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Tag Archives: Air Passenger Rights

Passengers win compensation from Emirates on the court of law

I’ve got this Press Release yesterday. I don’t usually publish passenger-related stories. Nevertheless, I found this story interesting and very informative.

Passengers win compensation from Emirates for marathon flight delay following two-year battle

 

  • Passengers on Emirates flight endured 23-hour flight delay
  • Airline tried to exploit ‘extraordinary circumstance’ loophole
  • Two-year battle for compensation
  • Case study in how airlines try to avoid compensation pay-outs

 

POTSDAM, Germany and PALO ALTO, Calif. – 28 April, 2016 – The process of claiming compensation for flight delays is not for the faint-hearted, as two Australian passengers have discovered. When Brett and Lisa Smith’s flight from Milan to New York was delayed more than 23 hours, they thought that their case for compensation under European Union legislation would be a simple matter. They were wrong.

 

Under EU 261/2004 compensation rules, passengers whose flight is cancelled or arrives more than three hours late can claim up to €600 (£473) depending on the distance of the flight. The compensation rules apply to flights departing from any EU airport (including Iceland, Norway or Switzerland) or arriving in the EU with an EU carrier.

 

The couple, booked on flight EK 205 from Milan Malpensa to New York (JFK) in April, 2014 experienced a long ‘creeping delay’. After check-in, they were advised the flight would be delayed by three hours or so. After finally boarding, passengers were told that the engine technical issue could not be fixed after all, and a part needed to be flown in from Dubai the following day.

 

Passengers were deplaned, returned through immigration, collected their bags, and transported to a hotel. Nearly 24 hours later, the exhausted passengers were finally on their way to New York.                         

 

The couple lost a day of their holiday, along with the cost of one night’s hotel accommodation, theatre tickets and dinner reservation, all of which was pre-booked, pre-paid, and non-refundable.

 

Ignoring the rules

 

Airlines are expected to inform passengers of their right to compensation in the event of lengthy delays. An estimated 11 million people per year in Europe alone are eligible to claim for €6 billion in compensation for flight disruptions under European Union (EC) 261 legislation. At no point during the 23-hour saga were the Smiths advised that they were eligible for compensation.

 

When Mr Smith, a frequent Emirates flyer, later contacted the airline, Emirates rejected the claim. The airline stated that the matter had been investigated by ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, and ENAC had ruled that the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and Emirates was therefore not obliged to pay compensation.

 

When Emirates provided no evidence of either the investigation or ruling, Mr Smith decided to contact the air passenger rights company (name of the company is known to the administrator of this blog) that advocates for travellers.

 

Mr Smith says: “I’m pretty relaxed about delays due to safety issues; these things happen. But I’m surprised and annoyed that the airline claimed there was an investigation and ruling to justify not paying out, when there doesn’t appear to have been either.”

 

‘Extraordinary circumstances’ – what counts?

 

Airlines can only legally sidestep compensation claims if a flight disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond an airline’s control; events that ‘could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken’. These include bad weather, security issues, industrial action, and hidden manufacturing defects.

 

Airlines often try to avoid compensation pay-outs for aircraft technical failures, arguing that this also falls under extraordinary circumstances, but a recent European Court of Justice ruling (Corina van der Lans v KLM) rejected this argument.

 

It took two years, countless emails, forms, document submissions, and ultimately an investigation and ruling from the appropriate local ENAC Directorate to secure full compensation of €600 each for the Smiths.

 

“This case illustrates just how far airlines will go in an attempt to fob off passengers,” says Eve Büchner, Founder and CEO of the air passenger rights company. “The majority of passengers either don’t know their rights, or do not have the time, nerve or money to jump through the endless hurdles airlines put up in an attempt to force passengers to abandon their case.”

 

“It’s absolutely impossible for an individual who has no knowledge of the law and no experience of dealing with the claim process to get compensation,” said Mr Smith­­. “Which, of course, is what the airlines want. The airlines are happy to brush off customers with an array of excuses and push passengers to the point where they are forced to go to court. An impossible situation if you have to travel to another country to do so.”

