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Son bumped off overbooked flight.

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Son bumped off overbooked flight.

Old 8th Aug 2010, 14:32
  #1 (permalink)  
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Son bumped off overbooked flight.

My son was due to fly from Manchester to Toronto this morning with Thomas Cook, he arrived at checkin two and a half hours before the flight to be told it was overbooked and it was unlikely he would fly today. This has proved to be the case, and he is re-booked for tomorrow. There were approximately 30 passengers over booked on this flight and a similar number for a Thomas Cook flight to Calgary.

Are Thomas Cook any worse than other airlines for this, my son had paid in full for his tickes more than a month before departure.... and does anybody have email details for the most senior person at TCX in order that a blunt letter of complaint be sent.
Dogwatch is offline  
Old 8th Aug 2010, 15:16
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When my sister flew Glasgow/Toronto last month on Thos Cook the flight was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to offload.
My niece who travelled the next day reported that her flight was also overbooked.
It seems odd to overbook flights like these as there are unlikely to be many no-shows.
I hope the passenger received adequate compensation.
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Old 8th Aug 2010, 16:18
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It is true that there may not be many no-shows, but maybe they are counting on, or afraid of, people being bumped off due to no-fly lists.
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Old 8th Aug 2010, 17:06
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Was he given / offered care and compensation?

Under Regulation EC 261/2004 passengers who are denied boarding are entitled to two things:

Care - meals/drinks/hotel accommodation in relation to the delay. If he has kept his receipts for any/all of the above he should claim for this. Even if he doesn't have receipts he should claim - for reasonable amounts. Some airlines try and avoid paying at place of departure, arguing that the passenger could simply go home - but this is not considered in the Regulation - your son should not be out of pocket for the airline's failing.

Compensation - For a 'long-haul' journey this would be euro600. There is no 'extra-ordinary circumstance' exception for over sales. They are required to pay, no ifs, no ands, no buts.

The airline should have first sought volunteers, i.e. people who were prepared to give up their seat. What the deal is between the passenger and the airline is not fixed - it's whatever they can agree between the two parties. If TCX did not seek volunteers (and it sounds like they didn't) they are in breach of the Regulation. In the UK the NEB (National Enforcement Body) is the Airport Users Council. This is to whom a complaint should be submitted. While your son won't get anything out of this, the AUC (part of the CAA) does have the power to fine the airline for breaching the regulation. However, faced with a threat, it is more likely they will apply the Regulation in the future.

Good luck, and keep us posted on what happens.
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Old 8th Aug 2010, 18:29
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Canadian Affair overbook, not Thomas Cook, the aircraft are fully chartered by C/A who do all the selling and the overbooking. Same with the Air Transat flights that are regularly overbooked so any compensation / care would be provided by C/A, not the airlines!
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Old 8th Aug 2010, 18:42
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You do not seem to understand the regulation.

It is the airline who is liable.
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Old 8th Aug 2010, 18:59
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The airline's inventory system reports 'x' seats saleable to the distribution system or agent. 'x' will invariably include a percentage to allow for no-shows, misconnections, etc, although as someone else said the percentage should be pretty low on that type of flight.

The distribution system will book 'x' bums on 'x' seats. If 'x' was incorrect and resulted in bumping then it is the airline that is responsible.

The airline has systems or people to make the decisions regarding overbooking and mostly they get it right. Sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes the number of seats changes due to circumstances unforeseen or beyond the control of the carrier, for example MTOW restrictions, a configuration change, having to accommodate passenger who misconnected from an earlier flight, and so on.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 10:01
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Anyone know if the budgets such as Ryanair and Easyjet overbook? Presumably their no-shows are considerably less than the industry average...
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 12:33
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Oldlag53, I would imagine that since the fares are non-refundable they have no need to overbook. The seat is paid for whether the passenger turns up or not.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 12:48
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Knowing Thomas Cook's business I would expect them to get maybe one or two no shows per flight, and quite often zero. To have 30 sounds like an aircraft type (or configuration) substitution.

