A sales executive who estimated he and his wife were “about £2,200 out of pocket” after their flight from Crete was cancelled due to an air traffic control glitch are hopeful about receiving compensation after initially being denied by easyJet.
Tom Perry, 31, told the PA news agency on Tuesday that their easyJet flights for the night before from Heraklion airport to Luton had been cancelled due to the glitch.
The couple, based in Cornwall, were offered new easyJet flights home for the following Monday, free of charge, which they accepted as “that was the only [direct flights] available” at the time, Mr Perry said.
Mr Perry said: “Then, about an hour later, I looked online and found one that goes from Crete airport this coming Friday with Jet2, so we booked with them to go back to Bristol.”
The couple paid £1,172 for the Friday flights and requested a refund for the Monday return flights the couple were no longer availing of, but easyJet had declined.
The flight cancellation forced the couple to pay for an extended stay at their accommodation in Sissi for around £250, a parking space for additional days at Luton airport for around £120, and an extended stay for their dog at a kennel.
Mr Perry’s wife, Ella, 27, is an NHS nurse who could “lose pay or annual leave”, he said.
Mr Perry said he “spent six hours on live chats and calls, albeit probably 4.5 hours was trying to get through” and easyJet were “refusing to refund”.
On Wednesday morning, easyJet provided the couple with the opportunity to apply for compensation for the expenses they have accumulated due to the flight disruption.
Mr Perry told the PA news agency: “Obviously I’m not going to get my hopes up too much until it comes through but yeah, obviously, it does make a difference.
“The lady on the phone today has been really, really helpful, but what I can’t quite understand is why we weren’t offered this option yesterday.
“We’ve submitted some paperwork and now we’re waiting for them to process it and hopefully get some money transferred back to us.
“What they said eventually is that, with the disruption protocol – which I can’t really understand why we weren’t offered yesterday – we should have been given the chance to pay for a flight and get paid the difference between the easyJet value of the flight and the value of the new flight.
“We should have, hopefully, about £650 back on that, plus a ticket towards the extended parking in Luton.”
The couple have also requested compensation for the additional days at their accommodation and will submit invoices for their dog’s extended stay at a kennel, Mr Perry said.
He said the easyJet representative said: “‘When we get home, if there’s anything else, you can send it in’, so when I get back and get invoices, I can try and send them in as well.”
easyJet told the PA news agency on Wednesday morning that it would refund the difference between their original easyJet return flight and their new return flight.
The airline said: “We have been doing everything we can to minimise the impact of the disruption, providing customers with information on their options to transfer their flight for free or receive a refund, securing hotel accommodation where possible and advising any customers who make their own accommodation or alternative travel arrangements that they will be reimbursed.
“While this is outside of our control, we apologise for the difficulty this has caused and we remain focused on doing all possible to assist and repatriate our customers as soon as possible at this very busy time of year.”
Travel delays started on Monday after a UK air traffic control failure, which meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers.
More airline passengers suffered flight cancellations on Tuesday due to the knock-on impact.
The air traffic control failure was caused by flight data received by National Air Traffic Services (Nats), with both primary and back-up systems responding by suspending automatic processing, chief executive Martin Rolfe said on Tuesday.