delayed flight compensation is easy to claim but difficult to get

Ali Hussain, in the Sunday Times (16/8/15), reported that when it comes to delayed flight compensation airlines are altering their terms and conditions for handling customer claims for delays. His headline is ‘Airlines take fright’, as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is threatening to take legal action against airlines that fail to comply with European law (EU261).


Although as you read through his article you may feel that perhaps nothing is changing. The article is as helpful as winning a new kitchen on ‘Bulls Eye’.

As it happens, I am waiting for a claim as listeners to my show would know. It is against Virgin Atlantic for a delayed flight to Antigua back in November 2012.


My case for delayed flight compensation


When the delay happened Virgin was able to claim extraordinary circumstances as it was a fault with the aircraft. The pilot (or representative) said over the tannoy that a part was needed, it wasn’t a dangerous issue and as this part isn’t available on the island we would have to turn back to Gatwick.


As I was seated just behind the wings I got to see the fuel being dumped, which was kind of cool.


When we landed back at Gatwick the crew disappeared. Well they did in cattle class anyway. Upper class may have been different. The part was replaced, but we still couldn’t get back in the air as the crew would now be over hours if they continued on to Antigua, so a replacement shift had to be found.


We finally arrived in Antigua five hours late, tired and also suffering from a severe lack of service. At the time EU261 didn’t apply.


This changed in 2014 with a court case (Allen vs Jet2) when airlines were told that they could not wriggle out of paying out on flight delay claims linked to technical issues. So my claim went in with on 31st August 2014.


I was hoping that they would take the pain out of claiming and get a quick payment. It is nearly a year on, and I haven’t received a bean. Neither has Flight-Delayed as they are on a no win, no fee basis.


The CAA was not very helpful in my claim for delayed flight compensation  


Sure, I have received emails saying what I want to hear, but I’ve also had unhelpful information, notably from the CAA.


Following advice from Flight-Delayed I made contact with the CAA. Unsurprisingly its online contact form didn’t work. The idea was to get the CAA to make contact with Virgin Atlantic to speed them up. No, all I got was a message saying that my claim was valid and that the CAA didn’t get involved.


So much for getting tough on the airlines.


To be honest. I’m not expecting much from the CAA. If they couldn’t get the airlines to sign up to the Atol replacement – Flight Plus – I can’t see them getting them to pay out to passengers like me, who thanks to the EU, are entitled to a few quid.


I’m moving shortly (that’s the plan but the chain isn’t playing ball) and the compensation would come in handy. At least the delay has ensured that I didn’t spend the cash on something else before the move. But the way things are going I may not see any money before I retire…