I have this habit when companies screw me over, I tend to do my best to make them pay for what they did. And while I do put way too much of my own time into these somewhat futile claims, I at least feel I am getting my money’s worth, by wasting their time and resources as well. And the perfect example comes with a recent compensation case claim made against Aer Lingus following the cancellation of our flight from Belfast tp London during dodgy weather conditions and the “Beast from the East”. A flight cancellation which resulted in the loss of near $1000.
Rules on Flight Cancellations
Under EU Regulation (261/2004) passengers are entitled to up to €600 in compensation when their flight is either cancelled or lands at the destination more than three hours late. And there was another case (District Court of Berlin ref.54 S 22/13) which granted passengers compensation if they miss a connecting flight due to the first flight was delayed. And this was regardless of whether both flights were operated by the same airline. However, there is the exception, with extraordinary circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, meaning any compensation claim wouldn’t really stand on its own. At the same time, there were many unexplained, and somewhat negligent, actions surrounding the cancellation
So I set out 3 important questions and brought them to Aer Lingus with supporting screen grabs, and photographs, as I followed the events through the day. Outlined here:
- Why was the cancellation notification for EI030 sent to customers at 23:25PM (28/02/2018) the night before?
- Why did a joint Aer Lingus (EI 8319) / BA flight depart in the allocated time slot of the cancelled flight?
- Why did Aer Lingus cancel a significantly higher percentage of flights to/from Belfast and London airports than any other airline?
And they did respond, accepting that there were a“few things you would like me to address” before going on to address none of them. Instead they just waffled on “I am sure you can appreciate the closure of the airport, the cessation of all ground transportation due to these extraordinary circumstances. The blizzard and white out conditions where unparalleled and beyond the control of Aer Lingus”. Which was obviously baloney, considering they replaced our flight with another on the run way.
The Futility of the Claim
So I continued to pursue my unanswered questions, but Guest Relations really don’t make it easy, as each message is treated separately, instead of a string of correspondence and evidence. Meaning I had to search my old emails to create a new email each time. And they just kept brushing me off, first claiming “the airport as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency” were also involved in the decision to cancel a flight. But failed to answer why the other airlines were allowed to operate, including their own operations with BA, but not Aer Lingus? So they were creating more questions, than answers. And then they again passed the buck again to the “Commission for Aviation”. Who could do more than comment on the weather conditions, rather than the internal operations of Aer