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BMI Baby: Madrid - Manchester, Cancelled last night.

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Hi all, the CAG isn't new to me, but I'm new to the forum. :-)


I'm pretty irate about how BMI Baby treated myself and fellow passengers last night and could use some advice, please!


Our flight was scheduled to leave at 18:25 last night, we were told it was delayed for several hours and they finally admitted that it would not be flying at about 10 or 11pm.


There was no offer of accommodation or help with finding alternative flights. We were told there was no BMI flight until Monday morning (though, looking at their timetable, it looks like they fly Sunday night too) and hurried out of the building by airport staff.


I can only imagine (hope?) a full refund for the flight will be forthcoming but I am interested in pursuing them for some compensation. We ended up booking a flight, through Ryanair, to Liverpool at the cost of another 80 quid. Others booking onto the same flight half an hour later were paying upwards of £300. It seems only fair to me that we are reimbursed!


Anyway.. here is the relevant section from the T/C's:





9.2.1 We will take all necessary measures to avoid delay in carrying you and your baggage. In the exercise of these measures and in order to prevent a flight cancellation, in exceptional circumstances we may arrange for a flight to be operated on our behalf by an alternative carrier and/or aircraft.



9.2.2 Except as otherwise provided by the Convention, if we cancel a flight, fail to operate a flight reasonably according to the schedule or, fail to stop at your destination, we shall, at your option, either: carry you at the earliest opportunity on another of our scheduled services on which space is available without additional charge and, where necessary, extend the validity of your Ticket; or within a reasonable period of time re-route you to the destination shown on your Ticket or an alternative destination acceptable to you by our own services without additional charge.; or make a refund in accordance with the provisions of Article 10.2.



9.2.3 Upon the occurrence of any of the events set out in Article 9.2.2, except as otherwise provided by the Convention, the options outlined in Article through are the sole and exclusive remedies available to you and we shall have no further liability to you.



9.2.4 If we are unable to provide previously confirmed space, we shall provide compensation to those Passengers denied boarding in accordance with applicable law and our denied boarding compensation policy.



Details of our denied boarding policy can be obtained at the check-in desk.

9.2.3 sounds pretty grim, I know.


The bit I've highlighted, I'm unsure if it's relevant and, if so, what it means? If anyone can shed any light on that, I'd much appreciate it!


Looking at the Civil Aviation Authoritiy's website, I've got this:


Financial compensation is due unless you were informed 14 days before the flight, or you were rerouted close to your original times, or the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
However, in the airport we were handed a sheet of paper listing their definitions of extraordinary circumstances. Those being; "meteorological conditions, flight security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings, strikes, political instability, or air traffic management decisions".


We were told that it was a technical fault with the aircraft and I'm concerned that this falls under "unexpected safety shortcomings". I don't think it was as extra-ordinary all that!


It only gives us the option to rebook (within 7 days for travel within 21 days) or cancel, but I think trying to book 100 people onto the next available flight on Sunday night would have been a pretty unreasonable suggestion!!


Anyone got any thoughts?!




Tim :-)

(Apologies for the heavy reading!)

Edited by orwell84
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Looking into.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.



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Thanks Martin.


I just came across this page - www . caa . co . uk /default.aspx?catid=306&pagetype=90&pageid=9367


...which defines 'extra ordinary' circumstances in line with how BMI Baby do. I imagine compensation might become difficult, as they will say our technical fault falls under 'unexpected flight safety shortcomings'..?


(It seems to me that these 'extra-ordinary' circumstances cover just about all the ordinary cases in which a flight might be cancelled. I'd argue it's up to them to keep their aircraft in good repair!)


Of interest are the entitlements towards the bottom of that page, though.


We were offered a sandwich and a drink in the 5 or so hours up to them admitting the flight was cancelled. During that time, a lot of people had already spent a fair amount on overpriced food.


We were also offered no accommodation or transfers. (Older folks and children sleeping on the airport floor - delightful.)


If we chose to reschedule with BMI, we would be there until Sunday night (in the very best case!). In this case, the provision would be woefully inadequate.


We were also not offered (but we did not ask for) phone calls. We probably spent about 10 quid trying to get the Ryanair flights booked.

Edited by orwell84
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My daughter was on the same flight. She was absolutely broke (the end of a music festival), with 42p to her name. She is a 1st year Uni student so didn't even have a credit card. We got to Manchester airport and knew before you guys (at 08.30pm) that the flight had been cancelled. The help-desk guy at Manchester even phoned BMI up because we knew she was broke, and reassured us BMI would look after them and pay for accommodation/and rebook their flights. My daughter called us to tell us she (and a couple of others) had been offered hospitality by some bloke they met at the airport - WHAT - NIGHTMARE!!! This guy ended up being a star and put them up for the night, fed them, paid for tube fares, helped them rebook flights (because he had internet). You're right about the flight prices hiking up - Easyjet was 80 euro when we looked, but by the time she booked (with our credit card) the price had gone up to 120 euro. I cannot believe in this day and age how BMI can get away with something like this, and only refunding the ticket price. Anyway I'll keep an eye on what happens here, because I'm 120 euro down, BUT things could have been a lot worse if the good samaritan hadn't been 'good'. Cheers Rob

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I'm glad that worked out reasonably for your daughter Rob! I'm not surprised she was skint - drinks were not cheap at that festival!


