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Husband gets flight compensation, yet wife’s claim is refused
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Husband gets flight compensation, yet wife’s claim is refused

A recent flight delay compensation case has highlighted the absurdities of the current system and, frankly, the reluctance of airlines to fall in line with EU regulations.

If you think you’ve got grounds for compensation over problems you had with a flight, read on to discover how hard it can be to extract compensation from airlines and what you can do about it.

This case was eventually resolved after the intervention of the FT’s Money Mentor column and involved two couples who were delayed on a BA flight from New York to London, to the extent that they were put up in hotel rooms overnight.

Compensation claim

After they returned, the four put in claims up to the maximum £520 under EU regulations.

Strangely only one of the four customers, a Mr Stretch, received any money, £507.89 compensation and £165 towards expenses paid out-of-pocket. The claims put in by the other couple and Mr Stretch’s wife were all rejected, citing “extraordinary circumstances” because of a missing part on the plane.

Mystified by this, all four continued to press but in the wife’s case, the airline stopped responding. Mounting a campaign on Twitter only got the airline to suggest that Mr Stretch’s wife claim through the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, which would cost £25 if the claim was rejected by the CEDR.

Bizarrely, the other husband’s claim was then accepted, with £520 offered, but his wife’s refused. Around the same time, Mr Stretch contacted FT Money to ask about the way airlines were interpreting the compensation regulations.

Enter FT Money

The FT took up the case and within hours of contacting the airline’s press office both wives received emails apologising for the previous responses and confirming that they were due compensation.

Suspicious that gender discrimination was being exercised, the FT pressed BA as to how this could happen. The response indicated that effectively it hinged on individual decisions by customer service agents as to whether claims were accepted or not.

Frustratingly there were no further details as to how, when one person is compensated and another in identical circumstances refused, that anomaly couldn’t have been sorted out by a supervisor or a manager.

What can be done?

The are a number of key points here. The first is that many airlines will try anything to get out of paying compensation.

The second is that inconvenienced passengers should not accept first rejection and carry on pressing if they believe they have a valid claim.

The third is that it really helps if you have a knowledgeable third party to help you press your claim.

Flights compensation

We can be that knowledgeable third party for you – a dedicated team of claims handlers backed by expert lawyers who can push airlines on your behalf.

Just contact FlightsCompensation.uk. We’ll check through the warren of regulations for you to see if you can claim, then put it all together. Let us deal with the airlines for you.

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