I joined Clive Bull as guest expert on LBC’s Consumer Hour last Sunday evening – and complaints about flights and holidays dominated the agenda.
With the school holidays drawing to a close, many callers I spoke with wanted to raise issues they’d had with flights and holidays.
And it’s no surprise the issue dominated a good part of the show: our latest analysis shows 1.3 million passengers had flights delayed by at least 3 hours last year alone.
One caller, who’d been delayed for 18 hours with his family, told me he was being sent round the houses by his airline when trying to claim compensation.
He said he’d followed all the instructions about how to claim on the airline’s website but it kept crashing; then he called up and asked to claim and the airline told him to email them; and then he was told to write a letter to the airline…
This caller’s experience is far from unique – many airlines are failing passengers who are owed compensation – and that’s why we’re calling for automatic compensation from airlines.
In the meantime, we’ve developed a handy step-by-step tool for claiming airline compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
Another listener, who’d flown from London to Toronto for a family wedding, told me her airline had lost her luggage, leaving her with nothing suitable to wear for the event – and although her bag had turned up eventually, she wanted to know if compensation was available for the ‘anxiety and stress’ of the experience.
As it stands, airline compensation covers actual loss only – and, unfortunately for this listener, distress caused isn’t compensated. If you’d like to know more, here’s how to claim compensation for lost luggage.
Another caller wanted to know if passengers can submit claims to both their travel insurance provider and the airline if their flight is delayed or cancelled.
Generally, you’re best to claim first from the airline and then claim for additional costs you’ve incurred because of the delay on your insurance, which are not covered by the airline.
One caller told me about a shocking experience on a flight from Malta to Cyprus.
He said there had been a problem with the plane’s air conditioning that caused a 3.5 hour delay. But he, his family and the other passengers were kept onboard throughout, with no ventilation – ‘the kids were nearly passing out’, he told me.
The caller subsequently wrote to the airline twice complaining but said he’d heard nothing since and wanted to know his rights.
Unfortunately for the caller, because the flight was between non-UK destinations, the delay and the passengers’ treatment aren’t covered by the regulatory body in the UK.
If you’re in this situation, it’s a case of checking your travel insurance to see if you’re covered at all, but otherwise there’s not much more you can do apart from perhaps writing to the airline again.
Alex will be appearing every Sunday evening on LBC between 20:00 and 21:00 to cover these and other consumer issues.