a row of seats in an airplane

A code of ethics is one of the single greatest attributes of the human race. A system of trust and relationship building based on truth. Which begs the question – how are we ever supposed to have a meaningful relationship with our favorite airlines when they consistently lie to our faces?

Delays happen, cancellations happen, aircraft need maintenance and sometimes issues are unavoidable. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the above. It’s how an airline chooses to acknowledge issues and build satisfaction in their aftermath. I’m specifically speaking about being told “no” or being denied compensation, when an airline knows the answer is really “yes”.  As airlines have rushed to offer more means of direct customer service – they’ve gone cheap. Gone are the people airlines trust to handle their bottom line at the front line, so the answer is always no. Almost always.

Our single greatest frustration is when airlines deny compensation claims which they know to be in the wrong for. Norwegian has been a shocking example of this, in regards to European Union EC261 compensation. A recent issue we experienced with Virgin Australia was yet another glaring example where an airline knows they are wrong, but will tow the “no” line, in hopes that any normal consumer would simply give up. Yet occasionally, we hear glimmers of hope. Virgin Atlantic has experienced issues with their 787 Dreamliner aircraft, but rather than frustrating passengers with lengthy compensation processes – they’ve handed out if anything, overly generous vouchers or opportunities as a token of thanks. Why can’t airlines just do THAT.

That’s why this is infuriating. I know when I am right, and I am adept in pushing on and hitting the right buttons for a fair resolution. But even I question the validity of my claims, when an airline dismisses them as being incorrect or inaccurate. Worse yet, response times can take weeks, often up to 30 days for a singular response. A correspondence which comes to a favorable conclusion can take months. Who has the time?

Of the hundreds of millions of air passengers each year who fly, millions file claims. If every single one of them is denied any compensation at the first hurdle, how many push on for the second hurdle? It’s wrong. It’s deceptive and in our minds – unfortunately it’s intentional. Long story short – if you’re right, no is only an airlines temporary response. Yes will arrive. Eventually.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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