Posts Tagged ‘airlines’
Well, it seems that people have been missing out on billions in compensation for delayed flights, as airline companies defer payouts to passengers who have been held up.
This is according to Sky News, who learned that data is showing 3.27 million passengers travelling to and from UK airports each year might have a potential claim on their hands. And the amount of cash floating around is quite something.
After the European Commission introduced the compensation laws a decade ago, an average claim is around £320, which means, according to Sky’s figures, that €1.4bn a year in compensation might be up for grabs for those who have had flights delayed by 3 or more hours. However, it seems that this has only just come to light thanks to landmark court rulings that have established a clear precedent.
Coby Benson, an aviation lawyer with Bott & Co, said: “The intention of the European Commission is that lawyers should never have been involved in this the first place. It was supposed to be a very easy system for passengers to gain compensation themselves when their flights are cancelled or delayed or they have been denied boarding.”
“It’s just unfortunate that the airlines more often than not make it extremely difficult for passengers to claim compensation and put obstacles in their way.”
In a way similar to getting compensation for train journeys, if your flight isn’t delayed by ”extraordinary circumstances” like really bad weather, terrorism and acts of vandalism, you should be able to claim compensation. According to figures, around 1.5% of flights in-and-out of the UK are delayed for longer than three hours.
How To Get A Refund
There’s an app to help you get a refund or compensation for delayed flights, which outlines your rights and whatnot. You can have a look at that by downloading it here. If you want to write a letter of complaint to an airline, then Which!!! have a template you can use.
Well, things are about to change on that front. No, delayed and cancelled flights aren’t going to become a thing of the past, but rather, your rights surrounding them. There’s been two Supreme Court decisions against Thomson and Jet2, which means we’ll all have improved rights when it comes to getting compensation.
The Supreme Court ruled on two cases relating to the European Denied Boarding Regulation, which sounds boring, but that’s the thing that sorts your right to compensation if your flight gets cancelled or if it is delayed, and with that, the airlines might get their arses in gear and start running a better service for everyone.
In the case ‘Dawson v Thomson’, Thomson denied owing a certain Mr Dawson (no, not that one) compensation because he had waited more than two years after his flight to make a claim. The airline argued that consumers have a two-year window if they want to claim compensation, however, Mr Dawson pointed out that the law gives six years for claims. The Court of Appeal agreed and Thomson don’t have the right to appeal.
The other case – ‘Huzar v Jet2- Mr Huzar’s flight had been delayed thanks to a technical fault with the aircraft. The law says that airlines don’t have to pay compensation if a delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. You’d think that technical problems were a fairly regular occurrence, but Jet2 claimed that technical difficulties constitute “extraordinary circumstances”. That means they don’t have to pay compo to passengers. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed and denied Jet2 the right to appeal.
So now, the law says that travellers have six years to flex their rights in a bid to claim for compensation for a cancellation or delay and there’s not much the airlines can do about it. They might weasel their way out of it somehow, but for now, it is 2-0 to the consumer.
That said, if you’ve but a claim in for some reimbursement, it now might go through, albeit delayed thanks to the airlines now having something of a large backlog of complaints. If you are getting close to six years, then you can send your complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority or the small claims court.
Go get ‘em.
The Icelandic airline WOW air have announced the £99 fare, which includes taxes, which is being offered on a selection of one-way journeys next year.
Passengers can travel from London Gatwick to Boston Logan International Airport from 27 March next year and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport from 4th June.
But there’s a but.
The flights aren’t direct, as there’s a stopover at Keflavík International Airport, in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. Although going to Iceland for an hour or two would be amazing, even if it is just sitting about in their airport.
Additionally, there is a booking fee of £8.98 and it costs a further £39 to check in a bag, so customers are realistically looking at a minimum price of £146.98.
The Boston flight will operate five times a week and the Washington DC one four times.
The employees apparently voted in favour of the plan, after having chats with the unions and that.
Monarch’s chief executive, Andrew Swaffield, said the vote was “a step forward” in the company’s re-organisation.
Mr Swaffield added that there were still “further hurdles to be overcome” but that the company had secured future investments from Greybull.
