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CAA Claims Airlines Cheating Passengers of Compensation
Posted on 21st September 2017
Back in February this year, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced enforcement measures against five airlines – American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines – as it stated they failed to compensate their passengers for delayed European departures that affected second leg flights outside of Europe.
Regulation EC No. 261/2004, which relates to the compensation rights of passengers should their flights be cancelled, delayed, or should they be denied boarding, was disputed between the regulator and some of the accused airlines. Though the carriers strongly rejected the allegations made towards them from the CAA, the regulator remained adamant in its interpretation of the regulation and the law.
The CAA accused the airlines of not compensating their passengers who suffered delays of three hours or more to long-haul flights due to delays to their earlier connecting flights departing from Europe. The regulator stated that by refusing to pay this compensation, the airlines were breaching their passengers’ rights in relation to regulations which cover flight disruption.
Director of Consumers and Markets at the CAA, Richard Moriarty, said “There are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline’s control.”
He added, “Airlines’ first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights. So, it’s disappointing to see a small number of airlines continuing to let a number of their passengers down by refusing to pay them the compensation they are entitled to.”
Though the airlines are disputing these allegations, the CAA made it clear in the footnotes at the bottom of a press release of what their interpretation of the current law is: “The CAA notes there is a pending legal case regarding Emirates that may be heard at the Court of Appeal, after passengers were refused compensation by the airline for disrupted flights. The CAA’s position is that the European courts have already considered the issue of missed connections and European Commission guidance is clear when airlines should pay compensation.” The regulator claimed that the law was already clear under EU 261/2004 for compensation payments to passengers.
At the time of the CAA’s allegations, the airlines accused raised the question as to why the regulator was enforcing action when cases were due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in July.
Several of the accused airlines disagreed with the claims made by the regulator, and both American Airlines and Emirates openly disputed the allegations, with a spokesperson for Emirates saying, “The way in which the CAA has communicated this issue is both misleading and unprofessional. As the CAA is well aware, the recent EU guidelines on EC 261 are not intended to amend the law. The issue of EC 261’s application to our flights from the UK involving a stopover in Dubai is currently pending before the Court of Appeal. We will rigorously defend our position, and challenge the blanket application of EC 261 to every situation, without consideration of context or the safety of our passengers.”
In an emailed statement, American Airlines said, “American Airlines is aware of the connecting flight portion of the Civil Aviation Authority report, which relates to a discrete legal issue involving EC 261. We disagree with the CAA’s interpretation of this legal issue and look forward to additional conversations on the matter.”
The Gahan v Emirates case, which was due in court in July, is around a compensation claim for a flight from Manchester to Bangkok via Dubai, which reached a huge total delay of 14 hours. Due to the passenger arriving in to Dubai four hours later than scheduled, they missed their connecting flight, which added further delays to their travelling.
Though last May (2016) District Judge Benson ruled that the flights should have been considered as two distinct operations and therefore the second flight fell outside of the scope of EC 261/2004, the claimant was granted the right to appeal.
Mark Walker at Hughes Walker Solicitors who represented in the Gahan v Emirates case, also represented case – Air France v Folkerts. Mr Walker said that up till now, the CAA has been “behind the curve” on these types of compensation claims, as, the ruling for Air France v Folkerts was that compensation for passengers should be calculated based on the time of arrival at the final destination.
He added, “A large number of passengers have brought claims for missed connections and been denied their rightful compensation despite the European Court ruling.” Alongside him, the CAA also believe that European law is already clear on passenger rights.
Within its dispute, Emirates highlighted that an earlier decision made in the High Court – Sanghvi v Cathay Pacific – ruled that EC 261/2004 applies ‘only to the individual components of a long-haul flight,’ which is why the airline disagrees with the allegations made against it.
Several people, including lawyers, who wished to remain anonymous all expressed their surprise that the CAA had chosen to announce enforcement action at such a time when ‘related litigation’ was pending hearing in the Courts.
Though the hearing was held on the 26th and 27th July 2017, the Court ‘reserved judgement’ at the conclusion of the hearing, and it is expected that a decision will be handed down after its summer recess.
Madge-Wyld, Tom. ‘Emirates and UK Regulator Lock Horns Over EC 261/2004.’ Getting the Deal Through. https://gettingthedealthrough.com/article/5480/emirates-uk-regulator-lock-horns-ec-2612004
Madge-Wyld, Tom. ‘UK Court Hears Extra-Territorial Arguments in EC 261/2004 Appeal.’ Getting the Deal Through. https://gettingthedealthrough.com/article/5730/uk-court-hears-extra-territorial-arguments-ec-2612004-appeal
Ryanair ‘Messes Up’ Pilots’ Holidays Affecting Thousands of Passengers
Posted on 18th September 2017
Yesterday saw the cancellation of 82 flights from airline Ryanair, as it admitted to “messing up” staff holidays.
The airline, deemed as ‘king of the low-cost carriers,’ has encountered staffing problems due to the poor planning of its pilots’ holidays, which is now causing severe disruption to both the airline and its passengers. It is expected that around 40-50 flights will be cancelled by Ryanair each day for up to the next six weeks.
