The finish line of 2017 is upon us. We love blogging, we love sharing tips, deals and insights but as former New Yorkers entrenched in the world of finance – it’s all about the “what have you done for me lately”. What we mean is, we know why you’re here and we hold ourselves accountable. You will stop coming if we stop being useful. Sometimes though, bloggers make a real difference in travel, above the everyday stuff.
This year we helped readers secure: free private jet rides, $600 round trip business class to Tokyo, upgrades, cheap flights, points tricks and compensation from airlines. It’s the last point, with which we’ll foray into the meaning of this post. We love being your voice, when asked. Wrongs are committed in travel everyday, and we – the bloggers of the world want to amplify legitimate issues. More than half a million people come through here each month, and that means travel brands must listen.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading my friend Matthew at Live and Let’s Fly take Aeroplan to task. They sold customers tickets using points, and then cancelled them with no remorse, leaving customers with no viable alternatives. He’s a trained lawyer, and is taking the airline to task on this issue. Gary Leff is another personal favorite. He’s a savage when it comes to consumer issues, and isn’t afraid to train his sights on travel brands wronging consumers.
Our personal highlight of the year was taking Norwegian to task over EU261 compensation. We received far too many complaints where flights had been severely delayed due solely to airline fault. Vacations were ruined. The airline evaded and denied rightful compensation to passengers. Due to our article, many passengers received compensation within 24 hours of publishing. These are travelers who had been repeatedly denied, many of whom had given up hope. We think that’s entirely the point – and it’s wrong. If you feel that way, email us.
What we’re trying to say is – we’re here. We’re listening, and though vintage champagne is incredibly exciting, nothing quite gets us going, like making a lasting difference and impact. We want to help get your family home for the holidays on time. We want to push back when you feel a travel company has wronged you. We’re here, and we’re thankful you are too.
It’s neither immoral, nor unethical for a Carrier to force passengers to write in to request compensation under EU261. This is the normal procedure and passengers should expect it. Nobody wants to live in a world where uneducated gate agents are making legal decisions in order to pay out compensation in person. Accordingly, getting people compensation after writing in shouldn’t be viewed as a victory. Rather, it’s more of an unremarkable and orthodox customer service transaction.
As far as EU261 compensation, I believe by law the Carrier is the decider of whether compensation is due under the regulation. Carriers have their own internal systems for making the determination, and Lawyers are involved in setting up those systems. Each carrier has a list of protracted delays and each delay is highlighted with a color indicating whether compensation is due. Each delay is adjudicated internally by someone in the carrier’s Legal department who may not have operational experience, nor understand the nuances of how a delay could materialize. So, if, after writing in to request compensation, the Carrier denies it, then chances are high that you’re really not entitled to it. But there may also be a slight chance you are.
If the Airline pays out compensation on the second write in request protesting the initial denial, then the interpretation should be that the compensation provided was out of generosity or goodwill, and not to comply with EU261. Because the Carrier has the legal authority to adjudicate whether compensation is due, then they would have to be successfully sued by a government or non-governmental entity to say otherwise. These cases nearly always result in ‘Consent Orders’ in which the Carrier admits nothing, and pays close to nothing to the People in the form of a check to the National Treasury, while paying a larger percentage of the ‘Order’ back to themselves to make ‘service improvements.’
Of course, I could be wrong about all this. Still, from my own experience in the United States, Carriers mostly enforce themselves. While they might cheat sometimes, you can have faith in market forces that they cheat much less often than the high airfare prices have led blogs like this to believe. And we’re much better off allowing the media, this blog and others like it, and the enfluence media have on frequent travellors, to determine the threshold of cheating. Nobody wants an Aviation Consumer Protection Division with teeth the size of Twitter’s or Facebook’s. Power like that usually ends up hurting more than helping those it pretends to serve.
As you’ve chosen Uk as an adoptive home, please help us Brit’s trapped by Bloomin Awfuls dominance of slots and call out some of the unbelievable behaviour. I enjoy almost everything you do but simply don’t understand the blind (or partially sighted) spot you have when it comes to their profiteering
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