TUI, one of the United Kingdom’s biggest holiday brands, has come under fire for rejecting compensation claims citing unfair reasons. However, TUI isn’t alone – Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet have also been called out for doing the same.
According to EU regulations, passengers on flights that are late to their destination by 3 hours or more can claim compensation for the delay. The minimum claim value is €250 (£220) for shorter delays, while the maximum amount goes all the way up to €600 (£530) for extended delays.
The only exception to this rule is an “extraordinary circumstance,” i.e., a scenario wherein the carrier does not have any control of the situation causing the delay. For example, bad weather and ATC strikes.
However, faults, such as technical faults, are believed to be under the flight’s control and therefore, valid for making claims.
The Claims Process
Airlines encourage passengers to submit claims directly, instead of going through claims processing firms, which are known to charge about 1/3rd of the compensation payout. However, many carriers and travel companies are beginning to exploit this practice.
TUI is believed to have refused around 70% of the legitimate claims made by passengers until court proceedings were issued.
According to a claims processing firm, only 29 of every 100 claims are successfully settled before court proceedings are issued. If airlines comply with the law for all payouts, the need for court proceedings would be unnecessary.
The firm added that it was understandable for airlines to assess each claim on an individual basis. However, the firm added, that it was not right for the firms to reject eligible claims by citing false reasons, which is exactly what a lot of carriers are doing. In some cases, the carriers were even caught paying compensation to informed passengers, while rejecting claims made by uninformed ones.
The firm believes that this is unfair on a fundamental level.
Passengers Speak Out
A passenger named Tara Bentley told the media that TUI responded to her delay claim by citing that the delay was caused by unruly passengers – an extraordinary circumstance. However, Tara says that this was completely false.
She immediately sent out a detailed reply and even went down to the TUI office. However, at the office, she was simply told to send out another email. But, after doing so, she was still told that the claim could not be approved.
A spokesperson from TUI apologized, stating that the company was sorry to hear about claims being rejected wrongfully. The spokesperson added that TUI was doing everything possible to minimize delays and that the claims process was reviewed on a continual basis.
According to the spokesperson, TUI believes that money owed to the passenger must go to them in its entirety, implying that passengers continue to submit claims to them directly instead of going to third-party agencies.
EasyJet was noted for having the second-highest proportion of claims that were processed after court proceedings began. However, the carrier insists that the majority of its claims are processed without the involvement of courts.