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Compensation due for denial of boarding US to Europe--any experts

Compensation due for denial of boarding US to Europe--any experts

Jun 26th, 2014, 06:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Compensation due for denial of boarding US to Europe--any experts

A flight delay nightmare has happened to family members traveling with an infant and toddler! Twelve hours at the home airport (six hours in the airport for two days in a row), and still no departure. And, all check-ins were done with plenty of advance time. They had purchased three tickets and also had a lap baby with them who they had paid for.

We are trying to help them figure out how much compensation to ask for. Reading the contract of carriage and flight regulations, this is a grey area rather than a clear-cut one, so I hope some of you can assist quickly. And,we're trying to figure out if US or European (or both) regulations apply.

Here is the scenario:

Yesterday they had a US to Europe flight on a United/SAS combo ticket. The United flight originated at A, with a connection in Dulles for a SAS transatlantic flight to C, and from C there was a final SAS intra-European flight from C to D. The FAA closed the airspace at the Dulles temporarily because the president was flying out, so United stopped boarding the plane at A because they did not have clearance to leave for Dulles. By the time the flight could leave from A, it was too late to make the connecting flight at Dulles. Half of the people leaving from A to Dulles thus missed their connections and were given the choice of remaining in A or going on to Dulles to sit there indefinitely. The airline said they could not find three seats on any transatlantic flight anywhere yesterday, so the family stayed at A their home airport. United rebooked them for today on a different combination of flights.

Today they once again arrived early for check-in. They were to travel on United from point A to Newark, Newark to Frankfurt, and have a final intra-European leg out of Frankfurt on Lufthansa. When booking these substitute flights for them yesterday United apparently messed up because they had not issued a paper ticket for the lap baby; this was not noticed until the check-in counter. Issuing a paper ticket required a supervisor's override, and the United supervisor did not arrive in time for them to be able to board at the point of origination.

So, today they again went home with a promise of correctly booked tickets for tomorrow.

Thus they will be losing two days of their vacation and be arriving 48 hours later than the tickets they had originally booked.

What rules for monetary compensation apply in a situation like this? I hope some of you know because we are trying to sort them out. We know that there is $1300 per person for being denied boarding due to over-booking. But, this was error and incompetence today rather than overbooking. We suspect the airline will claim yesterday was more of a force majeure issue. How do the EU regulations apply in a situation like this? Yesterday's transatlantic flight was on a European carrier. Today's intra-Europe flight was on a European carrier.

Thanks for any concrete, specific information any of you can give.
julies is offline  
Jun 26th, 2014, 07:51 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I don't know the answers to all your questions.

The problems from Day 1 will be a force majeure issue. United can't help what went on when the airspace over Washington was closed. It's kind of like the weather. Your family members are due no compensation over that one. Frustrating to be sure, but nada.

Day 2's problems, I don't know the answer to.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jun 26th, 2014, 10:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
See my answer in your other thread.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
If they strand you at a distant airport, generally they will provide vouchers for food and lodging. If they strand you at your home airport, they give almost nothing, as they feel you can go home for your food and lodging.

I don't see them giving any cash, unless you demand your money back and don't fly. Most likely, as a good will gesture, they will give you vouchers (perhaps in this case, very generous vouchers) good for a certain sum which can be only used for future tickets (usually within a year) on the same airline that already screwed you over.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:40 AM
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Posts: 4,229
As would most people, they want cold, hard, cash rather than just a voucher. This is a mess, so thanks for your advice.

I also posted on the Europe forum since I know that is muchnore active than this one.
julies is offline  

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