Reader Question: Vueling Refuses To Compensate Per EC261/2004 – What Are My Options?

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A reader has contacted us after a long delay of his Vueling flight from Rotterdam to Barcelona which had a delay of over four hours and therefore falls under the compensation rules of EU261/2004.

Vueling Claim

Vueling Customer Relations replied to the readers email that it doesn’t feel required to compensate for this delay under some internal customer service rules.

Vueling (being a low cost airline) obviously tries to get out of EU261 claims as easy and as cheap as possible, therefore it doesn’t surprise me in the least they are difficult to deal with. Let’s have a look what our reader writes:

I hope you are very well. I had a more than 4 hours delayed flight by Vueling in 29 march 2016, but Vueling didn’t want to pay the compensation to me.

I attached our conversation below, hopes you can give me some advice.Kind regards,

Tao

First of all thanks for contacting us with this query. Reader questions are important and help us and everybody reading LoyaltyLobby to keep up with current developments. You can always email John or myself with your queries if you have a reader question or compensation case.

Here is what Tao wrote to Vueling:

I am writing regarding flight VY8337 on 29/March/2016 from Rotterdam (RTM) to BARCELONA (BCN) with the scheduled departure time of 21:55 and arrival time of 23:55. This flight arrived more than 4 hours late at Barcelona (BCN).

I am seeking compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for this delayed flight. My scheduled flight length was below 1500km therefore I am seeking €250 per delayed passenger in my party. The total is €500 for all passengers.

A clear case you would think. What does Vueling say?

Our Passenger Compensation and Service Plan includes the option, whenever you decide not to wait for the delayed plane, to:

– A free change of date (if a similar price range is available) on delays of more than two hours.

– Reimbursement of the ticket on delays of more than five hours.

Furthermore, if this action does not create even more delay, food and refreshment vouchers are offered according to the delay time, complying with the Regulation 261/04 of the European Council.Having complied with the European Regulations, we have to inform you that we cannot resolve your claim to your satisfaction by offering you additional compensation.

This of course doesn’t answer the issues at hand. From what I understand based on the readers email he either took the original flight or was rescheduled on another flight as he states a delay of 4+ hours (would he have simply forfeited the flight this would have been significantly longer).

Vueling is required to compensate the passenger per rule EC261/2004 as he rightfully claimed. He has contacted the airline a second time and is awaiting answer outlining the irrelevant approach of their first reply

What to do if they still refuse to act?

It was not clear from the email where our reader resides, the best approach would be to contact the national EU enforcement body in the Netherlands, the ‘Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate’, as that was the point of his departure.

The national enforcement bodies of the E.U. member countries handle specific complaints and sometimes act as ombudsman (or have a separate entity for such cases like in Germany). The last option of enforcing a legitimate claim would be legal action through an attorney or various Claim Agencies that offer the service against a significant cut of your due compensation.

Conclusion

As mentioned I’m not surprised Vueling is acting in this manner. You will see the same type of response from both low cost carriers and established airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France etc. Their first attempt is to let the customer bounce off with their complaints. This already takes care of a large amount of the claims as people often can’t be bothered to pursue this aggressively.

In the case of our reader I think he has a good chance to get his 500 EUR but it might require some fighting and therefore plenty of time.

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