“This is firm progress for Monarch, its employees and for its customers,” he said.
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), reckoned that pilots had made “major sacrifices to secure the future of this important British company”.
“We welcome the announcement that Greybull are moving towards securing their position as majority shareholders in Monarch,” he said.
“It is now time for the government to engage with all of the parties concerned and do everything it can to make this deal happen and help Monarch survive and thrive.”
The company is having a bit of a reshuffle, and while 900 jobs are possibly at risk – around 30% of their workforce – it was vital for the company as it transforms itself into a low cost effort.
But now, a new hero has emerged who can help us save money on our cheapo flights. His name is Claudio Piga, an economics professor from Keele University, and he’s devoted his life (well, some of it, anyway) to working out what the **** is going on with Ryanair’s ever changing prices.
Once it was thought that if there was an Easterly wind, you could get a return to Barcelona El Prat for £32.99. But if it blew from the West, they were £89.99. However, Piga has found an actual pattern, and has discovered that tickets are cheaper exactly TEN DAYS before your journey.
He also said that fares were bumped up by a shocking 50-75% in the last few days before departure, making last minute ‘bargains’ an impossibility. Planning ahead is a waste of time, too. If you book seven weeks in advance, you’ll pay more.
Of course Ryanair know that you might either want to book your holiday in good time, or do it on a whim at the last minute. But nobody has ever bothered to work out that low cost airline prices form ‘a U-shaped temporal profile.’ Until now.
Piga will present his findings – which are basically scientific proof that Ryanair are rip-off merchants – at the Royal Economic Society in Manchester this week. A Ryanair spokesman, of course, came out and said that the findings were ‘hopelessly inaccurate’ and that they sold tickets on a first come, first served basis.
Hmm. But who is more likely to be telling the truth? A learned professor of economics, or Michael O’Leary?
Virgin Atlantic are going to start charging passengers £25 if they want to reserve their seat in advance, which is nice of them. That’s £25 each way too, which means, if you would like to sit next to your partner there and back, that’s £100 for the pair of you.
This new fee comes into play on the Gatwick to Las Vegas service from April 2014.
This same charge will be introduced on flights to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Australia from the beginning of May and all other flights to absolutely anywhere will get the same charge from June 1.
On the Virgin Atlantic website, they say: “If you already have a seat selected for a flight that departs either before or after 01 April 2014 you will be able to keep it.”
British Airways also charge to reserve a seat and Ryanair and EasyJet moved to an allocated seating system also.
If you want a quick round-up of all the charges you get on flights, the Telegraph have a neat little round-up so you can get yourself the cheapest flights possible. Have a look here.
Ryanair, in an attempt to stop passengers flying with anyone but them, have decided to redraft their random and ludicrous charges.
At the moment, you have to pay £25 if you have a passing thought about carrying a handbag, and £75 if you forget to bring a crumpled boarding pass, wrenched from the jaws of your Nan’s bubblejet printer.
So instead of charging you for things like breathing, eating and existing – Ryanair are relaxing things a bit. The cost of checking in a bag will be halved to a (still astronomical) £30.
The cost of reprinting a boarding card used to be £70 (because they obviously use a vintage letterpress from the 1860s, operated by artisan craftspeople) but now they’ll charge a more reasonable £15. Oh, and if you happen to be a human being and make a spelling mistake on your booking, GENEROUS Ryanair is giving you a 24 period of grace to correct it, rather than charging you an astonishing £160 to change booking details at the airport.
However, these reduced charges only apply to passengers who check in at the airport, and not online. So in order to take full advantage you’ll have to queue for 3 hours.
Hurray for Ryanair – always putting customers first!
Oh dear, what can the matter be? Well, one poor lady got trapped in the lavatory – during take-off on a BA flight from Amsterdam to Gatwick.
The plane was delayed by half an hour, but cabin crew were rushing around like BA flies, and the plane apparently moved away from the stand while passengers were still struggling to put their bags in the overhead lockers.
The woman, in her 20s, emerged from the toilet just as the plane started to speed down the runway and was screamed at by a steward to get back inside, where she doubtlessly spent a rather hairy few minutes with her face squished against the soap dispenser.