Speaking on behalf of the airline, Marketing Office Kenny Jacobs said: “We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that.” Mr Jacobs stated that customers who will be affected by the cancellations with flights booked up to 20 September have been informed.
The airline said it is changing its holiday year from April to March to January to December instead, and that this shift has resulted in having to allocate holidays in September and October to its pilots.
Potentially, 285,000 passengers of Ryanair could be affected by the cancellations, each will be offered the choice of either alternative flights or a refund. Emails have been sent to customers affected and the airline is encouraging its passengers to check the inbox of the email address they used to make their original booking.
So far this week, the airline has cancelled 56 flights on Monday, 55 on Tuesday and 53 on Wednesday. Though Ryanair has stated that passengers will see less than 2% of its flights being cancelled, complaints have been raised regarding the ‘resulting uncertainty.’
Lord Callanan, UK Aviation Minister, spoke of how he expected all airlines to fulfil their “obligations to their customers.” Lord Callanan said, “In the event of any disruption or cancellation airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”
Travel Editor of The Independent, Simon Calder, stated that under European Passenger Rights Legislation, if an airline does not have a suitable alternative flight for its passengers, then they must be booked on to a rival airline.
Though Ryanair is the biggest airline in Europe, it looks as though it may be set to experience some serious competition from the ‘new kid on the block’ – airline, Norwegian.
Norwegian, also a no-frills airline has not only significantly grown over the past three years but has also ‘boasted’ of how they have so far this year recruited 140 Ryanair pilots. These pilots are taken on in a full-time job, unlike most new pilots to Ryanair who are taken on with a contractor status, and also receive a competitive salary.
Under EU compensation rules, airlines are required to offer full refunds which must be paid within seven days or rebooking’s to passengers who have had a flight cancelled at short notice. Passengers are also entitled to compensation for both cancelled and late flights, which MyFlightDelayed.com can help with. If you have been, or are going to be, affected by the Ryanair flight cancellations then get in touch where we will be happy to assist you further.
BBC News. ‘Ryanair Cancels Flights After ‘Messing Up’ Pilot Holidays.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41298931
Thomas Cook Pilots Plan More Strikes as Pay Dispute Continues
Posted on 11th September 2017
Pilots of Airline Thomas Cook took part in the first pilot strike since the 1970s last Friday, as they disputed pay, with three further strike days announced for Autumn.
The strike began at 3am on Friday morning, when members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) ‘walked out.’ However, Balpa stated that the decision to walk out had been made ‘extremely reluctantly.’
Brian Strutton, General Secretary of Balpa, said that “Thomas Cook pilots have faced year-on-year, real term pay cuts, and cuts to terms and conditions, and our pilots have said ‘enough is enough.’
He did add, however, that the strike action was kept to a minimum – just 12 hours. Thomas Cook stated that all of its flight would be operating as normal during the strike hours.
Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Fankhauser said, “[any pay rise] needs to be reasonable and affordable,” as the company continues to compete with lower cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair. Mr Fankhauser said that costs for the airline were going up, such as fuel and air traffic control costs, and that Balpa had asked for an annual salary increase of over 10%.
He said, “Obviously we work in an extremely tough environment. We have offered basically 4% over 2 years on top of normal annual pay increases of 1.8%. We have an offer which is clearly above inflation. We have moved 3 times. Balpa has not moved at all, so we really ask Balpa to come back to the table to negotiate with us.”
Though last weeks’ strike only lasted twelve hours, a further three days of striking have been planned, as Thomas Cook pilots who are members of Balpa are preparing to walk out again on both the 23rd and 29th September, and 6th October, as the pay dispute continues. However, the airline and Balpa are to meet at ACAS, conciliation service, on 12th September.
Mr Strutton said, “I’m pleased [Friday’s] strike by Thomas Cook pilots has kick-started negotiations. We will now focus on trying to make progress at five days of ACAS talks over the next two weeks.”
He added, “However, there is still a significant gap between us and Thomas Cook so we cannot assume that those talks will succeed. That’s why we’ve set new strike dates. We urge Thomas Cook to come to the ACAS table with an acceptable offer so we won’t need to use them.”
91% of pilots from the strike ballot voted in favour of taking action in the dispute over their pay negotiations of 2017. However, Christopher Debus, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook Airlines, said, “In these times which are extremely challenging for the airline industry, it’s a very reasonable offer. Balpa has a claim which, if you sum all the elements up, is about 10 per cent.”
Calder, Simon. ‘Thomas Cook: More Strike Dates Announced after First UK Pilots’ Strike in Four Decades Fails to Ground Flights.’ Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/thomas-cook-pilots-strike-uk-flights-on-time-run-balpa-pay-dispute-airline-latest-a7935716.html
BBC News. ‘Thomas Cook Pilots Plan More Strikes.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41198272
Worst Airports & Months for Delays in the UK
Posted on 24th August 2017
According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the best summer month for passengers to avoid flight delays is August, with the months of June and July being labelled as the worst.
However, August did not follow on as the third worst month to fly after June and July, December did instead, which may not be all that much of a surprise as people travel to spend the festive season with family and weather conditions can have severe impacts on flying during the winter period.
