German budget carrier Eurowings is in the news again for all the wrong reasons, continuing their miserable on-time performance.
Eurowings is a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa and has been making headlines for it’s disastrous operations, lengthy delays and bad customer service. In January LoyaltyLobby wrote about an incident where passengers were left stranded for 3 days in Cuba (access here) and not this case with Phuket which isn’t an isolated matter anyway.
The German Newspaper Handelsblatt (access here – in German).
Langer Weg nach Hause: Mit 43 Stunden Verspätung sind am Donnerstagmorgen 181 Eurowings-Passagiere am Flughafen Köln/Bonn gelandet. Seit Dienstagmorgen hatten die Passagiere wegen technischer Defekte an ihrer Maschine auf der thailändischen Insel Phuket festgesessen. Eurowings ist die Billig-Tochter der Lufthansa.
In Köln seien die gestrandeten Passagiere erst einmal mit einem Catering empfangen worden, sagte ein Eurowings-Sprecher auf Anfrage. Dann wurden sie mit Taxis oder per Bahn an ihre Heimatorte gebracht. Außerdem gibt es ein finanzielles Trostpflaster: „Neben einem 250-Euro-Fluggutschein bekommt jeder Passagier noch eine Entschädigung in Höhe von 600 Euro“, sagte der Sprecher.
As per the news report, 181 passengers of the budget carrier arrived with 43 hours delays at Cologne-Bonn (CGN) airport last Thursday after being delayed since Tuesday morning.
The airline ‘welcomed’ the passengers with catering at the airport and offered transportation per taxi or train to their residence in case they didn’t park their private vehicles at the airport. A Eurowings spokesperson said that the passengers will receive a 250 EUR voucher as well as 600 EUR cash as compensation for their delay.
What the spokesperson neglected to mention is that the 600 EUR is a guaranteed compensation per EC261 Rule that airlines are obliged to pay the passenger for long delays of 4 hours or more if the flight is of greater than 3500 km in distance. So all the airline is really giving in extra compensation is the 250 EUR voucher.
An additional problem in my opinion is that the airline didn’t seem to offer rebooking to other airlines which they are obliged to. The article doesn’t mention it specifically but why would someone voluntarily sit 2 days in Phuket awaiting to get home (unless you want to extend your holiday). There are plenty of flight options from Thailand to Europe and my good guess (I could be wrong so don’t hold me to it) is that Eurowings, being a budget carrier, was simply too cheap and didn’t offer such rebookings.
What can you do in such a situation? If you have a credit card such as American Express or a Travel Insurance you can contact the insurance hotline and ask them to book you a new flight. Alternatively if the airline refuses to follow the EU regulation you can book one by yourself and later claim it with customer relations, however be prepared to take legal action in order to recover these funds.
Eurowings had a bad start, in fact the airline originates from Germanwings whose name was scrapped after it was tainted by the crash when a pilot steered the plane into a mountain killing all passengers. I hope Eurowings gets their act together because all this negative press about their bad performance isn’t good for business in the long run. Even though, considering people these days mostly shop by price they would probably continue to book the cheap EW tickets anyway.