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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: 14 Hours Delay from Dublin to Vancouver!

 
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  #1  
Old Sep 15, 2011, 3:23 AM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Hello Fellow Air Canada Survivors. I am another survivor but I'm not going down without a good fight and as a past advocate I intend to ask for compensation.

For medical reasons, I had postponed my flight back to Vancouver from Dublin . My insurance covered that - and paid Air Canada the $250 fee to do this. So........I wasn't feeling that hot when my new flight date, 5 days later arrived. However, I had to return to work. We stood in line at Dublin Airport for 2 and 1/2 hours and I learnt from the people ahead of me in the line, that the flight was delayed 12 hours. Nobody knew why, including the ground staff. An Air Canada rep would be flying to Dublin?

We were given some food vouchers and told to return 12 hours later. I phoned Air Canada in Calgary, and after a long wait, was told it was due to faulty cargo. I also learnt the flight would now be 14 hours delayed. Didn't they know all this when most of us passengers where doing our preboarding online the night before??

I checked in to an airport hotel and slept.
We arrived in Toronto, and of course my ongoing flight to Vancouver had to be changed. Air Canada provided a hotel for a brief nap. And even that was a hassle, as once again Air Canada had overbooked at some hotels and we had to wait by the shuttle buses at 4 am until they rebooked us.

The woman who checked me for the final part of this nightmare, contributed to the entire nasty experiencein the following morning. She was rude, showing no compassion or understanding.
I got home, exhausted and unable to work for another 2 days.

This is a brief description. I faxed a strong letter to Air Canada and they responded by email with an apology and a 15% discount offer.
I find this very lame! Almost a slap in the face, as it might as well be a flight sale! We were also given a sheet of paper on the plane with a $75 discount offer as a token.
So........does anyone know who the head of customer relations is? I know it is in there En Route flight magazine?
Also, is it worth pursuing further? Any advice much appreciated. I do have medical documents.
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  #2  
Old Sep 17, 2011, 11:38 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Here is the good news Jenny.... EU Regulation 261 is your best friend. You are entitled to about €600 compensation. This is cash compensation. Write to Air Canada and assert your rights under this regulation. Here is the outline of your rights:

Flights which are subject to late take-off times should also become more bearable thanks to the regulation. Depending on the flight distance and length of delay airlines must provide passengers with: free meals, drinks and two phone calls, emails, telexes or faxes; and/or compensation up to €600.

3,500km + e.g. London > New York
Delay to destination, More than 4 hours:
Compensation amount €600

Any postponements of longer than 5 hours will also make passengers eligible for a refund of the ticket (if they decide not to travel), and if it continues into the night, hotel rooms, and transfer to it, must also be provided.

You can assert your rights by contacting the airline in the first instance and demanding your rights. US & Canadian carriers have in the past tried to assert that the regulation only applies to "community carriers". This is not true if the flight originated in an EU airport. Last time I checked, Dublin was in the EU. They may also attempt to say that the delay was caused by events beyond their control, such as weather or mechanical breakdown. Whilst this excuse seems to work with the lilly-livered regulatory authorities in the US & Canada, it does not work in the EU. Neither of these excuses are valid. In fact, the volcano disruption was deemed to not be "exceptional" and required the airlines to compensate passengers.

If Air Canada fail to respond adequately, file your complaint on line here. There is a link to complain directly. They will then take it up with the airline. If this fails, go to small claims court, with the evidence the Irish regulatory authority provides that they are in breach. You will win and technically, you can instruct the bailiffs to seize a 757 until it is paid. Wouldn't that be lovely!!

http://www.aviationreg.ie/

Hope that helps.
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  #3  
Old Sep 18, 2011, 7:06 AM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Hello Jim -
Thank you so so much - You have made my day. My week!
my husband who is a family lawyer did not want to get involved and said that I didn't have anything to back me up. Now, having read your response, this is very encouraging. He is going to write an official letter to them Although, I don't think the small claims would hold here if it is an EU complaint.
I've enclosed a copy of the 2nd letter Air Canada sent to me. Talk about a lengthy letter filled with nothing!
Thank you for your email to Ms. Welscheid. It is my pleasure to respond on behalf of Air Canada.

I am sorry to learn that you were among our passengers whose travel plans were greatly disrupted due to the delay of AC859 on August 29th from Dublin to Toronto. Please accept my sincere apologies for your continued disappointment with Air Canada. Contrary to how you are now feeling, I assure you that your support is very important to us and I regret that we let you down.

In your original correspondence to our Customer Relations Department, you provided us with a very detailed and constructive account of your travel experience. You certainly did deserve a reply addressing your concerns. However, in error, this did not occur. I am sorry for our service failure and I thank you for this further opportunity to review this matter.