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Loss of cabin crew

Hello Dragana,

I hope you are having a good day.

I would like to share an interesting fact with you. Please keep the name and source confidential xxx. I am providing you with his name so you know the information I am sharing is credible.

xxx

He stated that in 2014 the company recruited approximately  6000 new cabin crew. By the end of 2014, the total number of cabin crew in the entire cabin crew compliment had only increased by 1800. This is a clear indication of the high turnover and loss of cabin crew from the company. And this is only the figure for cabin crew. Imagine the number of employees that leave each year as a whole. The figures are staggering and are an indication of the poor working conditions and poor management.

No wonder the organisation spends so much time and resources on massive recruitment drives. They can’t maintain their people.

Thanks again.

xxx

Screenshot (237)

 

 

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Hideous treatment of an inadmissible passenger

Since I have promised to publish e-mails of all people seeking for help and support, I have decided to publish an appeal of one passenger who is currently trapped at Dubai International Airport.

On his first letter I’ve responded with my wish that everything will be resolved in the best way for him. But he is still at the airport in, apparently, bad physical condition, so I will publish his story because every human being and every passenger (inadmissible or not) has rights which need to be respected in order for humans to deserve their humane name.

Mr. Edgar was travelling from Europe to Australia via Dubai. He was proclaimed inadmissible in Australia and put on the next flight back to Dubai, where he is stuck now because EK security took his passport in order to make him pay for his return ticket home. Mr. Edgar is living at the airport for couple of days now, he doesn’t have access to his personal documents or his baggage and he doesn’t have the money to pay his return ticket home. Emirates Airline managers don’t want to release him until he pays for his deportation.

As usual, I will put a disclaimer here that I am not responsible for quoted content.  

This is the initial comment that Mr. Edgar wrote on my blog, seeking for help:

My name is Edgar xxx, 31 years old , hungarian citizen. I was on my way to visit Brisbane, Australia on the 7th of december this year, when the whorst nightmare that I could dream of began, without me realizing that… On my arrival, a lady from Immigration stoped me and begun asking me all kind of questions, about my visit in their Country. They probably didn’t like my passport and also didn’t want to believe me when I was telling them that I was actually intending to visit a friend over there and It should have been a surprize…so they decied that they have a surprize for me also: that is Canceling my visa and sending me home the next day.
After I have been kept 8 hours in an interogation room , like some sord of a criminal , they sent me to a deportation facility ,where they keep people, who are about to be sent home to their country. At 9 pm the next day , they sent for me, and they said that ,I will be sent home . Before putting me on the plane ,a lady called “Jo” ,from Emirates Airlines office, from Brisbane , asked me if I have money to pay for the return ticket, to wich I answered that I don’t have enaugh founds. She said, that it’s no problem, they (Emirates)will pay for the ticket anyway. After my arriving to Dubai International , where I should of had a connection later that day to Bucharest, an agent from Emirates picked me up from the Airplane , kept my documents with him in an anvelope and esocrted me to their office ( EK INAD/DEPO HANDLING OFFICE – transfer desk “J” , Dubai International Airport ,Terminal 3). They showed me a bill that I supposed to pay: it was the ticket from Brisbane , untill Dubai. So they lied to me, they were not going to pay for my ticket .
The intresting part of the story starts only now : When I told them, that I cannot pay for the ticket, because I don’t have the money, they said that ,it’s no problem, they will keep me here, they will give me food, and I can LIVE here, untill I pay them the return ticket. And they were saying this very ironicly, with a big wide smile on their face …At the begining I thought that they are just trying to scare me and when they will realize, that I don’t have the money to pay the ticket, they will send me home. But it turnes out, that I was very wrong….two days have passed since I arrived, and practically I’ m living on the terminal ,just like in that movie with Tom hanks ” The Terminal “….people are allready saluting me , staff members I mean, who see me walk around every day…they give me food vouchers 2-3 times a day so I can go and eat at the fast foods from the Terminal ,but except that I’m practically living on my own here . The Hungarian Consul called them and tried to convince them to give me back my passport at least ,so that I can fly home, but they are refusing to do that , wich after everyone’s opinion is against my human rights. How can they retain my passport when they are just a company (Emirates) ,not any kind of autority , like Police , Immigration, etc ….I even tried getting back my passport wit the Police , and even them , cannot do anything ,because legaly they are protected(Emirates)
It seems like ,that I will be living on the Terminal for a long time, because they decided to keep me here, untill I will pay , so considering that I don’t have the money to pay the ticket , I will be living on Dubai International Airport. What’s next ? Me searching for a job on the Terminal ?! …
It is absolutely incredible what is happening to me…even my friends from home said that this is a story, that should make the Evening news…but who cares about one person in such a big Airport, and in such a Famous City….outside these walls, life continues to go on naturally. I wonder what I need to do , so that someone observes my situation and really does something about it ?
Or maybe , I will be spending Christmas together with the staff of Emirates ?… that would be hard to forget right?
I hope my voice , more exactly my words are being red by the right person, someone who still has some human responsability and tryies to make a difference in our society….OR we can just close our eyes, and lift our shoulders , because it’s not our problem…