Though other months do not experience delays as often or long as the three worst offenders – June, July & August – they do still all show delays, though much shorter and less frequent.
Data from all flights throughout 2016 showed that London’s Gatwick Airport is the worst for delays, with delays recorded on over 30% of all flights. The data showed that delays from Gatwick ranged from 15 minutes to 360 minutes, meaning at times, passengers were delayed by up to 5 hours, and almost 8% of all delays lasted over an hour.
Data from 2016 showed that the busiest UK airports were Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Stansted; these airports had a combined total of 1.2million flights last year.
Figures show that within the UK’s 25 main airports the number of both flights and passengers are increasing annually, as year-round holidays and city breaks become more and more popular, which could explain the high number of delays. Though there are many factors that can cause delays, such as bad weather conditions, IT failures, or back-logs from other flights or airports, the increase in number of both flights and passengers must be taken into account.
With budget airlines being the most commonly used amongst Britons, it is not a surprise that carrier EasyJet showed to be the most delayed airline. Budget airlines offer regular flight times and low prices to customers, which are the main attractions for people to book with them, however, these attractions are often outshone later by disruptions and delays.
The data from the CAA showed that the majority of the top ten airlines experienced delays averaging 10-20 minutes on each flight. A representative from a French Pilot’s union said that should a plane be scheduled to make six flights in a day, it is almost certain that the last flight will be either delayed or cancelled.
Harding, Laura. ‘Revealed: UK’s Worst Months and Airports for Delays.’ Telegraph Online. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/23/revealed-uks-worst-months-airports-delays/
Lufthansa Accused of Conspiracy by Ryanair
Posted on 18th August 2017
Lufthansa and the German government have been accused by Ryanair of conspiring to ‘carve up’ Air Berlin.
Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, and Lufthansa is believed to be negotiating buying the ‘collapsed’ airlines planes, which, after a loan of 150m euro from the German government, are still flying.
Airline Ryanair has stated there is an ‘obvious conspiracy’ going on between Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Germany to ‘carve up the assets.’ However, the accusation has been rejected by the German government, with it stating the support it has given Air Berlin does not breach anti-trust rules.
Throughout the past year, the airlines passenger numbers have decreased, and, after its largest shareholder – Etihad – withdrew its financial support, Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday this week.
Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s Economy Minister, claimed that within the next few months a deal should be made where Lufthansa will take over part of Air Berlin. However, airline Ryanair has said “This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules. Now even the German government is supporting this Lufthansa-led monopoly with 150m euros of state aid so that Lufthansa can acquire Air Berlin and drive domestic air fares in Germany even higher than they already are.”
However, in response to this accusation from Ryanair, A German economy spokesperson said, “I reject the accusation by Ryanair today that it was a staged insolvency application.” A complaint has been lodged with the German regulator, the Bundeskartellamt, and the European Commission by Ryanair.
Lufthansa has said that negotiations are already taking place with Air Berlin with regards to taking over parts of the company, which are expected to be concluded ‘successfully in due time.’
This is not the first time that Ryanair has criticised the relationship between Air Berlin and Lufthansa, as in January this year, Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Chief Executive described an existing deal between the two as a “joke.” The deal was that Lufthansa would operate 38 of Air Berlin’s Airbus jets on its behalf, something Mr O’Leary said was a “takeover with the aim of dominating the market.”
He added, “Lufthansa controls the capacities of its most important competitor, sets the prices and decides where aircraft will start. The German authorities are doing nothing.”
It was also reported on Tuesday that EasyJet were in talks regarding purchasing assets from Air Berlin, however, the airline refused to comment.
BBC News. ‘Ryanair Accuses Lufthansa of Air Berlin ‘Conspiracy.’’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40949243
Drunk Passenger Arrests Increase
Posted on 15th August 2017
A BBC Panorama Investigation has suggested that there has been an increase of 50% over the past year in passenger arrests at UK airports and on flights for drunken behaviour.
Between February 2016 and February 2017 387 people were arrested at airports within the UK; a figure relatively higher than that of the previous year, which totalled 255.
The Home Office is ‘considering’ for tougher rules to be introduced regarding the consumption of alcohol at airports and on aircrafts. In a survey carried out with airline Cabin Crew, over half claimed that they had been witness to passengers being disruptive and drunk at a UK airport.
The figures for the arrests made were taken from 18 out of 20 police forces who have a major UK airport in their area, and trade body, Airlines UK, said that it should be made illegal for passengers to consume their own alcohol on board an aircraft.
19,000 Cabin Crew staff, who are members of the union, Unite, were asked to be surveyed; 4,000 of these individuals responded, with one in every five stating they been subject to physical abuse by passengers.
One former Cabin Crew worker stated, “People just see us as barmaids in the sky,” and explained how often, crew members found themselves being inappropriately touched whilst working.
The aviation industry introduced a voluntary code of conduct regarding disruptive passengers during July 2016, with the majority of the ‘big’ airlines signing up to it. Advice within the code included requesting that retailers warn passengers upon purchase not to consume alcoholic products they have just bought on board the plane, and for staff to recognise if a passenger is drunk and not serve them alcohol if so.