One passenger said: ‘I heard other passengers saying that there was not a spare seat on the flight, so I don’t know how the flight crew didn’t realise that the girl was missing as she had an aisle seat. The crew were sat right next to the plane toilet, but obviously in their rush to depart didn’t check it.’
The girl was eventually allowed out of the toilet when the seatbelt signs went off, and was given a dressing down by staff, who told her it was ‘extremely dangerous.’
Of course it couldn’t also be a case of someone not doing their job properly and making sure everyone was in their seats. No, it couldn’t possibly be that.
With that, Airbus has called on the rest of the aviation industry to set a minimum seat width of 18 inches for long-haul aircraft, saying that rivals were “eroding passenger comfort” with their piddlingly narrow chairs.
This all comes on the back of some research which showed that our sleep quality could be hugely improved it we had slightly wider seats. That’d be chairs, rather than our arses.
Airbus, showing off, already have the 18-inch minimum width in their economy long-haul cabins. If you’re in first or business-class, the seating is even wider. Hopefully, they call it a pâté allowance. They said: ”Other manufacturers are eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths from the 1950s in order to remain competitive.”
So what’s this research all about? Well, it was conducted by Harley Street medical practice The London Sleep Centre. They did tests on a variety of humans looking at brainwaves and eye, abdominal, chest, hip and leg movement.
These tests, handily for Airbus, showed that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53%, compared with the 17-inch standard. Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, of The London Sleep Centre, said: “The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night’s sleep in the 18-inch seat.”
Kevin Keniston, Airbus’s head of passenger comfort, said: “If the aviation industry doesn’t take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond, especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service. Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards.”
Michael O’Leary just spat his coffee all over his desk.
Flying with a budget airline – with their ridiculous baggage restrictions, overpriced cups of tea and no legroom – can be hell if you’re on a 2 hour flight to Magaluf. But now Norwegian airlines are introducing cut-price transatlantic flights to New York and LA, starting from just £149 one way.
The long haul flights, which are due to start in July next year from Gatwick, will be the first budget US flights since Freddie Laker’s short lived Skytrain service in the 80s. Norwegian already operate 25 routes out of Gatwick, mostly to Europe, but have seen such demand for cheap US flights that they’ve now acquired a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to do the job. And Gatwick is VERY excited about it.
‘This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwick’s change of ownership four years ago.’ said Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate. ‘Norwegian’s decision to operate high quality services on new long range aircraft offering good-value fares to the US from London Gatwick is a significant industry game-changer.’
Obviously, this is going to pave the way for other budget airlines to cash in on the New York route. Wherever there’s cash to be made and crap to be peddled, Ryanair are already on the case, with Michael O’Leary talking about launching ‘ten buck’ flights to America.
Flights to New York for £6.30? Just make sure you pack everything you own in a very small bag that fits under your seat – and pray for your soul.
In the latest Let’s Humiliate People Too Large To Fit Into Plane Seats news, a 37 stone man was told to buy 2 airline seats because he couldn’t fit into one. So they gave him one seat in Row 17 and one in Row 19. OUCH.
Les Price, 43, booked a flight home to South Wales from Ireland in advance, and discovered the error when he boarded the plane. To add to the embarrassment, he had to continually explain to airline staff that he’d had to book 2 tickets because he was over the airline’s 20 stone weight limit.
‘When I got to the airport I had to explain to all the staff why I had two tickets,’ he said. ‘They didn’t have a clue. When I finally got on the plane one was an aisle seat and the other was by the window – in a three-seat row.’
Mr Price became obese after injuring his back, then turned to comfort eating after the untimely death of his wife from cancer. So this will make him feel even better. Well done, unnamed airline!
Well according to Which!, the answer depends on which country you intend visiting.
As the summer holidays kick off in England and Wales, our dear friends at Which!! surveyed a load of people as part of their airline review (the results of which are only available to paid subscribers) and have compiled ranking lists of both short- and long-haul airlines. They collected 5,622 responses relating to short haul flights and 3,430 responses relating to long haul flights, and airlines were rated on things like the check-in and boarding process, seat comfort, cabin temperature, as well as overall value for money. Each airline ranked had at least 30 responses.
