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Flight changes forced cancellation of entire holiday.

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My parents, both in their mid seventies. both with limited mobility booked a week in Madeira with Titan Travel. They chose the holiday specifically for Titan's door to door minibus service and because they were able to book businesss class flights departing early afternoon.


On the day of departure the mini bus arrived on time when the driver told them that their flight had been cancelled so he was taking them to Heathrow rather than Gatwick.


A couple of hours after arrival at Heathrow they were told that their flight was not leaving until 23.00 that evening, that it would be a two leg journey with a changeover at Lisbon and they would be flying economy. Also, their return flights could not now be confirmed.


From their point of view the package they had booked had now changed beyond recognition and instead of a holiday what lay ahead for them was an ordeal. They took a taxi home at a cost of £70.00.


I understand that package tour opearators and airlines comply with certain sets of guidelines from ABTA, ATOL et al. Surely however, in this case, the nature of what they had contracted for was so fundamentally changed that it was "not fit for the purpose for which it was sold". Therefore they should be able to claim the entire cost of the holiday plus damages from Titan. Any clauses or terms which would enable Titan to avoid this would be unenforceable under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.


Am I right? If I'm not what is the best course of actiion for them?

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A great disappointment that noone has offered any advice. All that Titan have managed is a complete absence of any response or reaction to letets and emails from myself and my father. A travel agent friend comments that this is the the usual holiday company tactic - bore them, ignore them, they'll give up eventually.


Wait and see Mr Ferry! You may find not all your irritating and annoying customers are quite as compliant

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I think there's a number of options here -

Is Titan ATOL or ABTA?


Also I think you have to research the small print in the booking contract about flight cancellations etc, and without knowing what these say, it's actually quite difficult to comment.


You say the flight didn't leave until 2300 - but don't say what time they were originally scheduled to fly.

You also say they had to fly economy - but don't say what class the original booking was made in.

IMHO I would go through ABTA's complaints procedure before going down any other route.

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I would write and set out case against Titan and give them 14 days to compensate and refund holiday cost then go straight to Small Claims Court which is quite quick and easy to use. Under EU Regs you are definitely due to compensation for cancelled flight and, as you point out the holiday booked bore no relation to what you were offerred. It is quite unacceptable to treat senior citizens in this way and no judge would expect them to cope with this sort of unplanned journey.

I have had a similar experience and won my case in Small Claims. Go to Holiday watchdog for template letters and advice.

Good luck!

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