In its findings, Panorama discovered that over a quarter of the Cabin Crew members it surveyed did not know about the code of practice, and that from those who were aware of it, only 23% thought that it was actually working. One Crew member said, “The code of conduct isn’t working… We’re seeing these incidents on a daily, a weekly, a monthly basis. It’s the alcohol mainly in the duty free that is the significant problem.”
There are laws in place regarding the consumption of alcohol when it comes to using flight travel: It is a criminal offence for a person to enter an aircraft when drunk or for a person to get drunk whilst on an aircraft, anyone who breaks this law could face a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment. It is totalled that on average, passengers spend around £300m on alcohol at airports within the UK each year. Between 2012 and 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported an increase of 600% in disruptive passenger behaviour, most of which involved alcohol.
Airlines UK, who represent airlines such as British Airways, Virgin and EasyJet, desire for the law to be changed making it a criminal offence for a passenger to consume their own alcohol on board an aircraft.
Airlines are able to manage the amount of alcohol that is sold to passengers, and Jet2 has banned sales of all alcohol before 08:00. Phil Ward, Jet2’s Managing Director, said “I think they (airports) could do more. I think the retailers could do more as well. Two litre steins of beer in bars, mixers and miniatures in duty free shops, which can only be there for one reason – you know, they’re items that are not sold on the high street. We can’t allow it not to change.”
A report from the House of Lords committee earlier this year also called for the introduction of tougher rules around the sale of alcohol to passengers at airports. Baroness McIntosh, Committee Chair, said “We didn’t hear one shred of evidence to show the voluntary code was either working now or had any possible vestige of success in working any time soon.”
The Home Office said that the report’s recommendations are being considered.
BBC News. ‘Drunk Air Passenger Arrests Up 50%.” BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40877229
Summer Flight Delays
Posted on 10th August 2017
Analysis from the BBC has revealed that passengers flying from Gatwick have, on average, suffered the longest delays for summer getaways from major airports within the UK.
The analysis is based on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data for the past two years for all flights either departing from or arriving at airports in the UK from June to August.
It was shown that passengers using EasyJet to travel to and from the UK experienced the longest delays from the ten busiest airlines. All EasyJet customers had a wait on average of 24 minutes, and those departing from Gatwick airport had a 27-minute wait on average. Both Gatwick airport and EasyJet commented that this is partly due to them providing the highest number of flights.
A spokesperson speaking on behalf of EasyJet said, “EasyJet operate the largest number of flights of any UK airline, flying over 78 million passengers per year. in 2017, EasyJet will operate 33% more flights than in 2011, with less than 0.8% delayed by more than three hours. In fact, despite a number of adverse external factors like increasingly congested airspace, particularly in the London area, and record numbers of air traffic control strikes, over the last year, EasyJet has actually reduced the proportion of flights delayed by more than three hours.”
They added that the airline works hard to “minimise disruption and fully comply with all relevant regulations.”
The analysis showed that passengers are much less likely to experience delays when using smaller airports within the UK. Gatwick airport stated that it operated more flights to Europe than any other airport within the UK, and that it was ‘impacted disproportionately by events on the continent.” The airport is also encouraging both UK and European authorities to quicken plans regarding increasing the efficiency of the airspace within the UK and Europe.
A spokesperson for the airport said, “We recognise the inconvenience that delays cause to our passengers, and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent them from occurring. We operate the world’s busiest and most efficient single runway airport, but, over recent years, Gatwick has been disproportionately affected by issues beyond our control.”
They went on to describe these issues as the “repeated strike action by French, Greek, Spanish and Italian air traffic controllers and airport employees, prolonged bad weather, and heavily congested airspace above parts of Europe and London.
They added “Gatwick has made it a priority to address punctuality and, in partnership with our airlines and ground handlers, we are already seeing the benefits of a new wide range of measures that have been implemented to improve punctuality.”
Amidst these delays, it is important passengers remember their compensation rights under EU law if the delay or cancellation experienced was due to the airline and not the airport. If a passenger is delayed for two hours or more then it is within their rights to receive food and drink from the airline, as well as access to emails and phone calls. If the delay is going to carry on overnight, then the passenger must be offered accommodation, which must include transfers between the airport and the hotel.
Those passengers who arrive at their destination three hours late or more may be entitled to compensation up to around £500.
Any passenger who has experienced a delay of three or more hours is encouraged to find out whether they may be entitled to compensation. These passengers can contact the Myflightdelayed Team on 0333 212 3088, who will be happy to be of assistance.
BBC News. ‘How Long Could My Summer Holiday Flight be Delayed?’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40831970
US Airlines’ Overbooked Passenger Bumping at 22 Year Low
Posted on 10th August 2017
There has been a significant decrease in the number of passengers being forced to take alternate flights, according to a US airlines report.
The US Department of Transportation said that the ‘bumping’ rate for the first half of 2017 is now at the lowest rate it has been since 1995. It is believed the decrease could be caused by videos of passengers being removed from planes earlier this year, which resulted in ‘widespread outcry’ amongst the general public.
