Last year my partner and I decided to embark on a last minute holiday to Turkey. Whilst Turkey itself was a beautiful country and we had an incredible time. There were however there were certain issues that arose that I was very unhappy with! If you want to ave a little read of what we went through you can read here. Apart from the fire at the hotel our stay was rather pleasant. I obviously spoke too soon as getting back to our little home was a nightmare. If you are unaware of the story our flight was delayed by around 6-7 hours! There were so many issues whilst we were trapped at the airport (I will post a copy of my email below) it was a very stressful situation and it made returning home once we were in the UK a nightmare. Whilst we were at the airport there were many people complaining and talking about flight delay compensation. Well I thought never!
When scrolling through my Twitter all I see if advertised posts for flight delay claims. I never trusted these, its the same with the ‘no win no fee’ peeps. They all seem dodgy and untrustworthy. I also thought I haven’t a cats in hell’s chance on getting anything back from the airline company too. However I was wrong. Earlier this week my partner and I received a cheque for over £600 due to the delay we suffered. This was incredible as it was about the entire price of our holiday. Considering they only compensated us with a £50 off voucher for our hotel being on fire, this was a huge achievement. I wondered if anyone else had actually claimed money back like us and how they went about it, as we were told several things. So here are the key things I think you need to know if claiming flight compensation.
Keep A Record Of The Events That Happened At The Airport (Times, Food, Vouchers, Staff)
Go Straight To Your Holiday Operator (On Their Website There Should Be A Special From For Flight Delays. Fill In Straight Away As Ours Took 6 Months!)
Write A Cool, Calm And Detailed Email (No One Likes An Abuser Or Shouter, Be Polite But Express Your Disappointment.
Wait For Your Response.
I would not advise going to an outside company that specialises in flight delay unless your first claim with the holiday operator is not resolved! I would also not worry about details once you are home. We were told that unless we got a certain number from the stewardess we were unable to claim. Well this is false. There are many people who feel embarassed to complain, however if you are not happy with a service you paid for, you ave every right to take the company up on this matter. Below I have decided to post a copy of my letter to First Choice, and their response. SO in the future if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours dont forget to claim!
I am very sure you are aware of this situation as you had about two hundred angry passengers and I am sure you have heard from some of them. We we due to fly home on 2nd June, our departure time was 16:20. We were picked up from out hotel at 11:55, arriving at the airport around 14:00, allowing us enough time to get our bags checked etc. When we arrived we noticed that none of the check in desks were open, quite confused we wearily made our way to join the huge queue of what seemed to be frustrated and stressed passengers. We overheard a holiday maker coming down the queue saying there was a 6 hour delay on our flight. We could not believe this. We thought these things happen and waited for a Thomson rep to explain the situation to us. She came over and explained something was wrong with the plane, they had to get a new plane, and it had only just left Gatwick, so with a flight time of 4 – 4 1/2 hours, un boarding and boarding the delay was likely to be around 5-6 hours, but they were trying to speed things up for us. She said not to worry and that we would be given McDonalds or Burger King vouchers when we went through security and then again at 5pm and if the delay was any later we would get refreshments every 2 hours. This was definitely not the case.
We were already rather stressed at this point. Baggage check in still wasn’t open the queues were getting longer, we had realised that we were going to miss both our buses to get back home and were going to have to spend the night in Gatwick airport as we did not have enough disposable money to get a hotel in London. We finally checked our bags in and made our way through security (we wished we had never done this) to go grab some food vouchers. To our dismay we could only get food from one place, and we actually had no choice in what food we got. It was hamburgers or nothing. I am not going to lie it was absolutely disgusting, I dont even like hamburgers but we didn’t really have a choice. We got our food at about 15:00 knowing that we would get more refreshments as told at 17:00. This was not the case, once we got our food we were told that is the only refreshments we would be provided with. If we had known that we would not have got our food at this time, we were not going to board until around 21:00, and with a 4 hour flight, and a night in the airport, we were going to be very hungry. The worst thing is there was no one to talk to once we went through security. We were told we would get constant updates about our flight, and we didn’t hear anything. We could see all the passengers boiling up, no one knew when the flight was going to arrive. By 17:30, no one had come to speak to us, we had no update on our flight arrival time, considering we should have been an hour in the air.The atmosphere was very stressful, the air conditioning wasn’t on properly, people were overheating, a couple were extremely worried as they didn’t have enough baby formula, and a woman even went to hospital. It was ridiculous and yet again chaos. I cant believe that a TUI representative could not have come through security escorted to talk to us and reassure us. What made it worse was someone actually found out that the flight has not even left Gatwick yet, we were told it had left when we were checking in, that was 4 hours ago!!!!! I just couldn’t believe the lack of care yet again from Thomson, the lack of care for its customers, who have paid good money to fly with you, the lack of information supplied to us, the lack of responsibility taken, lack of control, just a pure lack of everything. I couldn’t believe that such a decent and reputable company have just left 200 passengers basically stranded at the airport, no information and by this point it had been 4 hours since anyone had even a drink of water, when we were in fact promised another meal. Anger was really building up in the airport at this point and it was not a pleasant environment to be in. Finally someone came to speak with us, his English wasn’t great, and he really didn’t know how to deal with the situation at all. He promised he would sort more food every time saying 5 minutes then disappearing, he promised tea and coffee, that never came. A couple had to bug him for two hours to see whether they could get formula for their baby in which he kept saying we will have burgers for the kids. A man left stranded with four kids as his wife was rushed to hospital due to the situation was left with no contact at all. And the worst thing is they wouldn’t talk to the representatives over security, they actually had to ring England to see what could be done. It wasn’t until 20.00 that we were finally told our flight had actually left and would be ready for departure at 22:40 – we had been told at 2:30 that the plane had already left Gatwick. We were given a poorly made sandwiches and a can of soda but were told that water was only allowed for the children. I mean this is ridiculous, it had been 6 hours since anyone ate or drank water, I mean how can you actually think that this is ok? How can you think leaving 200 passengers for over 6 hours, with one crappy meal and no point of contact is a way to treat your paying customers? I am so appalled by this. Not only this but by the time the flight arrived we were not even offered complimentary drinks or food, I mean this I found absolutely disgusting, that should have been the first thing you did.
Now everyone had a 4 hour flight home, and whatever other journey that had to take. For us this small situation turned into a hellish 2 days. We were stuck, because your flight was delayed, that subsequently meant we missed our last bus to Manchester, we had to spend the night in Gatwick airport, book another two buses, these buses were then delayed. We did not arrive home until Friday 7th June at 19:00!!!!!! We left hotel Julian at 11:55 on Thursday 6th June. Do you know how horrendous those two days were for us. My partner with an eye disease also. We were meant to be home by 5:00 thats an extra 12+ hours added onto our journey thanks to Thomson, and we were not made to feel comfortable, relaxed, we were not hydrated or with full stomachs. In fact we got home so stressed needing another holiday, we were tired,worn and very miserable. Not to mention out of pocket as we had to purchase new tickets to get home. I just cant believe the way we were treated, well not even treated totally un cared for. What I do not understand is why we weren’t just left at our hotel? that flight was suppose to leave around 9am in the morning so they knew in plenty of time. Also why were we told to go through security when we wouldn’t get air for another 9 hours? (so we were out of the way from bugging the reps). Why were we told our flight left when it hadn’t? Why were we promised refreshments and updates and received nothing?