April 16, 2024

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Court compels airline to refund fares of a canceled flight, passengers’ incidental expenses

3 min read

Wizz Air: established to retain full UK market access post-Brexit. Headquartered in London’s Luton Airport.

*** Court granted a refund of fares to passengers comprising father, mother, and three children
*** Court granted a refund of legal fees, hotel bills for a night, and other incidental expenses

*** Litigant accused the business of treating consumers like dirt. Promised “to eradicate that”
*** Airline said the unprecedented level of disruption across Europe and the UK in 2022, made it fall short of its own aspirations

A customer of Wizz Air, a budget airline in the UK, who earlier got a favourable judgment from the court but was undermined by the airline, enlisted the services of bailiffs who subsequently interrupted the airline’s operations at Luton airport, before the payment of the sum of £4,500 judgment debt against the airline was paid.

Mr. Russell Quirk, a father of three, from Essex, said in January 2022, he booked a Wizz Air flight for a family holiday trip to Faro in May and paid for himself, his wife, and three children.

Quirk recounted that on the day of the scheduled flight, he got a terse statement from Wizz Air, which simply announced the cancellation of the flight.

Mr. Quirk while speaking to BBC said: “the airline gave no explanation for the cancellation, no alternative offered, and no apology whatsoever”.

He said he was bewildered by the depth of frustration the cancelation wreaked on members of his family when he told them the family holiday had been canceled by the airline.

Quirk said the disconcertment written boldly all over the faces of his family members compelled him to make an alternative arrangement that restored the charm to his family members, especially his three daughters.

On approaching the airline after returning to the UK from his holiday, Mr. Quirk said, only ticket fares were refunded after over eight weeks of pressure but, the airline kept mum on his claims for consequential losses.

However, Mr. Quirk took the case to the county court, and the court granted his prayers for the refund of his fares, along with compensation of his legal fees including the extra £4,500 he had spent, which he described as ‘consequential losses’.

Thereafter, the airline settled only the ticket fares, and legal fees compensation and ignored the cost of the consequential losses.

The passenger had narrated to the court the expenses he incurred as a result of the cancellation which included the purchase of a new flight ticket for the next day, the cost incurred for a night in hotel rooms, and other expenses he dubbed ‘consequential losses’ and totaled £4,500.

Hence, Russell Quirk approached the court for the execution of its judgment creditor to enforce and perhaps to fife the airline’s assets.

To execute the passenger’s garnishee order procured in the court, Quirk sought and got bailiffs who were then sent to the Wizz Air desk at its base in Luton Airport.

However, on just a single visit by bailiffs at the airline’s base in Luton, the ‘consequential losses’ totaled £4,500 was “graciously” paid by Wizz Air.

Seems the DNA of airlines the world over, is homogeneous especially when it concerns the onerous responsibility of making refunds.

Speaking on the legal fees, the litigant said it cost him roughly £180 to take his case to court and £60 to send in the bailiffs.

He opined, “Increasingly businesses are thinking they can treat customers like dirt and I’m determined to eradicate that”

A spokesperson for Wizz Air said due to unprecedented levels of disruption across Europe and the UK in the summer of 2022 ‘we fell short of our own aspirations’.

The airline added: “When things went wrong, we did not react quickly enough to manage the high volume of customer claims that resulted from this disruption”

Kindly let’s have your views here at the bottom if you thought otherwise or if you have advice for passengers or the airlines on this very vexing issue of refunds and the like.

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