‘I’ve lost £880 because easyJet and Gatwick are arguing over who’s at fault’

In May this year, 41-year-old Andrés Corin was boarding an easyJet flight to Nice, France, after a three-hour delay at the airport. But while he and his family were queuing at the airbridge, the flight was cancelled.

“People had already boarded the plane and when they canceled it, they sat down. No one could get a straight answer from EasyJet on what was going on,” Mr Koren said.

It came 24 hours after a software glitch forced the airline to cancel nearly 200 flights across the country, for which it had encouraged passengers to claim compensation as per standard regulations.

The family postponed the holiday and a refund was issued to cover the cost of a return taxi from the airport, with EasyJet paying £76 in compensation.

But Mr Curran’s claim for compensation of £880 – £220 per family member booked on the flight – was rejected by easyJet, which blamed the failure on an “unusual event” beyond its control. stayed The airline said the delays and cancellations were a result of air traffic control issues at Gatwick, for which it is not liable to pay compensation.

An easyJet spokesman said: “We regret that Mr Koren’s flight was canceled due to delays due to air traffic control restrictions, which forced our staff to work beyond their maximum security hours. reached

“While this was beyond our control, we apologize for the inconvenience caused to customers.”

But when OlxPraca contacted Gatwick Airport, a spokesman said air traffic control restrictions were in place for only two short periods of arrival flights that day.

He added: “The impact on flights was underestimated, so it would be surprising if that was the main reason for this canceled flight.”

It’s a standoff that traps thousands of travelers in the middle of every year. Passengers can claim compensation once a flight is delayed by more than three hours or canceled at short notice, but only if this is due to a problem within the airline’s control, such as technical Problems and breakdowns of the aircraft.

But in the event of an “extraordinary event”, such as security, natural disasters and air traffic control problems, the airline is absolved of liability and customers have no recourse.

Consumer rights expert Frank Brehany said: “The excuse of extraordinary circumstances is not designed to provide cover for any reason – the defense is intended to cover events that could not have been foreseen or foreseen. “

Passengers claim the airlines have added insult to injury by ignoring their requests for compensation for months. Mr Koren said he chased easyJet for a response after 45 days, despite the company’s terms and conditions requiring it to respond within 28 days.

Mr Hobbs said the Civil Aviation Authority, the regulator, needed stronger powers and a new ombudsman to mediate disputes.