The reaction from the public to these videos has led airlines to both pledge and deliver improvement when it comes to bumping passengers from their scheduled flights to an alternative.
During the first half of this year, over 213,000 passengers took a different flight as a result of their scheduled plane being overbooked. Though this figure may seem high, it is actually smaller than that reported during the first half of 2016.
This figure also includes those passengers who willingly gave up their seats under offers of compensation from the airlines, however, it also includes a lot of passengers who were forced to involuntarily give up their seats, even though they may not have received any compensation for this.
It has been reported that during the first half of this year, for every 19,100 passengers around 1 was denied boarding due to overbooking; an improvement from the 1 in every 16,000 during the same period last year. This is the lowest rate recorded in 12 years.
In the report, Delta Air Lines was shown to be the airline possessing the lowest rate of involuntary bumping out of the 12 airlines focused on; Spirit Airlines showed to be the worst.
The tally of passengers travelling in the first six months of this year rose by nearly 3% from the same time last year, with over 332 million people boarding planes from January to June.
It is believed that a video which went viral on the internet cased the biggest outcry from the public regarding passenger bumping. The video showed Dr David Dao suffering injury as he was physically removed from a flight with United Airlines. Though he later came to a settlement with the airline, the video was quick to spread around popular social media sites and attracted a lot of unwanted attention for the airline.
As a result of this video, US politicians warned airlines that should improvements not be made then they would consider ‘regulatory action.’
Airlines did make immediate improvements after the United Airlines incident including allowing their staff to offer more money as means of compensation to encourage passengers to voluntary give up their seats and take an alternate flight, however, further improvements are expected to be ongoing.
BBC News. ‘US Airlines Bumping from Overbooked Flights is at 22 Year Low.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40881600
Airlines Warn Passengers of Delays
Posted on 7th August 2017
Customers have been warned of delays at EU border controls from both British Airways (BA) and EasyJet via text alerts.
Airline BA is requesting that its passengers arrive early due to long queues being expected as a result of ‘enhanced immigration checks’ throughout Europe. Text messages have already been sent to passengers who are flying back from Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Lyon.
Ryanair is another airline who is advising its customers to arrive at their departure airport at least three hours before their scheduled flight time.
A spokesperson speaking on behalf of Airlines for Europe (A4E) said, “It seems the governments – especially in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium – underestimated the situation of many passengers going through tighter passport checks and have not provided a sufficient amount of border control officers.” He said passengers should also be expecting to encounter delays at the following airports: Majorca, Malaga, Lisbon, Brussels and Paris-Orly.
These warnings to travellers are being issued as the airports are preparing for what has been described as ‘one of the business weekends of the summer.’
Sean Tipton, who works for the Association of British Travel Agents, said, “In most cases people are getting through passport control fairly swiftly but I think there might be an issue with certain airports where they haven’t actually considered just dealing with the fact that: record numbers, August, plus these new requirements – they may be understaffed.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said that the delays being experienced by passengers are ‘a matter for the European regulators to resolve, not the airlines.’ They stated that Ryanair’s flights and operations are ‘running as normal,’ and blamed the delays on European border control authorities.
EasyJet has been encouraging its passengers to arrive with extra time to ensure they get to the gate on time, and to check the travel information pages on its website which are being updated.
Lord Callanan, Aviation Minister, is urging his counterparts in countries Span, Portugal and Italy, to work to “do all they can to reduce queues and allow travellers to get on with their holidays.”
The delays have been described by the European Commission as “The price of security,” as, after recent terror attacks, security has been heightened.
A4E have claimed that delays are lasting as long as four hours for some passengers and Managing Director, Thomas Reynaert, said that member states must be the ones to take responsibility for these.
BBC. ‘EU Airport Delays Warning Issued by Airlines.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40824027
System Issues Delay British Airways Passengers
Posted on 3rd August 2017
Airline British Airways has issued an apology to its passengers who experienced delays this morning.
A ‘temporary’ glitch with the check-in systems meant that passengers at Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports were subjected to ‘long queues and delays’ due to manual check-ins being required.
The issue comes only a few months after the airline experienced a major problem over the bank holiday weekend in May, when a power cut caused over 670 flights to be cancelled from Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
British Airways said that today’s issue was resolved by 9am and that its systems were now fully back up and running.
A spokesperson said on behalf of the airline: “We are sorry for the temporary check-in problems which caused some delays for our customers first thing this morning. This issue is now resolved and our staff are working flat out to help customers get away on their holidays.”
Also, passengers have been warned they may face long queues if they are flying from EU airports as a result of heightened security checks, which have been introduced after the recent terror attacks.
BBC News. ‘British Airways Apologise for Check-In Failure.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40800183
IT Failure Costs British Airways £58m
Posted on 31st July 2017
British Airways’ owner, IAG, have said that May’s IT failure – when an engineer disconnected a power supply - has cost it £58m (65m euros).
During the failure, which happened over the last bank holiday weekend of the month, around 75,000 passengers were left delayed and experiencing ‘severe disruption.’