But never fear, Which!!! have released details of the top, and bottom, performers to some of the most popular holiday destinations for UK travellers- and the results show that different airlines perform better for different destinations. There is, however, less variation in the lowest performers.
So here is the list of best and worst performers, as rated by Which!!!! members, for eight holiday spots. From British Airways’ good showing, it suggests that, higher prices might also equal a better experience, but not in all cases, as Jet2.com and Thomson Airways prove.
1 Some flights require a change at Istanbul
2 Some flights are shared with British Airways. Also, Ryanair do not fly to the US.
Samoans are not known for their Kate Moss-esque physiques, so Samoa Air have become the first airline in the world to offer its chunky citizens XL seats, which can accommodate passengers who weigh more than 20 stone. And in Samoa, that’s just about everyone.
Apparently Samoans are heavy due to genetics and over consumption of root vegetables (yeah, RIGHT) with 80% of the population classified as obese. Samoa Air – who have been operating a small fleet of groaning, sputtering ‘light’ aircraft in Samoa for only a year -have already introduced a pay by weight system, which calculated fares based on how many er…root vegetables passengers had consumed.
But rather than shaming bigger passengers, Chris Langton, CEO of Samoa Air, seemed understanding about their predicament.
‘We don’t have a large fleet of aeroplanes, but we wanted to do something that recognised that we are thinking about this. The airline industry is going to have to do that – we’re going to have to provide a range of seats categorised in terms of weight and maybe some other indexes like height.’
So will Samoa Air be the benchmark for other airlines transporting large folks in the sky? Will we see extra wide seating and belly room? Or will we continue to ignore the problem and laugh as the fatties have to be extracted from their seats by the fire brigade?
When the news broke regarding the idea of pay-as-you-weigh flights, everyone laughed it off, made some lazy jokes and told sneering anecdotes about tubby people on planes.
No-one really thought that an airline would be daft enough to try it out in the real world.
However, Samoa Air are going to actually do it and become the world’s first airline to implement “pay as you weigh” tariffs.
“This is the fairest way of travelling,” said chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton. “There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.”
“When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia],” he said. “That’s a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight.”
This new system will see Samoa Air passengers being asked to input their weight and the weight of their baggage when online booking. You’ll be charged $1 per kg on short flights and around $4.16 per kg for longer distances. Anyone thinking they can flatter themselves in a bid to get cheaper flights will be met with a set of scales at the airport.
Mr Langton said he believed it to be a system of the future, adding that “the standard width and pitch of seats are changing as people are getting a bit bigger, wider and taller than they were 40 to 50 years ago” and that “a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids … can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before.”
You have to wonder what this means for people who are really tall. Will they be penalised in the face of small thin people getting cheaper deals? Will people’s BMI index ratings come into play? It is more likely that airlines couldn’t give a toss and will apply a blanket rule and coin it in whichever way they can. Either way, it isn’t likely to see people going on crash diets to get cheaper flights, but it’ll be interesting to see if this model works into other businesses.
When you fly, it often feels like you’re about as appreciated and loved as a discarded Ryanair scratchcard. Your bags are left in Switzerland, and if you want a refund because they’ve cancelled your flight, airlines can get frostier than a wing tip at 35000 feet.
There’s already an EU directive catchily called ‘EU261’, which means that airlines have to refund cancelled flights, but often they like not to tell you about that, and let you go through the courts for compensation instead.
But thanks to new reforms proposed by the European parliament in Brussels, airlines are now going to have to behave themselves and put their bad attitude in the overhead locker.
From 2014, when the laws come into effect, airlines must book you on a rival carrier if they can’t take you to your destination within 12 hours. They also have to put you up in a hotel for a maximum of 3 days if you’re stranded. And if everything goes tits up on the tarmac, airline staff will have to give you water, put on air conditioning and open the bogs. In addition, they’ll be obliged to tell you what the hell is going on 30 mins before your flight is cancelled.
So, basically, airlines might start treating us like human beings, rather than irritating wasps with suitcases on wheels. Hurray!