We do appreciate how distressing this type of delay is and endeavour to do all within our power to avoid a situation such as this one. Although our aircraft are subject to regular maintenance checks, there may be malfunctions that are identified during our pre-departure check. Before we inform passengers of a new departure time, our Maintenance Department determined how long it could take to fix the problem. At times, as was the case for the outbound flight that was to operate your flight, it took longer than initially expected. This delay is what we refer to as a ‘creeping delay’, which is the most challenging for us to handle. Our Maintenance staff firmly believe the issue can be corrected within a certain time-frame, then find it necessary to extend this as the work progresses. I must stress that the safety of our passengers and crew always supersedes all other factors and we would never do anything to jeopardize this.

Having said that, I realize it is always the manner in which we handle any disruption that leaves the greatest impression with our valued customers. Good communication and a more efficient handling of your hotel arrangements in Toronto would have gone a long way in easing your inconvenience. Please be assured, that I have documented your comments for both the Dublin and Toronto Airports for internal review.

At the time of the delay, each passenger was issued a future travel credit as a measure of goodwill, in the amount of $100.00 CAD each. Should you not have received a copy of the generic letter distributed to passengers, for your reference, I have included a copy following this email. Your individual voucher number is:


In addition to this, our Customer Relations Department provided you with another goodwill gesture with a 15% promotional code when you contacted us. I do regret that you are unhappy with the levels of goodwill compensation provided for your disrupted flight. As you can appreciate, delays and cancellations affect customers in different ways. While we in no way discount the inconvenience you experienced, our offer was intended simply as a gesture of goodwill. Therefore, we must respectfully decline your request for additional consideration in this instance.
I appreciate your feedback and realize we let you down. Your input is extremely important as it assists us in our efforts to improve our service during irregular operations. It is our hope these gestures will be seen as a genuine desire to make amends. We look to the future for an opportunity to welcome you on board again to impress you more favourably.

Sincerely,
Sheila Pennell
Air Canada Customer Relations
Executive Centre

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  #4  
Old Sep 19, 2011, 2:04 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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In fact, there is an example of someone prevailing over Delta airlines in a NY Small Claims Court, when they established that the airline was in breach of EU 261/2004. The evidence they submitted was the ruling by the Swedish Aviation Authorities that a breach of 261/2004 had occurred. The Montreal Convention also allows for the claims to be heard in the jurisdiction chosen by the plaintiff, which should be either the point of departure, point of arrival or the head office of the airline.

If you felt that Vancouver Small Claims was not the right forum, you can try and file a claim online in Ireland. Once the claim is filed, Air Canada would have 15 days to respond. Typically, the airline will settle the case before it goes to court, because it knows that it cannot prevail. You would be unlikely therefore to be required to appear. For advice on how to file your claim online in the Irish Courts, link here:

https://smallclaims.courts.ie/esmall...nguage=English
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  #5  
Old Oct 4, 2011, 4:06 PM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Hi again
I thought I'd update you again and let you know that my husband/lawyer sent a letter with all the EU regulations and requesting the 630 Euro.
We never did hear back. What do you suggest we do now? Would you know if Dublin is under the same jurisdiction as the UK? I have a relative lawyer in Manchester, who would gladly help me out I'm sure.
I'm not going to let them get away with this!
Thanks for any info?
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  #6  
Old Oct 4, 2011, 8:25 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Hi Jenny,
You can file a complaint with the Irish authorities. The link is in my first post. If that fails you will need to file a claim in Small Claims in Ireland. This can e done electronically.

http://www.courts.ie/Courts.ie/Libra...4?OpenDocument

I would try the aviation authority first. The airline will often cave in at this point.

The UK and Irish systems are not the same, so not sure your mate in Manchester can help...
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  #7  
Old Oct 4, 2011, 9:26 PM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Thanks Jim for all the help - will keep you informed. Are you knowledgable too with Hotel/Tourist Board in UK.
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  #8  
Old Oct 12, 2011, 7:16 PM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Hi Again Jim. Air Canada took their sweet time to respond. But then again they are busy denying a massive strike due to breakdowns.
Here is the response in regard to our EU complaints. - I have, in the meantime lodged a complaint with the Irish Airline Board. But what do you, or anyone else make of their "Creeping Delay"??? Many thanks. Jen
Dear Ms. Wright,

Thank you for your email.

Air Canada is committed to ensuring the common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers outlined in the European Community (EC) Regulations are adhered to. However, we respectfully submit we are not obliged to pay the compensation you mention for the disruption of flight AC895 on August 29th. The disruption of this flight was caused by extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

We understand your frustration with the situation. However, this mechanical disruption was what is referred to as a 'creeping delay'. The repair took longer than anticipated.