Despite the extra costs encountered as a result of this incident, IAG have still reported an increase in their half-year ‘operating profits’ of 13.8% to £804m. Operating profits also rose at British Airways: from 631 euros in 2016 to 741m euros.
IAG is also the owner of Aer Lingus, Vueling and Iberia, and the company has stated that it expects operating profits for 2017 as a whole to be a ‘double-digit percentage improvement.’
Though May’s power cut has not yet been fully explained, it is understood that an ‘independent company’ has been asked to investigate the cause.
Speaking of the company’s efforts with regards to compensating their passengers, Chief Executive of IAG, Willie Walsh, said “We are doing everything we can to make good the disruption that the customers experienced, but it was an isolated event and I think you’ve got to focus on the fact that BA’s passenger numbers continue to increase.”
Mr Walsh also added, “BA’s underlying performance is actually very good, as are the performances of the other airlines within the group, so this is a very strong set of results and reflects a focus that IAG has on providing customer services at prices that customers are willing to pay.”
Competition is growing amongst budget airlines, and carrier Ryanair recently stated that fares could be expected to fall by 9% this summer. However, IAG has some protection from these fare decreases as it keeps its focus on longer-haul flights.
Equity Analyst at Stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, Nicholas Hyett, said “At the budget end of the market, capacity is expanding. As more planes take to the sky, short haul airlines are having to cut prices to keep them full. With its long-haul focus that’s not a problem for IAG. The result is that while rivals are seeing the gains from lower fuel prices frittered away in an aggressive price war, at IAG they’re dropping through to the bottom line and profits are taking off.”
Mr Walsh described the company’s new ‘long-haul low-cost ‘airline, Level, as a success. Level is based in Barcelona and there are plans for its expansion in the future.
BBC News. ‘British Airways Owner IAG Says IT Chaos Cost £58m.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40750168
Air France-KLM Set to Purchase 31% of Virgin Atlantic
Posted on 31st July 2017
It has been reported that Air France-KLM is set to purchase almost a third of airline Virgin Atlantic, meaning Sir Richard Branson’s parent company, Virgin Group, will be left with a ‘minority’ stake in the airline founded by himself.
As part of a ‘four-way-joint-venture’ with its US partner, Delta, Air France-KLM is going to be taking a stake of 31% (worth £220m) in Virgin Atlantic. This means that the share held by Virgin Group will fall to 20% from 51%, whilst Delta holds 49%.
Sir Richard Branson said that after the deal he would remain “very much involved,” and, earlier this week in an open letter, stated that this new venture will be “extremely beneficial” to not only the airline, but also to the customers and the brand.
Chief Executive of Air France-KLM, Jean-Marc Janaillac, said that this new deal would bring to customers “even more choice between Europe, UK and the United States via twelve hubs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The joint-venture has been in operation between Virgin and Delta for almost five years, working busy routes between the US and Europe. However, over recent years, competition within the industry has grew, as newcomers such as Norwegian and British Airlines’ low-cost level service offer ‘no-frills’ long-haul flights to passengers.
300 transatlantic flights per day will take place as part of the new venture, and ‘troubled’ Italian airline Alitalia will also be involved. Virgin, along with its partners, said during a press release that under the venture passengers will be offered “convenient flight schedules with competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers.”
Founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic was one of the first companies under Richard Branson’s ‘Virgin brand portfolio.’ In his letter, Sir Richard reminisced on the airline’s past rivalry with British Airways, the impacts felt due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the financial crisis. Also, he wrote that he was eager to ensure that “all the necessary building blocks are in place for Virgin Atlantic to continue to prosper and grow for the next 50 years” as he gets older.
Though transatlantic routes are amongst the most profitable, over recent years Virgin has experienced ‘mixed fortunes.’
Last year, the airline reported its highest profits in five years, however, earlier this year it stated that it expected to go in to the red again during 2017, as a result of the ‘weaker pound’ increasing costs and putting holiday-makers off holidaying.
BBC News. ‘Air France-KLM is Buying 31% of Virgin Atlantic.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40745277
Tourists Charged More for Paying with GBP
Posted on 26th July 2017
It has been reported that hundreds of millions of pounds are being paid by British tourists just for using their credit or debit cards on foreign holidays.
The reason for this is because tourists are being given the option when paying by card as to whether they want to pay in the local currency or in Great British Pounds (GBP). If people choose to pay by British pounds then the business they are buying from are applying poor exchange rates, meaning people are paying more for not paying with local currency.
It has been estimated that these charges, due to the poor exchange rates being applied, is costing British tourists around £500m each year. Currency trader FairFX has said that some tourists have been losing by up to as much as 10% by paying in GBP rather than the local currency.
If a person pays by card and opts to use the local currency, then the transaction goes through a ‘standard route,’ and the exchange rate will be set by Visa or MasterCard, however, should a person opt to pay in GBP, the exchange rate is set instantly on the spot by either the businesses bank or payment processor, and they decide on what the rate will be.
FairFX advised that currently around one in five foreign payment transactions are being affected but in some countries figures are much higher. Tourists are being warned to be cautious of this in the following countries: Malta, Spain, Thailand, Cyprus and Turkey.
