Getting nowhere with KLM compensation claim - next step?

Hello. I would really appreciate a little advice regarding a claim that was logged with KLM 3 months ago, before being rejected last week and my case being closed on their online case tracker.

We were due to fly back from Las Vegas to Manchester, via Amsterdam in early July (both flights with KLM) We should have left Vegas 4pm Sunday, overnight to AMS, then AMS to MAN, arriving in MAN late afternoon Monday

We got an email from KLM while we were out in Vegas, 4 days before return date, to advise that the AMS to MAN flight had been cancelled and they were working on an alternative routing. We were subsequently advised that the new routing would be Vegas overnight to Atlanta, departing 11.30pm Sunday, spend all day Monday at Atlanta airport, then another overnight flight from Atlanta to MAN, arriving on Tues morning. This new itinerary was totally unacceptable to us. We would have been physically sick with tiredness with that schedule

We did some research and found a Delta flight leaving Vegas on Monday morning to JFK and an overnight Virgin flight from JFK to MAN arriving Tues morning, i.e. around the same time as KLM’s suggested new routing. In other words, we still arrived well over 12 hours later than originally scheduled, but at least with our routing we got to spend Sunday night in a hotel bed, rather than on a plane.     

By some miracle we managed to contact KLM whilst out in Vegas and they did amend our return flight as per our suggested route. I guess it helped that the new flights were with their Alliance partners.  We then obviously had to pay for an extra night in our hotel.

Upon our return, we put a claim in for €600 x 2 for the delay, $200 for the hotel (supported by invoice) and a small amount for seat reservation fees that we had paid on the 2 legs of the cancelled flights. We didn’t claim any food or incidental costs for our extra day in Vegas.

We received a claim reference number but had no other communication from KLM until a week ago, when we got a short email saying that the cancelled flight was operated by Virgin Atlantic and we should contact Virgin for compensation.  Whilst I am aware of codeshare arrangements, our travel documents received the day before our outgoing flight clearly say that all flights are KLM flight code KLxxxx, operated by KLM, (as opposed to KLxxxx, operated by Virgin).  I have also spoken by phone to Virgin who completely refute they operated the cancelled AMS to MAN flight on that day (or indeed any day on that route).

I’ve emailed KLM with this information, without response do far.

Somebody did suggest going down the court route (£80 fee I think) via Money Claim Onine (MCOL) to get KLM’s attention.  Or to go down the ADR route which may take a good while longer. Also, I’ve just realised that I’ve got a home insurance policy that covers legal fees to engage Solicitors in pursuing claims in relation to contract disputes etc, so that may be another option.

Any advice/suggestions re the best way forward would be welcomed

Thanks in advance.


Comments

  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783
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    Hi, is the information in the following link of any help -

    https://www.aviationadr.org.uk/how-to-complain-about-a-klm-flight/

    I realise that it's something you have already mentioned, going the ADR route - but I do think it would be worth doing, even if it does take some time. Often these things DO take time but are well worth it in the end. As KLM have closed the case then it seems the right time to start action via ADR.

    I wouldn't go down the court route as yet. The ADR form is specifically for KLM complaints so that makes me wonder just what kind of airline are they? 

    I certainly do sympathise with you, you've been treated horrendously. What a terrible ending to your trip. And the fact that you had to research your own flights because KLM's suggestions were ridiculous is something I'd also claim compensation for. That's their job, not yours. I guess you haven't received any apologies either. 

    I do hope you manage to recoup your losses. The ADR route won't cost you anything. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,881
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    Sounds like someone has looked at the new flight information rather than the old KLM details.

    Without wishing to muddy the waters, was the AMS MAN cancellation in July not around the time that Amsterdam Schipol airport put restrictions on airlines and told KLM to cancel multiple flights? If so then I don’t think compensation under EU261 is payable as the cancellation may have been due to extra ordinary reasons. Did they not mention the reason for the short notice charge?

    The other issue around your ‘duty of care’ costs might be that it seems you asked and opted for an alternative rescheduling (to leave a day later) and KLM may view that as this was your choice, whilst happy to accommodate your request, they would not be liable for the extra hotel cost.  If you had taken their suggested LAS ATL MAN route then no extra hotel stay would have been required.
  • Mark__H
    Mark__H Posts: 39
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    edited 24 October 2022 at 9:28AM
    Westin said:
    Sounds like someone has looked at the new flight information rather than the old KLM details.

    Without wishing to muddy the waters, was the AMS MAN cancellation in July not around the time that Amsterdam Schipol airport put restrictions on airlines and told KLM to cancel multiple flights? If so then I don’t think compensation under EU261 is payable as the cancellation may have been due to extra ordinary reasons. Did they not mention the reason for the short notice charge?

