Our Compensation Clinic case this weekend is handling a vacation flight operated by Condor from Hannover, Germany to Rhodes Island in Greece which was cancelled on the day of departure.
Condor is a German airline that has always ping ponged around in terms of ownership between Lufthansa and tour operator Thomas Cook. The airline also underwent a temporary rebranding to Thomas Cook Airlines before shifting the name back to Condor as it was a well recognized brand and the new name simply didn’t work for the company.
The case is about a Condor flight booked through tour operator Jahn Reisen from Hannover (HAJ) to Rhodes in Greece (RHO) where passengers were informed the same morning about the cancellation of said flight. They were then flown by Lufthansa to Munich and another Condor flight picked them up to go to Rhodes, eventually arriving 10 hours later than originally scheduled.
Condor did not issue any vouchers for food and beverage or communication expenses to the affected passengers who contacted me. They had to wait 7 hours at Munich Airport to even catch their connection.
After Condor did not reply to their complaint through the online customer service form I suggested to involve the Ombudsman in Germany (Schlichtungsstelle fuer Oeffentlichen Personenverkehr SOEP).
HAJ-RHO is a Typ 2 Flight under EC261/2004 and as such per passenger there’s a 400 EUR compensation payment due. Additionally the passengers incurred 29.00 EUR per person for food & beverage during the 7 hours wait (rather cheap if you consider the prices at German airports). They also purchased a Wifi access at 9.00 EUR which they claimed as communication expenses.
At no point did Condor hand out the Air Passenger Rights leaflet as mandated by law which is completely unacceptable.
After the Ombudsman got involved and contacted Condor the airline admitted fault and paid EC261 compensation of 867,00 EUR including all expenses.
It’s very difficult to get certain airlines to pay the fines they’re liable for under the EU Regulation and in most cases one has to involve a regulator or ombudsman to report the carrier for violating the rules.
One can also always give the case to a service agency that handles the claim but those usually take a 30% cut. Alternatively one can have an attorney initiate legal proceedings where the case could eventually go to court. If the carrier loses then they have to pay all court and attorneys fees as well which is why most airlines pay voluntarily as soon as a lawyer gets involved – including his fees. I have had very good experience involving the ombudsman though whose services are free for the consumer.