In addition, Article 5 stipulates that no compensation is due when a carrier is able to demonstrate that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all precautionary measures had been taken. Extraordinary circumstances are defined in the preamble of the Regulations as political instability, weather, security, safety, and strikes. All precautionary measures had been taken on this aircraft and the mechanical fault on this occasion could not be avoided. The flight could not operate safely.



Based on the above, regretfully, we are unable to offer the compensation you have requested.
We hope you are able to use the travel credit and promotional code offered as gestures of goodwill Ms. Wright and we thank you for this final review.
Sincerely,
Sheila Pennell
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  #9  
Old Oct 13, 2011, 8:42 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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This reply is disingenuous and Air Canada know perfectly well that these types of mechanical delays have been repeatedly found not to be 'extraordinary' by the courts. Make sure you submit this reply to the IAA. The courts have taken a very hard line... for example, Ryanair initially refused to pay compensation for delays relating to the Icelandic volcano. They fought every aviation authority and filed a lawsuit. They lost and they paid.

They also appear to be trying to suggest that a "creeping delay" has some special status. It has no such status... a creeping delay often occurs when the engineers initially misdiagnose the problem and find subsequently that they were wrong, or parts which were thought to be available, are not, and have to be flown in. Both are within the control of the airline.

This reply helps you. It acknowledges Air Canada's obligations to you under the act. It now comes down to whether the delay you experienced was "extraordinary". I am sure you will win this. Pursue the complaint through the IAA, but write back to Air Canada stating that you do not accept that mechanical failure amounts to extraordinary circumstances and you can cite the following court rulings.

Quote:
In the case Wallentin-Hermann v Alitalia—Linee Aeree Italiane SpA (Case C-549/07) of 22 December 2008,[2], the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled on the interpretation of Article 5 of the regulation relating to cancellations, specifically paragraph 3 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.
The Court agreed with Wallentin-Hermann that any technical issues during aircraft maintenance don’t constitute "extraordinary circumstances" that would allow airlines to avoid paying passengers compensation for canceled flights. This case therefore closed the loophole which had allowed the airlines to abuse passengers by frivolous interpretation of "technical or extraordinary circumstances"; it further defined the phrase and limited its exploitation. The definition of "technical and/or extraordinary circumstances" by the Court now stands firm and solid: any carrier must prove that the alleged mechanical problem leading to the cancellation was "beyond its actual control", the court affirmed in a statement. In its judgment, the Fourth Chamber of the Court of Justice held:
Extraordinary circumstances” was not defined in the 2004 Regulation, but the phrase was to be interpreted narrowly since article 5(3) constituted a derogation from the principle, indicated in recitals 1 and 2 of the preamble, of protection of consumers, in as much as cancellation of flights caused serious inconvenience to passengers.
Furthermore, in the joined cases of Sturgeon v Condor, and Bock v Air France (C-402/07 and C-432/07),[3] the Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice held on 19 November 2009 that despite no express provision in the Regulation to compensate passengers for delay, passengers are now entitled to the compensation as set out in Article 8 for any delay in excess of three hours providing the air carrier cannot raise a defence of "extraordinary circumstances".
"Articles 5, 6 and 7 of Regulation EC 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that passengers whose flights are delayed may be treated, for the purposes of the application of the right to compensation, as passengers whose flights are cancelled and they may thus rely on the right to compensation laid down in Article 7 of the regulation where they suffer, on account of a flight delay, a loss of time equal to or in excess of three hours, that is, where they reach their final destination three hours or more after the arrival time originally scheduled by the air carrier."[4]
The fourth Chamber also ruled 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.[5] Various passenger rights groups reported the case and encouraged passengers to bring claims against airlines in the event of a delay of over three hours.[6]
There is one other point you should make. Air Canada have failed in their legal obligation to advise you of your rights relating to cancellations and delays under 261/04. The first time you became aware of this regulation was through this website. The law requires that Air Canada provides you with a written explanation of your rights when you experience an extended delay or cancellation. You should state that you feel that Air Canada has deliberately sought to avoid their obligations under this regulation and will pursue the matter through the regulatory authorities and courts until your claim is satisfied.
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  #10  
Old Oct 14, 2011, 3:14 AM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Thanks Jim - I will be copying this to IAA - what makes me even madder is that I was too sick to fly on my scheduled date - and went to a dr - had a certificate, etc... and the insurance company changed my flight for a cost.
Air Canada must have made money by reselling my ticket.
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  #11  
Old Nov 8, 2011, 7:12 AM
victoria stiles victoria stiles is offline
 
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It is a very good news jenny. thanks for informing.
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  #12  
Old May 24, 2012, 5:55 AM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Hi Jim,
I followed up on your advice re; Ireland-Vancouver delay.