    The other issue around your ‘duty of care’ costs might be that it seems you asked and opted for an alternative rescheduling (to leave a day later) and KLM may view that as this was your choice, whilst happy to accommodate your request, they would not be liable for the extra hotel cost.  If you had taken their suggested LAS ATL MAN route then no extra hotel stay would have been required.
    We weren't given a reason for cancellation. There was certainly chaos at Schipol at the time. Our layover in Schipol on our return was originally supposed to be 1.5 hours but our earlier shuttle to Manchester was cancelled a few weeks before departure, so that one may have been down to the restrictions you mention. The revised itinerary gave us a 5.5 hour layover, before that was also cancelled while we were out in Vegas. 
    I take your point re our hotel costs and that did cross my mind. I could not find any guidance on what would constitute a 'reasonable' alternative routing. From our point of view, spending 12 hours in Vegas (after an 11am check out of our hotel), followed by an overnight flight, followed by 13 hours in ATL airport, followed by another overnight flight was unacceptable.    
  • bagand96
    bagand96 Posts: 6,014
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    edited 24 October 2022 at 7:10PM
    MalMonroe said:
    Hi, is the information in the following link of any help -

    https://www.aviationadr.org.uk/how-to-complain-about-a-klm-flight/

    I realise that it's something you have already mentioned, going the ADR route - but I do think it would be worth doing, even if it does take some time. Often these things DO take time but are well worth it in the end. As KLM have closed the case then it seems the right time to start action via ADR.

    I wouldn't go down the court route as yet. The ADR form is specifically for KLM complaints so that makes me wonder just what kind of airline are they? 


    ADR have one of those airline specific pages for all the airlines they handle so I don't think it's a reflection on KLM.


    Mark__H said:
    Westin said:
    Sounds like someone has looked at the new flight information rather than the old KLM details.

    Without wishing to muddy the waters, was the AMS MAN cancellation in July not around the time that Amsterdam Schipol airport put restrictions on airlines and told KLM to cancel multiple flights? If so then I don’t think compensation under EU261 is payable as the cancellation may have been due to extra ordinary reasons. Did they not mention the reason for the short notice charge?

    The other issue around your ‘duty of care’ costs might be that it seems you asked and opted for an alternative rescheduling (to leave a day later) and KLM may view that as this was your choice, whilst happy to accommodate your request, they would not be liable for the extra hotel cost.  If you had taken their suggested LAS ATL MAN route then no extra hotel stay would have been required.
    We weren't given a reason for cancellation. There was certainly chaos at Schipol at the time. Our layover in Schipol on our return was originally supposed to be 1.5 hours but our earlier shuttle to Manchester was cancelled a few weeks before departure, so that one may have been down to the restrictions you mention. The revised itinerary gave us a 5.5 hour layover, before that was also cancelled while we were out in Vegas. 
    I take your point re our hotel costs and that did cross my mind. I could not find any guidance on what would constitute a 'reasonable' alternative routing. From our point of view, spending 12 hours in Vegas (after an 11am check out of our hotel), followed by an overnight flight, followed by 13 hours in ATL airport, followed by another overnight flight was unacceptable.    
    I agree with @Westin here.  The AMS-MAN was almost certainly cancelled as a result of the chaos at Amsterdam Schipol where airlines were told they must reduce their schedules.  So I'm unsure whether a claim for EC261 compensation will be successful.

    Also think they'll push back on the expenses. I agree their original re-schedule was poor, and I'd have sought to change it too (they're often done by computer automatically).  However that option did leave Vegas on the same day.  Effectively you asked to be put on a schedule that left Vegas the next day, so KLM might ultimately view that the expenses are not their problem.  Did you not look at alternatives that left Vegas on the Sunday afternoon/evening?
  • Mark__H
    Mark__H Posts: 39
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    bagand96 said:
    Also think they'll push back on the expenses. I agree their original re-schedule was poor, and I'd have sought to change it too (they're often done by computer automatically).  However that option did leave Vegas on the same day.  Effectively you asked to be put on a schedule that left Vegas the next day, so KLM might ultimately view that the expenses are not their problem.  Did you not look at alternatives that left Vegas on the Sunday afternoon/evening?
    From memory, I don't believe that there were any viable alternatives for returning on the Sunday. I think that's why KLM ended up proposing such a convoluted replacement routing via Atlanta   
  • bagand96
    bagand96 Posts: 6,014
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    edited 25 October 2022 at 4:50PM
    Mark__H said:
    bagand96 said:
    Also think they'll push back on the expenses. I agree their original re-schedule was poor, and I'd have sought to change it too (they're often done by computer automatically).  However that option did leave Vegas on the same day.  Effectively you asked to be put on a schedule that left Vegas the next day, so KLM might ultimately view that the expenses are not their problem.  Did you not look at alternatives that left Vegas on the Sunday afternoon/evening?
    From memory, I don't believe that there were any viable alternatives for returning on the Sunday. I think that's why KLM ended up proposing such a convoluted replacement routing via Atlanta   
    Difficult situation.  I'd be surprised if there was nothing on KLM/Air France/Delta/Virgin with all the connection options but as you say the initial terrible alternate from KLM maybe points to poor availability.  One thing I would have done is taken screenshots from the KLM website if there was no other options on the Sunday, but easy to say in hindsight.

    I still think KLM's position will be that as you suggested/requested the itinerary leaving Vegas the day later then they are not on the hook for your expenses.  Ultimately it depends how far you're prepared to push it with either ADR or Court.
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,881
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    I’m surprised they didn’t offer the Virgin Atlantic service LAS LHR with onward BA connection to MAN, or offer of LNER train LON MAN.
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,737
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    Westin said:
    I’m surprised they didn’t offer the Virgin Atlantic service LAS LHR with onward BA connection to MAN, or offer of LNER train LON MAN.
    Anyone hoping to travel by LNER from London to Manchester is in for a long wait.... ;)
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