Experience in getting compensation for cancelled flight out of Europe?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by MSY-MSP, Jan 22, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSY-MSP
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    MSY-MSP Silver Member

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    Hi All,

    I thought I would ask this question here before starting the formal process with United regarding a cancelled flight out of London this weekend.

    First the background. My wife and I were in London for business and were scheduled to return to the States on Sunday. I was on 931 to SFO and she was on 959 to ORD. Saturday night while we were at the pub she asked what her layover was in ORD on the way back. So I logged into her reservation and get the “schedule change” part on reservation. I look at it and see that it now has her on a 10am flight to ORD. When I first looked at it I thought it was a 10am on Sunday, but after looking at it some more I realized that it was 10am on Monday. This is the first we learned of the cancellation. We had not received any other communication from United despite UA having our contact information in their systems. From what I heard the reason for the cancellation was that BAA forced UA to cancel X flights on Sunday due to the expected snow. (which did come)

    So net result is that my wife has to stay an extra day in London. So we had to arrange to extend the hotel for an extra night and obviously the other costs associated with an extra day required to be in London.

    With that in mind I intend on invoking EC Reg 261/2004. My question for the group is. Have you ever requested this from UA? How did the process go? And what did you have to submit to UA?

    From what I can tell, we are entitled (I hate that word, but…) to €600.00 because the flight was cancelled and not accommodated within 4 hours, and the cancellation came within 24 hours of departure. Second it appears that we should be able to get the cost of the hotel as well back.

    The only caveat that UA may be able to invoke is “if the cancellation of the flight is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided if all reasonable measures had been taken.” However, because UA operated other flights that day including both before and after the scheduled time of her flight, including flights to ORD and EWR, and we were not offered other flights the cancellation could have been avoided, at least in my opinion. All of the other flights did not go out full, so there were other options UA could have used.
    I welcome your comments and experiences on this matter.
     
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  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Before I give further thoughts I want to get more information out of you...

    Did YOU at any time... Call United and ask for alternate flights? It is a two way street as United is not in the business of reading minds. If the customer does not say anything about the cancellation and rebooking then they assume everything is fine.
     
  3. MSY-MSP
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    MSY-MSP Silver Member

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    Fair enough. We did call after we discussed it further, and realized the change was to Monday and not earlier on Sunday as we had origianlly read the change. Even that ticked me off because i had to pay $2.99/min to talk to someone. However, because we "accepted" online we were not able to change her ticket to anything else because we had used our "free" move that UA was offering passengers. It is one thing that I do not like with the system when you have a flight change online. You have to accept it before you can do anything else, and there is no option for "see alternative flights" before you accept.
     
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  4. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    Accepting the changes online does not mean that you forfeit your rights to other changes.
     
  5. MSY-MSP
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    MSY-MSP Silver Member

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    I agreee, but when you are dealing with overseas agents at a foreign call center and paying $2.99/min for the pleasure of arguing with them you sometimes just have to throw in the towel. They were willing to offer us other options on Monday, using SDC, but would not even consider letting us look at moving back to Sunday. If i had been in the US I would have hung up and tried again. But being in the UK I really didn't feel like going that route. I shouldn't have to educate the agents on the rules and what is allowed. Heck I was on hold trying to get an agent for 5 minutes calling the local UK number. My provider wouldn't allow me to access the US 800 number.
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    It may not have been an option (and it's too late now anyway), but Skype is generally a cheap way to making calls back to the US. Even free for 800 numbers.
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There is a local UK number for United; why call back to the USA at $3/minute? Actually, why pay $3/minute at all??

    If you wanted to go to the airport that day and try to get one of the seats which went out empty you could have. Otherwise I do believe that EC261 applies and you are due right-to-care at a minimum. That should cover the hotel.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Presumably roaming with a US cellphone -- doesn't really matter whether you're calling a US or UK number, it costs an arm and/or a leg either way in many cases.

    Agreed.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Indeed. I just wonder how there weren't any other phones anywhere nearby for the entire time the OP was dealing with this.

    Had the OP gone to the airport they would have likely been handled there, with the hotel and such provided. Not ideal but it likely would have worked out. Plus they could've tried to get a seat on one of the flights still departing as a standby passenger. Not an ideal way to spend the day but it could be worse. Lots of folks had flights canceled and spent hours waiting in lines this past weekend; it was ugly out there.
     
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  10. MSY-MSP
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    MSY-MSP Silver Member

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    Of course there were other phones around. The hotel room phone where we were staying would be one option or going and trying to find a payphone, or use my broken UK phone where i lost the 0 key.:) Either way that is water under the bridge. so to speak.

    My wife wanted the matter taken care of without having both of us go to the airport just to find out she might get on a flight. (Some fights aren't worth the effort) We shouldn't have to go to the airport to get moved back to the original day. The UA phone agent in the UK was wrong, we can all agree on this, but that doesn't change the fact that the agent was unwilling to do this. Again water under the bridge.

    When i went to the airport to get my flight on Sunday, Terminal 1 was mostly empty. There were next to no lines anywhere. Heck i was the only person in fast track security and the regular lines were basically empty. The UA checkin counter was basically empty. All of the long haul flights seemed to be operating and mostly on-time at that. Now from what I hear terminal 5 was a mess. I mentioned the issue to my checkin agent, just to gauge the feel, and her comment to me made me beleive UA made a decision to move the folks on the ORD flight to the next day because the am flight the next day was empty, and this cancellation made BAA happy.

    In the end, we were lucky because monday was a holiday here.
     
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  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Skype.
     
  12. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    I have had flight cancellations by UA ex LHR twice this year and both times the default chosen by UA was a flight the next day. In both cases I had to spend some time on the phone to them to get unsatisfactory connections for the same day (E-, middle seat etc.).
     
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  13. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I'm really surprised that she didn't receive any e-mail notifying her of the cancelled flight!:confused:
    Right before the hurricane (Sandy), I was traveling from LHR to EWR via IAH, but had received an e-mail about the IAH-EWR flight having been cancelled a few hours before I had to depart for LHR-IAH (which was a morning flight). (The flight was being cancelled as all the NYC-area airport operations were being cancelled after a certain time due to the impending storm). After attempting to contact UA via skype (was on hold for 45 min.), I decided to head straight to the airport to standby for any available LHR-EWR flts (which were originally all sold-out, but I was able to successfully get on a flght, in the end, as many travelers had cancelled their plans). Due to the hurricane, all the flights to the east coast scheduled to arrive later in the day were canceled!). The UA staff @ LHR were exceptionally prepared for the situation & ended up processing many people on standby. I later found out that anyone who could get through on the phone were on hold for an average of 5 hrs due to the volume of calls!

    Instead of trying to 'see alternate flights' inside of a reservation with a 'change,' -- I always do a dummy search (as in a new reservation) to see the availability of alternate flights, before I accept said change. But even if I erroneously 'accepted' the change, I have usually been able to still call in and have an agent rebook the tickets, especially in the case of a misconnect.
     
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  14. EyeOnTheSkies

    EyeOnTheSkies Silver Member

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    You had a wx cancellation. They may throw a voucher at you but 600 Euro is not due, IMO.
     
  15. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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