I've not written to BMI yet, but when I do I'll be arguing the case for compensation. I had my wallet pinched in Madrid, so our flights were all booked by a mate back home. I hope that doesn't get in the way!


I wonder if you knowing about the cancellation by 8.30 detracts any from the idea that this was an 'unexpected' safety shortcoming. Certainly makes it more of an annoyance!



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Hi everyone....


Firstly, for flight delays and cancellations, please check out the Flightmole website where you'll find heaps of information regarding how to claim compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.


Regarding cancellations due to technical problems, these do not all fall into the category of extraordinary circumstances.


It is up to the Airline to prove that the technical fault is extraordinary and not to claim that all faults are extraordinary and therefore, do not attract compensation. The explanation you were given was misleading and by law, you should have been given an explanation of your rights under EU261/2004 which includes the right to be given a refund, flown to your destination via another route/carrier and offered compensation.


I have been through all of this recently and today, finally received 250 Euros compensation (the legal entitlement under EU 261/2004) from an airline who initially claimed a last-minute flight cancellation due to a technical fault was an extraordinary circumstance. After writing several letters and then filing a claim at the small claims court (filed online for £25), the airline filed their defense - a week later, they paid up in full because they didn't want to go to Court.


You may need to take it this far with some airlines but please do not be put off. It will probably involve writing a few letters, filing a Court action and being patient (it took 5-6 months for me to be reimbursed) but it will pay off in the end.



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Hi Mike,


Very encouraging story, thanks for that! I'll see what I can manage. :-)


If you fancy passing on any of the letters you sent, I'd be very interested and most grateful!





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Whilst this may seem draconian to some, we have always resisted the use of PMs to exchange information of this nature.


The primary reason being that using documents to challenge a legal position etc should be open to scrutiny - letters that can be used as a template can be shown on the forum and, where appropriate, could be added to our template library for everyone to use.


This is not intended to highlight a problem with the letters being discussed here, per se, simply a general position.


In short - be aware of communication by PM.




Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.



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Whilst this may seem draconian to some, we have always resisted the use of PMs to exchange information of this nature.


Point taken.


Actually, I fully intend to post the letters I send to BMI in this thread (hopefully with Mikee's permission, assuming I use any of his text). I'll also be posting a synopsis of any responses I get, and look forward to the input of those more experienced CAG forum users!


I just didn't want to publish my email address and thought Mike might find it easier to send a collection of pdfs or Word docs. :-)


Anyway, while I'm at it, one of the issues Mike mentioned to me via PM is the level of information given to us at the time and BMI giving their own interpretation of EC 241/2004 rather than the text of the regulation itself.


I thought they might have covered themselves reasonably well on that front but maybe not! They handed us this on their headed paper:


Dear Passenger,


We deeply regret that your flight has been cancelled.


Rest assured that we have taken all possible measures to minimise this inconvenience.


All cancellations for reasons of extra-ordinary circumstances such as meteorological conditions, flight security reisks, unexpected flight safety shortcommings, strikes, political instability or air traffic management decisions are exempt of compensation payments.


We will do our upmost to transport you to your destination as soon as is practically possible.


Nevertheless you are free to change your travel plans; either


- you have 7 days to rebook for travel within 21 days subject to availability, or


- you can choose to cancel your reservation.


To change your reservation please contact........blah

Of course, we were then just thrown out of the airport with not a BMI Baby representative in sight!


I'll draft a letter today and post it in this thread later. On Mike's advice, I'm initially going to simply ask for my compensation without listing their miryad of failures. I'll come back to the thread with their defence.


Thanks all,



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OK, back again. Apologies for my consistently-lengthy and now back-to-back posts. :-)


The text of the letter I'm planning to send is below:


Dear Sir/Madam,


I am writing regarding the cancellation of my flight from Madrid to Manchester (WW3584) on 25th July 2008.


Passengers were notified of this cancellation several hours after the flight was due to depart, having previously been advised of an ongoing delay due to a technical fault. No other aircraft was available to operate the service and therefore I was forced to take an alternative flight to Liverpool.


I eventually arrived in Manchester at 09:00, 13 hours behind schedule. This was at significant extra cost and inconvenience to myself.


Under EU Regulation 261/2004, I am entitled to claim compensation for the inconvenience and costs associated with the cancellation of my flight. As the flight was up to 1500km in length and my delay to destination was more than two hours, I request that BMI Baby compensate me the sum of €250, as laid down in EU Regulation 261/2004.