Just received a 3 page letter back from the Irish EEU Air Transportation with the decision that Air Canada is not at fault! If you send me your private email, I can scan the refusal letter. We found it extremely complicated and unsympatheitic.

So disappointing. Am wondering if you know if there is an appeal procedure, or alternatively, I would even consider a contingency lawyer in Ireland, although not sure how to go about it?
Any ideas much appreciated.

Best regards, Jenny
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  #13  
Old May 24, 2012, 6:43 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Very surprised given the circumstances. I have PM'd you my email, and will investigate if you have any further options.
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  #14  
Old Jul 15, 2013, 10:09 AM
mayfam mayfam is offline
 
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Clearly I'm late reading and jumping into this one. But I'm wondering if the airline could have offloaded the so-called faulty cargo, and thus eliminated most or all of the delay. They frequently offload baggage when the passenger isn't onboard, which is some acknowledgment that "offloading" is pretty standard.

In other words, even if faulty cargo is unusual, the failure to remove it and operate the flight may make them liable for compensation?
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  #15  
Old Sep 1, 2013, 8:47 PM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Hello Jim and everyone else.

I was in the UK this year and understand from speaking to friends that there have been updates and that the EU now enforces airlines with long delays to compensate.

Is this correct, and if so, am I still in the position to re-open my case, after 2 dormant years.
I have NOT forgotten my 14 hour delay!


Thanks in advance, from Jenny W
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 2:35 AM
mayfam mayfam is offline
 
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I am trying to help a friend approach the question of compensation when BA 2167 (LGW to TPA) was cancelled on June 1. He was put on other flights and arrived home 27 hours late. No reason was given for the cancellation at the time. He lined up for 4 hours just to get rebooked, and getting home was his priority at the time.

Since then he has written to BA, and been told "no compensation". Cancellation was apparently due to an "accident" not caused by BA, and therefore an extraordinary circumstance.

This information may well be correct. But lots of hypothetical possibilities remain. Just two examples, could the accident have ocurred a few flights earlier, and the plane taken out of service at BA's convenience when it could have been repaired earlier? Was the accident so minor that it was not dispatch-critical (i.e., the plane was legally flyable per the MEL), and BA just chose to repair it then also at their convenience.

My friend has written to BA and asked for answers like this, starting with the date and time and place and nature of the accident. But they've not replied to him.

So here's my question . . . how does one find out the date and time and place and nature of an accident? I've been unable to find anything on the web beyond the fact that the flight was cancelled, and that the return flight (TPA-LGW, which was also cancelled) did qualify for compensation. I have not even been bale to find the registration number of the airplane.

So . . . the first need is for information on how to get at the facts here.

Thanks for any help!
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 6:57 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Write to the CAA and appeal the airline's decision. You can do that at the following address. I would put in your complaint that BA have failed to adequately provide any details which would allow you to verify te claim. Write to the

Passenger Complaints Unit
Civil Aviation Authority
CAA House
45-59 Kingsway
London WC2B 6TE

Tel: +44 20 7453 6888
Fax: +44 20 7240 7071
e-mail: [email protected]


Jenny
There has been further clarification of the law. Air Canada's denial could potentially be revisited. It might be worth re-writing to the IAA. I read recently of claims as old as 4 years ago against Monarch were re-opened and they were forced to pay after denying claims on "extraordinary circumstances" repeatedly.

Jim
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  #18  
Old Sep 2, 2013, 5:23 PM
mayfam mayfam is offline
 
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Thanks for the advice, Jim.
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  #19  
Old Sep 2, 2013, 5:27 PM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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THANK YOU so much for your reply JIM. Hope you are keeping well.


I looked up IAA and its listed as an Automobile Association.?? what does it stand for?

Mayfam - I took on/advocated British Airways for my sister and husband - it worked out well. I can send you the correspondence and contacts if you like.

Thx
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  #20  
Old Sep 3, 2013, 5:40 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Sorry, I was thinking of the Irish Avaition Authority, but you would complaint back to the Aviation regulator, which is

Commission for Aviation Regulation
3rd Floor
Alexandra House
Earlsfort Terrace
IE - DUBLIN 2
Tel
. : +353-(0) 1-6611700

Fax
: +353-(0) 1-6611269 (General)

www.aviationreg.ie
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  #21  
Old Sep 3, 2013, 6:03 AM
jenny w jenny w is offline
 
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Thanks so much Jim
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