Superb delaying tactics on behalf of brussels airlines!
Earlier this month I had what was the biggest flight delay of my life, a little over 6 hours. I debated whether to seek compensation from them as. in my mind, I had after all arrived in one piece. Several of my chums said ‘do it’ and after considering how the people on that flight were abandoned in Faro airport I decided that was grounds enough to chase them.
So, i read the rules on their website – more than 5 hours delay, flight distance between 1500 and 3500 kms, start or finish flight in EU – compensation to be paid 400€ – Interestingly, this is exactly as the Civil Aviation Authority suggest it should be – unless the delay was the result of ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’.
Now, I expect this is where it will all go tits up. Define ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’ ! Sometimes I feel bad for the airlines when they get slated for delays due to bad weather, that i think is fair enough – but where do you draw the line? Even more interesting is that the CAA will impose a fine on the airline of 5000 gbp per passenger if they do not issue compensation where they should have but, and it is a very big but – you must approach the Civil Aviation Authority in the country of origin of this flight. Now, under normal circumstances, this would be difficult geographically and also lingually, but for me, with a house in Portugal and a reasonable grasp of the language, I think i will give it a go – so stay up to date with how I progress. Below is the ever so friendly email I sent to their customer services – check out their initial response ‘5 weeks response time’ – customer service my arse.
My initial message on August 16th
I am trying to find out how to claim delay compensation for a flight i took last week. The flight was over 6 hours late due to a fault with the aircraft.
Flight Nº SN 3802
10th August 2011
Between Faro (FAO) and Brussels (BRU)
Miles & More Nº 9920 0150 8310 149
Passenger name – Wayne Maunder
I have asked at the airport this morning but there is apparently no-one here that can help me with this.
Brussels airlines automated response on the same day
Dear Mr. MaunderOur ref. : CR/2011013670
We duly received your comments concerning your flight of 10/08/2011.
We will investigate your claim and have made up a file in your name. Kindly be advised that, at the moment, the handling of a claim can take up to five weeks.
Assuring you of our best attention, we remain.
Then yesterday came the very non committal response
Dear Mr Maunder,
We refer to your email of 16/08/2011 concerning the delay of your flight on 10/08/2011.
We present you our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you were caused on this occasion. We do our utmost to avoid flight cancellations knowing how important our passengers consider on time travel. However, in the process of operating scheduled services over many different route segments each day, occasional mechanical, weather-related and other interruptions to routine performance plans do occur and interfere with the operations of all airlines.
Should you have incurred direct costs (meals, drinks, telephone) due to this delay in your travel, we will of course consider a refund if you send us the original receipts. Please mention the above reference on your correspondence.
b.house – Brussels Airport
Airport building 26 box 1a.4
B – 1831 Diegem
We reiterate our apologies for the unfavourable impression we may have given you on this occasion and hope to be able to welcome you again on board our flights in the future.
So naturally I upped the ante
Sirs – please continue to investigate this case. Your response so far, has not addressed my situation in the slightest nor has it answered any questions, frankly I see it as a delay tactic, hoping that I might just go away.
The plane was delayed, according to the Captain, due to problems re-starting a computer. As far as I am aware, this would not fall into your ‘exemption’ clause to not pay compensation. Also according to the civil aviation authority, they state that the level of compensation for a flight more than 5 hours late over a distance between 1500kms and 3500kms is 400€
I am also aware that should you fail to address my complaint, you as an airline can be fined up to 5000 pounds per claimant.
I would like for you to check again to see if you feel you should be paying compensation for a flight where you left customers sitting for 6 hours on a floor in an airport and gave them little or no information as to their options.
I await your response, and as previously suggested – i find a 5 week response time unacceptable
Of course, I fully expect to get passed around, ignored, fed bullshit and many other things but I am curious to see just how simple the process is to claim compensation as required by EU law. Did you know – there is no customer service desk for Brussels Airlines inside of Brussels airport?