Sincerly,
Edgar xxx

the moble number of their office (where my case can be checked) is :
+971504534263
their email: ekinadhandling@emirates.com
you will find a photo attached with me and other 6 person with similar problems, who are practically living in EK Office’s waiting room on this Terminal

Edgar's ticket to Brisbane via Dubai.

Edgar’s ticket to Brisbane via Dubai.

I’ve asked Edgar for detailed information and he sent me following two e-mails:

Hi !

well it makes me smile and also a little bit sad,when you say that it’s a little bit science fiction …because I AM  living it right now. I allready made a picture with me and the people stuck in there last night , (even without you asking me to do that …) I will send that to you and also a picture with me in the same place with a paper, wich I have made to your request. I don’t know if it’s today’s paper, because we don’t really live in a hotel right now to get daily paper, but there is one here…so I can do what you asked me to…
Also regarding australia , I had a return ticket booking for the 19th dec, you will find that attached also , and I asked my travel agency to cancel it as soon as I found out that I will be put on next day flight…so that I don’t loose the money for that also, because It would have been with different airline companies. Anyway, this is not about Australia here …it’s about the situation ,here on Dubai Airport….Australia initially demanded that I will be sent home , not to Dubai, but a lady who is manager here at EK Emirates, demanded that ,that I should be sent only this far and force me to pay the ticket….so it’s a very wrong thing that they did and still keep on doing. My embassy contacted this manager yesterday, tried to convince her for half an hour over the phone….and still no result…they are somehow protected by the law and nobody can do anything to get back my passport..not even the police from the airport…it’s incredible…if I would know who tot talk to, I would ask the news ,or reporters to come here , to see what is happening…this is no sci-fiction….this is happening ..right now, right here….
Edgar's e-mail

Edgar’s e-mail

They don’t let me take my stuff out from my bags. This is why I went even to the police , thinking that  they can recover my passport and they really tried….still they couldn’t get back my passport, stating that EK OFFICE is holding my passport legally and no one can do anything about that. And as you mentioned, I refuse to accept that someone can hold on to my passport without me commiting any kind of crime!!

Regarding to your question about why the Immigration refused me to enter Australia, well, believe it or not, I had a Valid visa, I was there 2 months ago and stayed about 3 weeks and after I went back home. So there is no question about it, that I was not intending to immigrate in their country. Also they stated that I have insufficient founds to stay 10 days in their country, because I was not having any cash in my wallet. I have a Mastercard wich I use when I go abroad, so that I don’t have to worry about the exchange currency and me being cheated in any way.

I will not rest untill these people will not pay for what they did and still doing to me as we speak…

Cheers,

Edgar

Edgar's e-mail

Edgar’s e-mail

Edgar's cancelled return tkt.

Edgar’s cancelled return tkt.