This changing of the exchange rate is known as dynamic currency conversion and is legal throughout the UK and Europe, however, the rate must be displayed to the customer before the transaction is completed. Though this must be displayed, it is often not done in a way which British tourists are used to understanding, making it difficult for them to work out on the spot whether they are losing out or not by paying in GBP.
James Hickman who works for FairFX said “The way it is pushed is abhorrent. The amount they charge should be capped.” Those who benefit from these extra charges for opting to pay in sterling are the both the business (trader) and their bank or payment processor, leaving the consumer out of pocket.
So, next time you get ready to jet off, it might just be worth taking extra cash instead of the plastic!
Gompertz, Simon. ‘Tourists Warned Over Exchange Rate Costs.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40702496
The New Technology to Prevent Flight Cancellation Queues
Posted on 21st July 2017
A ‘smartphone solution’ has been created by a British company which will prevent passengers from having to endure the long queues and waits that are often experienced when their flight is suddenly cancelled.
The technology - Resolve - has been created by Travelport who are based close to Heathrow Airport. Travelport said the aim of the software is “automating the sourcing and distribution of hotel rooms, air rebooking and meal and transport needs into a single, seamless and paperless experience.”
Travelport has stated that at present approximately 10,000 flights are cancelled globally each week, 1,250 of which are within Europe. This means that in Europe there is a flight cancelled every eight minutes. The new technology from Travelport will present passengers with a menu of alternative flights, meal allowances and hotel options, meaning they will not need to stand in long queues to arrange these details as they do currently.
Travelport claimed that when a passenger experiences a cancelled flight, they find themselves “standing in long lines, with a lack of real-time communication, to wait for besieged airline employees to hand out paper vouchers that are required to be presented at a hotel to obtain a room.”
The new technology from Travelport is designed to prevent the need for the systems ‘traditionally’ used to deal with ‘IROPS,’ meaning irregular operations, which will in turn dramatically cut queueing and waiting times for passengers.
Travelport’s Managing Director for Air Commerce, Derek Sharp said, “With a few simple touches on their mobile device, Travelport helps disrupted passengers to bypass the frustration of hotel and meal voucher lines and quickly be on their way to a comfortable hotel room.”
Mr Sharp added, “For airlines, Travelport Resolve helps carriers improve customer service performance during disruptions, avoiding serious damage to their brand and opportunities to build their relationships with affected customers.”
The technology has been warmly welcomed, as former Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, Tim Jeans said, “Any technology solution which avoids having to stand in line at the ticket counter must be an improvement on the situation passengers face now. The biggest frustration for passengers when flights are cancelled at short notice is the lack of real-time information on which they can base their plans. It might even be cheaper for airlines as it might allow passengers travelling from home to simply return there and come back to the airport when their new flight is scheduled, rather than remaining there at the airlines expense, and the inevitable loss of goodwill that results.”
Mr Jeans concluded by saying “Provided cancellation protocols are clear and passengers can rely on the information the app gives them, then it’s a win-win for all parties.”
Calder, Simon. ‘Travelport: The New Airport App that Promises to Solve Flight Disruption Issues.’ Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/flight-disruption-app-travelport-delays-cancellations-book-new-hotels-flights-automatically-a7844901.html
Thomas Cook Wins Fake Sickness Claim
Posted on 13th July 2017
Thomas Cook announces it has successfully won in the case of a fake sickness claim and informs that it has plans to keep challenging such claims in court.
Fake holiday sickness claims have been in the news quite a lot recently with many travel companies and hoteliers expressing their concerns. Data has shown that these claims have significantly risen, with the majority being from UK tourists.
The government has warned it is set to clamp down on false claims and that anyone caught making one could face up to three years in prison. Hoteliers and travel companies have both warned that should false claims continue to be made from Brits, then we could be facing the end of package holidays or even being barred from holiday resorts.
In a bid to clamp down on these false claims, Thomas Cook has announced its ‘legal victory’ against a fake holiday sickness claim case. A family who attempted to claim up to £10,000 after stating they became ill through food poisoning on a holiday in the Canary Islands had their case dismissed in court earlier this week, after a judge concluded ‘they were not sick.’
Travel trade organisation Abta have recently launched a new campaign with the aim of preventing these false claims, after it stated the problem was “one of the biggest issues that has hit the travel industry for many years.”
The organisation said that claims ranged from £3,000 and £5,000 each, and that despite ‘reported sickness levels in resorts remaining stable,’ tens of thousands of tourists have made sickness claims over the past year.
Chris Mottershead, Thomas Cook’s Managing Director spoke out after the hearing on Monday: “It’s not comfortable for us to be in court questioning our customer’s credibility, but the significant increase in unreported illness claims being received by the travel industry threatens holidays for all UK customers. This case follows an increasingly common pattern for these claims, with a previously unreported illness being raised years after the holiday, with no medical or other evidence to support the illness having occurred.”
The family in question claimed they took ill in 2013 on a holiday in Gran Canaria, blaming ‘poor food and hygiene’ at the hotel for their illnesses and claimed that upon returning to the UK their symptoms continued. However, Thomas Cook informed that at the time the family did not mention this to either hotel staff or the travel company’s tour representatives who were present in the resort. The law firm representing the family was not available for comment immediately after the case.
