Simon Calder on failure of UK air traffic control computer system
After a nationwide air traffic control ‘technical failure’ on August 28, many tourists were left stranded. Ryanair, easyJet, BA and Jet2 were also forced to cancel flights due to the chaos.
Unfortunately British tourists could be in for more chaos with strikes to come by air traffic control in Europe and Wizz Air staff.
Jonathan Frankham, general manager of World Nomads in the UK and Europe, explained what tourists should do if they’re affected by travel chaos.
He said: “Find out the exact reason for the flight delay or cancellation. If you think it could be more than just a short period of time, it’s worth finding out some information which can help you if you need to make a claim or claim compensation or a refund against the airline.
“Travellers need to know how long the delay will be and the reason for the delay.”
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This information is important because it impacts whether a tourist is entitled to compensation from their airline. Travellers aren’t usually entitled to be compensated if the delay is caused by an event outside the airline’s control.
Jonathan added: “Get it in writing. Ask for evidence of why the flight was delayed. Travel insurance covers certain events, so you’ll need to show it was one of these for any claim to be successful.
“Some of our travellers report service desks at the airport have given them proof on letterhead paper at the airport. If they can’t, then get their customer service and complaints contact details and initiate contact on the spot.”
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He said: “If you have incurred expenses because of the delay, your first port of call must be to seek help from the airline or travel provider. Ask them to rebook or accommodate you or ask for compensation or a refund.”
Jonathan warned: “If you decide to claim against your travel insurance policy for any costs you’ve incurred, then you’ll need evidence you tried to get a refund from the airline first. If you don’t have evidence, we’ll probably ask you for it, which may delay any claim you make, so we suggest you approach your airline or travel provider first.”
British tourists are entitled to an alternative flight even if it’s on another airline if one is available, or a refund if their flight is cancelled.
Jonathan added: “If you’re still out of pocket after contacting your airline or travel provider for compensation, you can make a claim under your travel insurance.
“We will consider all the information available to make a decision on your claim. As part of that process, the more documentation you have that can show you’ve incurred expenses because of a covered event, the more easily and quickly we will be able to determine your claim.”
The chaos caused by the air traffic control failure continues to impact passengers with easyJet laying on rescue flights for stranded travellers.
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