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COMPLAINT: LOT Polish Airlines owes me 600E for canceled flight - wont pay!

 
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Old Sep 17, 2013, 3:41 PM
LuisBoston LuisBoston is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Howdy. I am new here and need some help. I need to contact the Polish Airline Regulators as well as the European Commission regulators because LOT Polish Airlines is screwing me out of my due payment of 600E for a canceled flight on July 3. I have made two attempts to get my compensation, but all they are offering me is a 20% off coupon on a future LOT flight. They don't even fly to my city!

Here's what my original email to lot passenger claims:

I was told to write to this email to request compensation of 600 euros for my canceled/delayed flight from Toronto to Warsaw on July 3 per EC Regulation 261/2004. Below is a description of my travel nightmare.

I arrived on 03 July in Toronto via Air Canada Flight 359 from Boston. I was happy and looking forward to my first flight on the 787. I arrived at the gate in Toronto at 4pm and waited. And waited some more. I understood the flight was slightly delayed. The departure board did not indication any other problems with the flight and there was no representative from LOT at the gate. I waited until after 6pm to finally hear from another passenger who called LOT that our flight was canceled. I did not receive any information regarding delays or cancellations from Air Canada.

I went to the ticket counter to be told that we would not be leaving until the next day at 4pm, almost 24 hours of delay. Due to this, I am entitled to a 600 Euro compensation per EC regulations.

I am further upset with LOT for the following reasons.

Upon leaving the Toronto airport, I was told I had a seat on the flight from Warsaw to Athens the following day (05 July). I arrived early on 04 July to check in to Warsaw only to wait 2.5 hours in line! What a mess the wait was in Toronto. Finally we left Toronto after 6pm on 04 July.

Upon arrival in Warsaw I was told to leave security and re-check my bag. I did this and ran to the gate for my flight to Athens. Upon arriving at the gate, I was told there was no seat for me and there were no other options that day to get to Athens. I was told to see a customer service agent.

The customer service agent was pleasant, but told me I would need to go to Larnaca at 10PM and then to Athens at 530AM, arriving in Athens a full 42 hours after my original schedule! She did offer me a voucher for 400 euros as compensation.

After showering and collecting my voucher, I arrived at the gate to Larnaca at 9pm. Before boarding, my name was called and I was asked by a "manager" for the 400 euro compensation back! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Never in my life has a company asked for me to give them something back that they gave me. The manager gave me a sad story of how the agent who issued the voucher would have to pay for it. What kind of customer service is this?!?! I feel like I was singled out for this terrible action (other customers who received vouchers for 400 euros were NOT asked for the money back). I should have refused, but I gave the money back and was told to write this letter because I was actually entitled to the 600 euro compensation due to the originally delayed/canceled flight.

I am beyond disappointed with my experience on LOT. I lost 42 hours of my vacation. Spent an inordinate amount of time in airports and in line. And I was treated with the utmost is disrespect by your agents in Warsaw.

I hope your customer service can make my terrible feeling towards LOT Polish Airlines go away.

They responded:

We were concerned to read about the inconvenience you experienced due to the disruption of the flight LO 042 from Toronto to Warsaw on 3rd of July 2013.

We recognise that our customers expect their flights to operate as scheduled and we make every effort to prevent any irregularity. Unfortunately, however, mechanical malfunction, adverse weather, air traffic congestion, etc., can and do interfere with the operation of all airlines at times.

Kindly be informed that in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 a carrier is not obliged to pay a compensation in the event of flight cancellation if it was caused by reasons beyond its control. Unexpected flight safety shortcomings, which affected the operation, are listed as one of such factors in recital 14 in the preamble to the Regulation.

We appreciate that you did not receive the expected level of service and must apologise profusely for the poor impression you were left with. Please be advised that the voucher for 400 EUR was issued due to the agent mistake. According to the existing regulations passenger is entitled to denied boarding compensation only if he or she has a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned. Since you were only waitlisted for the flight LO 603 form Warsaw to Athens on 5th July 2013 you are not entitled to such compensation.

As a token of our regret and a gesture of goodwill, please allow us to offer you a 20 percent fare discount on a return economy class ticket on any route operated regularly by LOT Polish Airlines. Please be informed the discount does not apply to internet fares, additional fees and taxes. The offer is valid for one year, from the date of the letter and can be finalised in a LOT office only. When you decide to purchase the discounted tickets, please contact our call center giving the following case number HMCC-4357/13-MMK as a reference.

Despite your disappointment on this occasion, we hope that the impression left by this situation will not be permanent and your future travels will be satisfactory in every respect.

To which I submitted a further claim:
Thank you for addressing my claim and reasonably trying to explain the situation. I believe that your airline is still liable under the EC regulation and that mechanical issues with the aircraft are not sufficient to deny compensation under the Regulation. I understand you are referring to Article 7, which states:
An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.



Still, my research shows that mechanical issue with an aircraft is not an extraordinary circumstance, which would mean terrorism, weather or air traffic control.


The Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice held on 19 November 2009 in Sturgeon v Condor, and Bock v Air France (C-402/07 and C-432/07), that


"under the definition of "extraordinary circumstances", technical faults within an aircraft should not be included and therefore an air carrier cannot rely on a technical fault within an aircraft as a defence from a valid claim under the Regulation."


Due to this ruling, I am entitled to the full 600 Euro compensation from LOT. If upon further review, you do not find in my favour, I will submit my claim to the Polish Civil Aviation Office and the European Commission.


Further, I was guarateed by your agents in Warsaw that I was entitled to the full 600 Euros in their attempt to retrieve the 400 Euros they inadvertently gave me. I acted in very good faith, and now I do not think LOT is treating the same way.


Thank you for your further review.

And now received this response:
We are very sorry to learn that you find our reply unsatisfactory. Rest assured we fully realise the inconvenience you experienced due to the irregularity of our flight LO 042 from Toronto to Warsaw on 3rd July 2013.

Although we endeavour to resolve such matters amicably, we also realise that this may not always be possible, and a review of the situation has not changed our response.

We would like to emphasise that in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 a carrier is not obliged to pay a compensation in the event of flight cancellation if it was caused by reasons beyond its control. Kindly be informed that unexpected flight safety shortcomings are listed as one of such factors in recital 14 in the preamble to the Regulation.

Please be also advised that European Commission has published a more detailed list of extraordinary circumstances, which is available on the following website:



The technical fault of the aircraft planned to operate the flight was detected prior to departure. It was unavoidable and could have impinged on flight safety, what indicates extraordinary circumstances which exempt the carrier from the obligation to pay compensation.

Once again we apologise for agent mistake and we hope to have your understanding of our position in this matter.

However, given the inconvenience of scheduled our flights, we reiterating our discount offer submitted in previous correspondence.

Upon reading the link they sent me, it is clear it's not a binding opinion of the European Commission. Further, the airline's employee ("Manager") then flat out lied to me when she told me to file this claim. I know I should never have surrendered the 400E they gave me in cash but I trusted them and believed I was due the 600E compensation, and I still do.

I want to submit my claim to the proper authorities in Poland and at the EC. Does anyone have their contact information?

Thanks,
Luis
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  #2  
Old Sep 17, 2013, 3:52 PM
LuisBoston LuisBoston is offline
 
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here is the link
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/doc/neb-extraordinary-circumstances-list.pdf
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  #3  
Old Sep 17, 2013, 3:59 PM
LuisBoston LuisBoston is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3

I think I found how to complain:

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens...er-rights/air/
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