I think some of the comments above are from those who are writing about mainstream scheduled services, where you can get a lot of no-shows (eg booked 75 over on a 747, still finally went out with a few empty seats). This is not that type of operation.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 17:27
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TCX are a charter airline and so do not sell the seats or overbook, this is done by the tour operator, in this instance Canadian Affair. If you are talking about the TCX5K this was meant to be operated by a 757-200 with 187 seats, and if an aircraft change was done it would have been to a 757-200 with 235 seats, which have subbed in a number of times for the 187 seaters and so would have more than enough seats to carry everybody. If the aircraft had of been downgraded then of course TCX would have required volunteers for offload but that is not the case, Canadian Affair needed to offload as they had oversold. I have know C/A overbook the 187 seaters by 9 before so maybe 30 on a larger aircraft isn't so unbelievable! And as I said before, C/A would provide the compensation/welfare and rebooking, not TCX.

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Old 9th Aug 2010, 17:40
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MarkBHX, for your information

From EU Reg 261/2004, applicable to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the EC Treaty applies.

Denied boarding
When an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it first calls for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for certain benefits. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers to board the flight, the air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will, in which case it must compensate them.
Air carriers give priority to persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.
In the event of flight cancellation or denied boarding, the passengers concerned have the right to:
  • reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
  • care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);
  • compensation totalling:
- EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
- EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
- EUR 600 for all other flights.
As you can see, the regulation is not concerned with why the denied boarding happened, only with the process and compensation.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 17:43
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Without wishing to labour this too much. Its the airline which eventually provides the seat. Ít's the airline to whom you complain at the ticket desk if they (illegitimately) deny you boarding. It's the airline to which the regulation applies. If, subsequently they find themselves out of pocket because their charterer overbooked the flight and they had to compensate passengers, then they will have to go after the charterer for recompense.

After all if the a/c went tech and the airline was forced to substitute a smaller a/c and couldn't carry the load that they had contracted to carry-it's the airline who will compensate you.


Last edited by Sygyzy; 9th Aug 2010 at 17:44. Reason: spelling
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 18:16
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And for the pedants among us, the relevant definitions in the regulation are

For the purposes of this Regulation:
(a) ‘air carrier’ means an air transport undertaking with a valid
operating licence;
(b) ‘operating air carrier’ means an air carrier that performs or
intends to perform a flight under a contract with a
passenger or on behalf of another person, legal or natural,having a contract with that passenger;

Thus confirming that it is the air carrier, not the tour operator / charter company which is liable.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 18:51
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Now why didn't I find that
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 19:37
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Also note:

Article II paragraphs 5 & 6:
Where an operating air carrier which has no contract with the passenger performs obligations under this Regulation, it shall be regarded as doing so on behalf of the person having a contract with that passenger.
6. This Regulation shall not affect the rights of passengers under Directive 90/314/EEC. This Regulation shall not apply in cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than cancellation of the flight.
and of course ... Article XII
In cases where an operating air carrier pays compensation or meets the other obligations incumbent on it under this Regulation, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting its right to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the law applicable. In particular, this Regulation shall in no way restrict the operating air carrier's right to seek reimbursement from a tour operator or another person with whom the operating air carrier has a contract. Similarly, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting the right of a tour operator or a third party, other than a passenger, with whom an operating air carrier has a contract, to seek reimbursement or compensation from the operating air carrier in accordance with applicable relevant laws.
Which basically says the airline applies the Regulation, but has the right to 'seek reimbursement' from the tour operator.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 11:31
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Thank you to all above who have provided links to rules and regs etc, an update so far;

Canadian Affairs have now offered my son a complimentary return flight from Man to Toronto, but have specified a window when he can use it next year.
This is not acceptable, he is in the military and will be in a hot and sandy place that neither TCX or CA fly to.

My son is in touch with a fellow passenger who was also bumped off the flight, she has already received her cheque from CA for 600 Euros.

A rejection email and a copty of the above regs will be returned to CA.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 12:01
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Onya Dogwatch.

Best of luck to your son.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 14:49
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Don't forget that if there is any shilly-shallying about paying the full amount due under the regulations the next stop is the Small Claims procedure, without wasting time on angry letters/emails etc.

The carrier must discharge its responsibilities within the shortest reasonable time which, when the reason for the payment is undisputable by the carrier as this case is, is a matter of days rather than weeks.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 15:57
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As ExxB said in an ealier post, the legislation gives no extraordinary reason why compensation is not due.

Therefore you son should write to TCX, who should have paid 600€ within 7 days and tell them to pay by return or it is the County Court (small claims.)

Then he can negotiate with Canadian Affair on their 'goodwill gesture' of free flights and seek a window that works for him.

The tour operator offering a 'ex gratia' accomodation does not release the carrier from paying the statutory compensation.

Good luck to your son and much respect to him for being in the 'thin red line.'
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