passengers!

Monarch could satisfy your claim if they wanted, they just choose not to. I’ve a similar letter saying the same. Thing is, mine is not a root technical cause but an operational decision that they took to fly the aircraft elsewhere a few hours earlier! It’s a total farce.

Robin says:
29 December 2014

Further to my previous comment, our friends who came with us on the same flight have now received their compensation cheques, I have received an email telling me that they are looking into my claim and that if I persist in emailing them it will clog the system up and if I keep emailing they will have no hesitation in bringing the matter to the attention of the Judge if the matter goes to court!! Bizarre or what? Here’s a little of what they sent.

Please note that this is a further acknowledgement and should be treated as such. We would again like to make any customers aware who may consider issuing legal proceedings for reasons other than their claim becoming time barred under the Limitation Act, that if proceedings are issued we will have no hesitation in bringing this correspondence to the attention of a Judge as it reflects our efforts to communicate with customers proactively whilst working through the high volume of claims requiring action. If proceedings are issued following this acknowledgement, but prior to our full response being provided to you, please be aware that by reason of our commitment to communicate with you we will seek to recoup our legal costs which we will incur from defending such claims.

My luggage went missing on a business trip to Norway via Schiphol. I was told that the luggage would arrive that evening but it was not delivered to the hotel until the following morning.

I felt my concerns were poorly handled and complained to my travel agent, which took up my case and obtained compensation for me.

If I had been treated better I would not have complained, but companies that are unhelpful need to be taught a lesson.

Ian Black says:
19 October 2014

We had a 13 (yes, 13) hour delay on 20th September 2014 at Gatwick when the Small Planet Airbus could not start the port engine after we had been pushed back from the gate at 0555. Our flight was entirely in the EU – Gatwick to Malta, over 2000 KM.
We were all bussed back to the Terminal, and, to cut a long story short received no further accurate information until about 1700.
The plus points – we did receive 2 £6 vouchers each during the delay.
The minus points – a complete absence of Small Planet staff for most of the time, a lack of accurate information, no offers re communications etc., and 20 copies of the complaints procedure for delayed flights among 130 passengers.
I emailed the airline on 25th September – addressed to both Polish and Lithuanian offices (their website carefully omits to tell you who does what) emailed agin using their own customer feedback portal on the 28th, and wrote to them by hard copy (to both offices) on 2nd October. Guess if any of these emails and letters have been acknowledged, let alone answered? No.
So, the next stage is to contact Which, the Civil Aviation Authority (the national Enforcement Authority in the member state) and the BBC who have already reported previously on this airline.
Can you help?

Michelle says:
29 December 2014

I would be grateful for the contact details you used and an update, What a craphole of an airline I was in Malta this day waiting for the plane to get back to the Uk has anyone managed to claim successfully and if you are needing numbers to complain get in touch I’m with you.


Tomson airways
FlightTom5513 24/07/2015 Corfu to Luton

This flight was delayed 21 hr and 35mins. I have confirmation from Thomson ( document collected at luton on return)confirming this delay. The delay was due to mechanical brackdown of their plane.I have sent two registered letters to Tomson claiming for the delay. I have received no contact from them. Can Which help me?

At last found a phone number for their operations team. Their representative confirmed reciept of my letters but also confirmed that it would be 29 days before they would look at my claim ie OCTober. Strange how many emails I have had offering me my next holiday with Tomsons, but not one regarding this flight delay!!

Thanks for keeping us up to date Ross. Let us know how you get on.

Here’s our latest on flight delays: https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/flight-delay-cancellation-refund-compensation-holiday/

And if you don’t have any luck with them, we’ve produced a tool to create a letter you can send, which has been proven to work: https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/flight-delay-cancellation-refund-compensation-holiday/

My neighbour tells me that earlier this year his family of 8 visited Orlando with Virgin. The return flight had a substitute plane smaller than the normal one with the result that 80 passengers had to wait for a later (and apparently pretty awful) Delta flight. However as compensation, without quibble, they were all offered return economy flights to anywhere in the world apart from Australia. So he’s just gone off to visit family in Hong Kong. One restriction – there are only a certain number of “free” seats per flight and almost impossible to get bookings in the school holidays when his daughter and her children wanted to travel. they were able to exchange their tickets for cash. Seems a decent way to treat people. Is this uncommon?

Me and my wife had a 8 hour delay at Manchester airport flying to Bourgas on 14.June.2014 with BH Air.
With the help of Which? we claimed for compensation….BH Air refused to pay.
We then gave our case to the CAA who found in our favour and asked BH Air to compensate us.
BH Air refused to pay.
We were then advised by the CAA to forward our case to the European Consumer Centre who took up our case and also asked BH Air to compensate us.
BH Air refused to pay.
We are now 17 months into our case so we have had no other option but to give our case to a Legal Claims Company (Butterworths).
They are currently in the process of taking legal action.
Watch this space !!

Hi David, did you ever get a reply from BH Air?

On the 2nd October my wife and I had a delay on a JET2.com flight leaving Tenerife bound for East Midlands. The registered total delay was 3hr 51min. I made a claim using a template letter and enclosed copies of tickets and boarding cards. I sent the claim by recorded delivery on the 6th October and to my amazement received a cheque for the equivalent of 800 Euros on the 17th November (6 weeks later) . JET2.com have received a fair amount criticism lately re flight delay payments but in our case their action was faultless. Well done, JET2com !

When a delay of 2hours and 55 minutes made me miss my connecting flight at Lisbon, I contacted the airline (TAP), and had no reply. I thought about using a claim company, but they take a big % of the compensation and don’t do any more than we can do by ourselves. Finally, I used a free company, https://complaint.resolver.co.uk/, who supply the forms with the correct language to use to claim, and very quickly I received both an apology and compensation from TAP.

how long did it take them to respond?
Been waiting for 2 months: delayed flight, broken luggage, and another one delivered 5 days later.

Mike Shergold says:
27 October 2016

Following a 12 hour delay in 2011 for a connecting flight at Helsinki, I contacted the airline on returning to the UK to seek compensation for their lack of communication and procedure during our trip to and from Australia.
Despite two recorded delivery letters (never seen by them) and eventual emails they were unable to assist and responded with a load of off-putting waffle which then saw me contact the CAA for advice.
The CAA then gave me a reference number to this complaint and took note of all the relevant documents , this in September 2014.
The CAA sent regular emails to check if any compensation had been paid and enquired whether I wished the claim to continue, which I did.
They contacted me recently to inform me that the airline had considered our case and was ready to make an offer. The airline then informed me what it was and I agreed to accept it.
This week we returned from a long weekend in Devon to see that the money was in our account, which paid for our break and left enough for another. So well done Which for the article in September 2015 and to the CAA for their efforts in assisting us with our claim. It is a long process, but if you are sure you are right then see it through! MJS Member E015655538.