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Vueling EU Luggage Mechanical Issues resulted in Missed Connection on Delta

Vueling EU Luggage Mechanical Issues resulted in Missed Connection on Delta

Sep 7th, 2010, 11:51 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Vueling EU Luggage Mechanical Issues resulted in Missed Connection on Delta

After a very long and slightly stressful trip to Europe I ran into some issues regarding my return flight. My Girlfriend and I were taking a Vueling flight from Madrid to Paris which departed 30 minutes late due to a strike in Paris ( I made room for a 3.5 hour layover but this changed it to 3.) We got off the plane and started waiting for our luggage, after 45 minutes without anything showing up, people started to get frustrated. The only indication I could see was the Luggage Carousel saying luggage is arriving.

People started to surround the "Swissport" information booth so I walked over to see what was happening. by this time I had 2.5 hours to connect to our Delta flight From Paris - Atlanta. I seen a man unloading luggage on a push trolley one cart at a time, so I assumed they must have an issue with the people being on strike? maybe they had to unload each piece by hand... not to sure.

I finally made my way through the people and found the Swissport representative who by this time was one of the rudest people i've ever met. He told me it should be about 10 minutes longer, and that there was a mechanical problem with the plane, the doors wouldn't open to the luggage container.

2 hours to departure. no Luggage, I'm getting frustrated as he told me 10 minutes, and still no luggage... I ask the swissport employee to use the phone to call delta, and figure out what I should be doing.. he tells me I cant use the phone and If i want I can exit the area and go to information. I walk over to the exit and the custom guards tell me I have to get my luggage because I wont be able to re enter.

I walk back to Swissport to figure out what I should be doing, but he waves me off as he talks on the phone.

I leave my girlfriend in the luggage area and exit customs so I can talk to information, they call delta who tells me that its 1.25 hours to departure and I will likely be denied boarding. They tell me to go to Swissport and see how this situation can be fixed, then go to delta and get another ticket. They said it should be the responsibility of Vueling to compensate me for this problem but the people they talked to on the phone didn't want to take responsibility saying "It's not their fault the plane doors wont open"

Delta charged me $250USDx2 for the penalty to change my flight to a later departure.
I still made my connections after Atlanta (to Canada) and my girlfriend incurred an additional $150USD charge for her connection to Panama, as well as a 24 hour delay (hotel & meals) .

Given that I allowed more than sufficient time in-between my connections the are the penalty charges the responsibility of Vueling to re-imburse me? They had me fill out a blue paper and took photocopies of my $250x2 receipts but The other expenses didn't happen until Atlanta.

Information & Delta said that it should be paid by Vueling. But Swissport said its not their fault. I'm really stressed because the whole circumstance was chaotic, and Maxed my Credit Cards.


Any insight? advice? legal references? would be much appreciated.

thanks
dwright is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 02:45 AM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,861
Sorry to hear about your troubles. Unfortunately, no, I don't think Vueling is not responsible to pay your Delta change fees. Your contract with them was to get you into Paris, which they fulfilled, albeit late.

Your ticket with Delta was very restrictive. No free changes, which is a risk you chose to take when you purchased the ticket.

This is a good idea why it is always better to book connecting flights on one ticket, that way you are protected if there there is a problem with your 1st flight and you miss the connection.
J62 is online now  
Sep 8th, 2010, 03:24 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Separate tickets mean it's YOUR responsibility ALONE to make the connection.

You have zero rights to compensation from anyone.
alanRow is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 04:59 AM
  #4  
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I agree that it would have been nice to have single tickets, however the Air-france flight from Madrid to Paris would have been more expensive then the charges I incurred.

just to clarify, because part of this I disagree. If they are responsible for my luggage, are they not responsible for expenses I incur because of their mechanical failures?

about Vueling's contract, the man at Delta had said that the contract includes responsibility of luggage, which was the problem that caused the others....
dwright is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 05:32 AM
  #5  
 
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When you book separate airlines like this it's your own problem/expense if you don't make your connection. You could have booked Delta (or any other SkyTeam airline) from Madrid to Paris and you would not have additional fees for your flight/luggage delays. Instead you chose an independent, cheap airline and assumed the risk of them getting you and your luggage there in time to make your Delta flight. Delta owes you nothing.

>>>>just to clarify, because part of this I disagree. If they are responsible for my luggage, are they not responsible for expenses I incur because of their mechanical failures?<<<

What expense? Vueling lived up to their contract and got you from Madrid to Paris. Your luggage was slightly delayed is all. It's not Vueling's fault you were flying onward. They only contracted Madrid/Paris which what you got.

In the future, if you don't want this problem to happen again, book all your flights on the same alliance (SkyTeam, OneWorld, etc.).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_alliance
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 8th, 2010, 07:09 AM
  #6  
 
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You got off very lightly indeed, dwright.

You booked a very tight connection (yes, 3.5 hours is very tight for an unprotected connection). Not even remotely "more than sufficient time" in this situation. I do occasionally do this sort of thing, but am fully aware of the risk I'm taking, said risk including having to buy a last minute/full fare ticket if I can't make my original connection.

You'd have avoided this situation, by the way, if you'd been traveling with hand luggage only.
Therese is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 07:13 AM
  #7  
 
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"In the future, if you don't want this problem to happen again, book all your flights on the same alliance (SkyTeam, OneWorld, etc.)."

You don't have to stick to one alliance---if you book on a site like Expedia or Orbitz on one ticket you're still protected even if you've mixed alliances. You'd check your luggage at your point of departure and even if it didn't make your connecting flight it would still eventually catch up to you.

In theory, anyway.
Therese is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 07:15 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Travel insurance usually do cover this kind of things. But do read the fine prints. Agree with others that Vueling owes you nothing.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 08:07 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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<<< Travel insurance usually do cover this kind of things. >>>

A lot depends on if they consider the time between flights as "reasonable".
alanRow is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2010, 11:53 AM
  #10  
 
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Disclaimer: Legal issues should be discussed with pros, not on a public online forum.

OP has a valid point.
The Montreal Agreement regulates the liablity of the carrier with re. to delayed luggage. (Article 19)
Liability for damages resulting from delayed luggage is limited to appr $1500. (Art. 22)
If the cause of the delay had indeed be a luggage door malfunction, it can be regarded as carrier's fault.
One open question is whether a 3.5 hrs stopover will be seen as sufficient to make a safe connection. Or too short that it may constitute fraudulant action in causing the damage. The latter would nullify the carrier's liability. (Art. 20)
From an overall perspective, OP's damages are quite limited (others have had to pay thousands for new tickets in cases of missed connections). So any real legal action is out of the question from a realistic perspective.

But a letter to Vueling, claiming the expenses of $250 under Art. 19 and 22 of the Montreal Agreement does not cost more than a stamp.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2010, 09:37 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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My travel insurance requires a 4-hour gap between unrelated flights. Personally, I want at least an overnight stay.
WillTravel is offline  

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