This week’s Compensation Clinic-case comes from a Reader Question (access here) that we featured back in April where TAP had canceled flight ex-Dakar and just left passengers at the airport without any help (unfortunately not unusual for this airline).
Here’s what happened:
I was in Dakar on Monday, on a United FF ticket, TAP was the carrier. The flight was canceled, with only 2 hours notice, no airline representatives at the airport, I couldn’t get through on the phone or using facebook. I was lucky enough to have miles with Delta to get back to Boston, but only first class was available, costing me 225,000 miles.
United promised to redeposit the 40,000 miles for the canceled flight, but I think I deserve more compensation. I’ve put in a complaint to customer service at both United and TAP.
Do I have a case for additional compensation.
I’m waiting for the complaints to be processed.
Here’s what I suggested at the time what the reader should do:
TAP is “Community Carrier” and bound by the European Union legislation EC 261/2004 that would have required the airline to provide the reader with the Passenger Rights leaflet at the airport in Dakar when the flight was canceled.
TAP should have rebooked the reader to the ticketed final destination at the earliest possible convenience on other airlines and provided duty to care (meals and possible accommodation in case of long delay).
Seems that they failed in all accounts.
The reader should contact TAP in the United States and request the airline to reimburse for the Delta ticket per the EC 261/2004 because the airline failed to provide the required service at the airport in Dakar.
Let’s say that Delta and United miles are each valued at 2 cents. (225,000 – 40,000) X 0.02 = $3,700. I would request this as a compensation per EC 261/2004 from TAP.
Reader can file with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection unit access here or appropriate National EU Enforcement Body (Portugal) for TAP:
Here’s an update from the reader:
Wanted to give you a final update on this situation which you posted around 4/11.
- TAP cancelled my flight; needed to use 225,000 Delta Miles to fly home. I was on a 40,000 mile United FF.
- I submitted complaint to United and TAP. United responded immediately and redeposited 40,000 miles into my account; TAP responded they would get back to me hopefully within 60 days.
- Three weeks later, I complained to United and they deposited additional 10,000 FF miles into my account as act of good faith. Called TAP representative who again told they were working as fast as possible.
- Sixty two days later received a response from TAP offering me 600 Euros as compensation. I rejected this offer. I requested $3200 or $3200 voucher. (per your suggestion) [I think I understand this is the compensation which they must provide by law for delayed or cancelled flights.]
- A week later they offered me $660 or $1050 voucher. I rejected offered and contacted the US bureau you suggested. I repeated my request.
- US Aviation Consumer Protection Division told me they could do nothing but advise, and I should take their offer.
- I didn’t want to file a lawsuit (what I thought was my only other route as this point), so requested $1200 voucher, as this would pay for 2 flights to Europe. [In my mind worth 120,000 FF points]. They accepted, provided the voucher, and I “purchased” two tickets on TAP. End of story.
Outcome: I “lost” equivalent of 55,000 FF points. Calculation: -225,000 Delta points; +50,000 United points; +120,000 FF points which I would have needed to fly to Europe.
Thus concludes the case. Wonder about your opinion if I could have asked for more.
Well. Sometimes there are no good options like what happened here when TAP abandoned the passengers in Dakar when the flight was canceled. If you need to get to your destination, you do what you have to do and deal with the compensation later.
As long as the reader is satisfied with the compensation received from airline, it is all that matters. As he points out, the only other option had been to file a small claims court case against TAP in the United States.
TAP is very difficult to deal with when it comes to get them to pony up to these EC 261/2004 claims. The best course of action is to open the claim outside of Portugal where these National Enforcement Bodies may have some interest to get the airline to comply with the EU law.