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Vueling Overbooking - Denied Boarding

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
20 replies 1.7K views
chorltonianchorltonian Forumite
9 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
Would appreciate some advice here .. my wife and I were travelling from Manchester to Barcelona in May, and when I tried to check in online I was unable to without buying a seat. I should have spotted the warning signs there, but didn't and when we arrived at the check-in desk we were told the flight was full and we would be on stand-by along with (eventually) 9 others. We didn't get on the flight.

The handling firm, Menzies Aviation, were pretty awful and lied to us several times, but to be fair to them they could only relay what Vueling "control" were telling them.

They offered rebooking on the next available Vueling flight the following evening (so 24 hrs later), but there was a Jet2 flight the next morning which would get us to Barcelona just in time to meet up with friends and a connecting coach. They refused to book us on this, claiming first that they didn't code-share with Jet2, and when we pointed out this was irrelevant they decided they couldn't book it as we weren't guaranteed a seat.

I eventually got so frustrated with them that I booked the Jet2 flight myself, in order to save the holiday, and checked-in online with a seat number there and then, with the intention of claiming the money back later. And it was a lot of money.

Whilst all this was going on they made us fill out a form for the statutory compensation, 250 Euro each, which they have since paid. And they put us in a hotel for the night prior to us flying the following day, but it also cost us a night's hotel in Barcelona which by then could not be cancelled.

It's weeks of emailing, with hopeless answers, phonecalls much the same until this morning when they have finally emailed stating that compensation was already paid and so there won't be any other refund for other expenses.

So I'd like to know if they can do this? They failed to request any volunteers to be bumped, as per their stated procedure, and they failed to book us onto the next available flight which I understand to be their obligation.

It is worth pursuing? and what would be the best channel, as I think I read somewhere that they don't respond to Resolve and aren't in the ADR scheme.
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Replies

  • bradders1983bradders1983 Forumite
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    Personally I would leave it, you got the €500 between you which is effectively to cover out of pocket expenses anyway. All part of the lovely EU compo scheme which we may not be a part of soon anyway, cheers everyone(!)
  • Personally I would leave it, you got the €500 between you which is effectively to cover out of pocket expenses anyway. All part of the lovely EU compo scheme which we may not be a part of soon anyway, cheers everyone(!)

    That would be fine except that the two flights cost me £574 and the unused hotel 117 Euros. And I don't think they should be allowed to get away with it - surely the compensation is for the inconvenience caused by their overbooking policy not the additional expenses resulting?
  • cubegamecubegame Forumite
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    Your mistake was unilaterally booking an alternative flight.
  • cubegame wrote: »
    Your mistake was unilaterally booking an alternative flight.

    They didn't leave me with much choice. The flight was there, seats available, aren't they obliged to book us on it? The next available flight?
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
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    The Barcelona hotel would be a claim from travel insurance as a consequential loss
  • cubegamecubegame Forumite
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    They didn't leave me with much choice. The flight was there, seats available, aren't they obliged to book us on it? The next available flight?

    They are. But if you do it yourself unilaterally you're not automatically entitled to a refund.

    Do you have travel insurance?
  • cubegame wrote: »
    They are. But if you do it yourself unilaterally you're not automatically entitled to a refund.

    Do you have travel insurance?
    Yes, I guess they might cover it?
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    cubegame wrote: »
    Your mistake was unilaterally booking an alternative flight.


    I think the mistake was signing a form to accept the compensation.

    Anyway, my advice is to go legal: Vueling should have booked them on to the morning flight. That is the key point: stuff about not being able to check in and gate agents lying is really not relevant.
  • I think the mistake was signing a form to accept the compensation.

    Anyway, my advice is to go legal: Vueling should have booked them on to the morning flight. That is the key point: stuff about not being able to check in and gate agents lying is really not relevant.

    Thanks. For me the point is, in the circumstances, are they obliged to book passengers on the next available flight, regardless of cost? My feeling is they wanted to push us onto their own flight as it doesn't really cost them anything.

    The Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 wording is not precise:-

    Denied boarding

    When an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it first calls for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for certain benefits. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers to board the flight, the air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will, in which case it must compensate them.

    Air carriers give priority to persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.

    In the event of a flight cancellation or denied boarding, passengers affected have the right to:

    -reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
    -care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);
    -compensation totalling:

    -€250 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less;
    -€400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres;
    -€600 for all other flights.
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    Thanks. For me the point is, in the circumstances, are they obliged to book passengers on the next available flight, regardless of cost? My feeling is they wanted to push us onto their own flight as it doesn't really cost them anything.

    The Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 wording is not precise:-

    Denied boarding

    When an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it first calls for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for certain benefits. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers to board the flight, the air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will, in which case it must compensate them.

    Air carriers give priority to persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.

    In the event of a flight cancellation or denied boarding, passengers affected have the right to:

    -reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
    -care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);
    -compensation totalling:

    -€250 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less;
    -€400 for all intra-EU flights of more than 1,500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres;
    -€600 for all other flights.

    Where dies it say they must book you on the first available flight?
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