In March 2017 our Vueling Airlines flight from Barcelona to Palma in Majorca was delayed. Originally due to depart at 16.55 we didn’t actually depart until 10.00pm that night.
We had been told by others that the delay was due to a knock on effect of a air traffic control strike in Italy. Our scheduled aircraft was due to depart Malta earlier that morning and arrive in Barcelona for our flight across to Palma. Due to the strike the Malta flight did not depart on time, and as such there was no aircraft for our flight at 4.55pm.
By the time the aircraft arrived from Malta it and the crew were out of ‘serviceable hours’ so we needed to wait for a replacement plane and crew, eventually pushing back just before 10pm that night.
Throughout the whole experience no information was provided to the passengers by Vueling staff and no refreshments provided. We spoke with other passengers who advised us that they would be making formal complaints and seeking refunds or compensation.
When we returned to the UK we had a quick Google and came across ClaimFlights.com The reviews seemed reasonable and although some had said the procedure took time with customers having to chase for updates we decided to give it a go. We didn’t want the hassle of trying to liaise directly with Vueling or trying to find the necessary legislation applicable.
ClaimFlights have an online calculator where you can enter your flight details and choose one of the following reasons for your claim:
– I took off on time
– I took off behind schedule
– My flight was cancelled
– I was denied boarding
You then enter your actual arrival date and time and the reason for the delay:
– Check In, Boarding, Luggage, Safety
– Technical Problems
You can then add any other information which you feel may be necessary to your claim. We chose ‘Other’ which then gave us some further options to choose from and we went with ‘Air Traffic Control Restriction’ and entered what we did know in the more information box. The calculator then said we would be entitled to compensation so on 10th April 2017 we submitted our claim.
In June 2017 we emailed ClaimFlights for an update and got a reply stating ‘I contacted Vueling but from our experience with this airline company it can take up to three months till the pre-court process is completely finished. For this reason it might take 3 months till I contact you again. Over this time I take all the necessary steps in the communication with the Airline and only contact you again after reaching an agreement and receiving the money or when our legal team decides to take your case to court.’
We again chased them in October and got the response ‘Vueling Airlines requires the following documents:
· A hand signed assignment of claim by both passengers. (Please find it attached, scan it and email it back to us)’
So we signed the document (which was dated the date that we actually originally submitted our claim!) and returned it.
In February this year we again emailed ClaimFlights asking for an update. The reply said ‘We’d like to thank you for your patience. Vueling has change its customer strategy, it is necessary with the new Vueling Policy that an official bank document that includes your IBAN, SWIFT/BIC code, or account number and passport copies should be provided. Each passenger should provide the above documents.’
We replied saying that we were a little concerned about providing a statement or such that had personal financial information on it. Their reply was ‘Concerning your bank details, only the IBAN and SWIFT/BIC code are required in order for the airline to transfer directly in case the compensation request is accepted.
This is the way Vueling is handling claims lately, these documents became an obligation for the airline to proceed.
There’s absolutely no threats with your bank details since these information can only be used for transfers to your bank account, and they’re being handled by a law firm (Claim Flights) and an airline (Vueling Airlines).
The bank details should be in an official document for your security and for the airline to proceed in total security as well.We’ve been handling claims with Vueling following their new strategies and it’s been effective as our clients have been receiving their money directly and in shorter times unlike the old procedures.’
We Googled a bit and this seemed like the normal procedure so we sent them just a letter from our bank which showed our IBAN and Swift code.
Vueling pay us compensation!
On 20th April 2018 we were pleasantly surprised when we checked our bank account as we normally do and noticed two payments of £206.83 from Vueling Airlines. The payout was 250 euros each.
But hang on, what about ClaimFlights fee?
ClaimFlights operate on a no win – no fee basis but from what we could see the payment had come directly from the airline. We waited expecting some sort of correspondence from ClaimFlights but nothing came.
So we took a look through their small print:
It was clear that ClaimFlights expected us to contact them once payment had been received and a quick Google showed that many people had got caught out months down the line by ‘no win no fee’ companies suddenly invoicing for their services. Some companies also ‘charge’ the client for not paying their fee straight away! So we decided to drop them an email in June of this year. They responded straight away with an invoice for their success and services, the total of which was 150 euros (25% success fee and 20% UK tax).
So just a warning to people who use these type of companies. Yes the process was slow but we were successful and did receive a payout, and we didn’t have to do much to get it! But if you do get compensation paid directly to you make sure you advise your claim company who will no doubt invoice you. But it’s better to know earlier than get a surprise invoice months later!
And Yes we did pay 🙂