In addition, I require a full refund of €100.20 for the two tickets I purchased, including the taxes and duties, to which I am entitled. Should you wish to charge administration costs for this refund, I would also request that you issue me with a breakdown of how this cost is derived. This should include stationery, postage and minutes of staff time used in processing the request.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours faithfully,


T xxx

There are two aspects of it that I would appreciate some input on:


Firstly, am I pushing my luck with the admin fee thing in the final paragraph? I intend to argue that they're excessive and unlawful, bank charge style.


Secondly, I'm a bit unsure how to structure my 'attack'! I'm going to take this job on for the 3 of us who traveled together. I bought 2 of the tickets on my card and the other fella bought his own.


I'm thinking of sending the letter above, another one signed by the guy who's ticket I bought, just asking for the 250 compensation and a further letter from the other chap asking for his refund and compensation.


Does that seem logical, or should I ask for 500 compensation in this letter, or even lump all 3 together?


Many thanks, all...



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Hi Tim/all,


Personally, I would not mention anything about administration costs in your letter as it gives them an opportunity to pay you less. Even if they did deduct admin costs, I don't believe this would stand up in court since you are the one who has been financially affected. Besides, there is nothing in the Regulation which allows an airline to deduct such costs.


As you have already done, just request the compensation due under 261/2004 and a full refund of your costs. I would take copies of your receipts and send the letter + receipts via recorded delivery so that you have proof they arrived at BMI.


See what their response is and we can take it from there. I agree it would be best to post the progress here so that others can see how things are progressing which might help in members own claims.


Regarding claiming on behalf of multiple people, I think it would be better to make individual claims. I think airlines would be more prepared to go to court and defend a "large" claim rather than a "small" one. To defend multiple small claims at different courts may be difficult to justify financially for an airline....maybe others have a view on this but this is the reason Air France decided to pay me compensation rather than go to court.



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What happened about accommodation? I assume you took the Ryanair flight the following morning? If you had to pay for overnight accommodation then this needs to be included in your claim.


Having re-read your draft letter, I would also remove the reference to "no other aircraft available to operate the service". Let BMI state this.


The Regulation gives you the option of taking an alternative flight (on another airline) to get you to your destination earlier than BMI's own flights but this choice wasn't offered to you at the time of cancellation - another failure of BMI to adhere to the rules.


The letter they gave you is a poor interpretation of the Regulation and is basically incorrect. To state that "extra-ordinary circumstances such as meteorological conditions, flight security reisks, unexpected flight safety shortcommings, strikes, political instability or air traffic management decisions are exempt of compensation payments" is incorrect.


Again, there are a catalogue of failures to adhere to the Regulation which you could base your case around but it's best to see BMI's response before getting into the nitty-gritty!



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Thanks again for your input. I've been away from my computer for a day or so! I will put letters in post today with suggested amendments.


With regards to accommodation, everyone 'slept' on the airport floor. I read something on flightmole saying, if you sleep on the airport floor then you've squandered your opportunity for an expenses-paid trip to the Hilton and you can't go after that money retrospectively! If only we'd known our rights eh!


It was a very difficult (impossible?) night to get accommodation in Madrid anyway, as it was a national holiday and people had flocked to the city. BMI didn't use this excuse though. They were silent on the matter.



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I think the silence from BMI and total disregard for the well being of its passengers can only strengthen your case for compensation. Naturally there is no compensation due for hotel accommodation that you did not take so in fact, BMI has already saved itself a pot of money by not abiding by the "duty of care" obligation, afforded to passengers under the Montreal Convention and also under EU Regulation 241/2004.


Of course, this can be brought into the "negotiations" with BMI if their response to your next letter is not favourable.



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Of course, this can be brought into the "negotiations" with BMI if their response to your next letter is not favourable.


I like that thought. I'm almost excited about drafting a response to their stock 'get lost' letter. :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...


Did you send the letter off to BMI, my daughter is holding back from sending anything until we see what you have sent. If you have sent it, it would be very helpful if you could post on here what you sent .

Thanks Rob

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  • 4 weeks later...


Has anyone heard anything back from BMI Baby - we haven't. I posted the first letter on 20/8/2008 but I didn't send it recorded delivery (probably a mistake). I'm thinking of sending a follow up (this time recorded) - anyone any suggestions about what a follow up letter should be.

Cheers Rob


p.s. The first letter was a copy of the one put together by Tim/Mikee

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Air Wales has a strange reputation in the north west - they did try to operate a 2 weekdaily Do228 operation on the CWL-MAN route before giving it up quite quickly and they've had 2 bashes at CWL-LPL (with extensions at both ends) and not made that work! So I couldn't guess why they would want to operate, I presume, a more "touristy" route even they couldn't get domestic services to work.





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I hope that Air Southwest are able to make the CWL-MAN route work. There is definitely a market for the route and with a bit of marketing the route should become viable. I am hoping to use it soon to hop up to MAN to do some spotting.

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Other bits and pieces - Belavia's service to Minsk looks like it will be returing in the summer - weekly on Mondays from Jun 4 to Aug 28 and I can't find Portugalia's service to LIS/OPO on Amadeus for the summer so they may be finally giving up the ghost after a few years of tinkering with the timings of the service with barely any beneficial results.

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