Abta stated that since rules were brought in to prevent the spike in fake whiplash claims, those for holiday sickness have significantly increased, as the rules do not apply to any incident which takes place abroad. Abta again warned that should these fraudulent claims continue, they have the potential to result in tourists being barred from certain resorts or even facing a prison sentence.
This month the government announced that it is planning to ‘tackle’ the problem of false holiday sickness claims by ‘reducing the cash incentives of bringing such cases against holiday firms.’ David Lidington, Justice Secretary, said the government desires to put a limit on the legal costs that travel firms are forced to pay out for such claims.
Mr Lidington said “Our message to those who make false holiday sickness claims is clear – your actions are damaging and will not be tolerated.”
The government stressed earlier this week that those travellers with genuine claims, can still sue for damages caused.
BBC News. ‘Thomas Cook Wins Fake Holiday Sickness Case.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40575874
"Government to Crackdown on False Holiday Sickness Claims"
Posted on 10th July 2017
It will soon be much more difficult for holidaymakers to make false sickness insurance claims, as Ministers seek to make the claiming process harder.
Along with Spanish hotels, travel industry bosses have raised complaints as false sickness claims have significantly risen, giving hotels unnecessary negative reputations.
It has been reported that should these false claims continue, British tourists could find themselves facing higher prices for package holidays and also potentially being barred from some holiday resorts.
David Lidington, Justice Secretary, said the government wants to bring a limit to legal costs that travel firms are having to pay out for these claims: “Our message to those who make false holiday sickness claims is clear – your actions are damaging and will not be tolerated.”
One UK travel company boss has spoken out to say they believed that should false claims keep escalating, they may potentially make British tourists the ‘laughing stock of Europe,” and travel trade body Abta said it “strongly” welcomes the move by the government.
Data has shown that although tourists from other countries such as Germany, France etc. are staying in the same resorts and eating the same food daily as British tourists, they are not getting ill as often as those from the UK claim to be.
Hotels and restaurants who are being claimed against find that the cost of challenging these claims is very high when compared to the pay-out price, meaning it is usually just cheaper for them to pay out on the claim.
Any UK holidaymakers who make a false claim and are found guilty of this can face up to three years in prison said the Ministry of Justice. It has been estimated by the travel industry that sickness claims have gone up by 500% in just 4 years.
Chief Executive of Abta, Mark Tanzer said “These claims are tarnishing British holidaymakers’ reputation abroad, particularly in Spain where they are costing hoteliers millions of pounds.” It was only last month that it was warned by Tui’s UK Managing Director Nick Longman and Thomas Cooks UK Managing Director Chris Mottershead that should the problem with false claims continue, we could see the end of all-inclusive holidays for UK tourists.
Mr Mottershead said that these fraudulent claims have the “potential of putting hoteliers out of business” and that should the problem persist, “they will stop British customers coming into their hotels.”
The government has expressed that those travellers with genuine claims will still be able to sue for damages caused.
BBC News. ‘Holiday Sickness Fakers Face Government Crackdown.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40550858
Airlander 10 Completes Fourth Flight Test
Posted on 10th July 2017
Airlander 10, the longest aircraft in the world, has now completed its fourth flight test successfully.
During its fourth test, the aircraft – a combination of an airship and a plane – reached the highest altitude it has achieved so far. Taking off at 18:15 on Tuesday evening this week, the Airlander operated in the skies for around 3 hours, reaching 3,500ft; the maximum altitude it will be able to reach is 20,000ft.
The Airlander 10 cost £25m to build, measures in at 320ft long and has a mass of 44,100lbs. Designed and created by the British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles, the Airlander took a ‘nose dive’ last August during a test flight. Although no one was injured during the accident, the cockpit was reported as being ‘effectively destroyed.’
The aircraft is based at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, and has been equipped with a pair of ‘giant inflatable landing feet’ following the accident, as a means of improvement. It is believed that the accident happened because the Airlander was forced to climb to ‘excessive heights’ when its mooring line got caught up with power cables.
The aircraft is reported to be quieter than ‘traditional aircraft’ and it also releases less pollution. Hybrid Air Vehicles believes the Airlander could be the ‘future for air travel.’ The manufacturing firm is hoping to build 12 of the aircrafts a year by 2018, some of which will be used as passenger aircraft with the ability to transport 48 passengers at a time.
The Airlander will have various other uses including working to provide military and civil surveillance, assisting with coastguard duties, filming and academic research or transporting heavy equipment to ‘remote corners of the world for humanitarian missions.’
BBC News. ‘Airlander 10 Reaches ‘Highest Altitude so Far.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-40272708
Approximately 1,400 BA Staff on Strike
Posted on 5th July 2017
British Airways (BA) staff began a fortnight long walk-out on Saturday, which is expected to run till 16th July.
The walk-out is a result of an ‘ongoing war’ regarding wages and working conditions and it is believed that thousands of passengers could be affected. Around 1,400 British Airways staff working flights to and from Heathrow Airport are expected to go on strike, however, the airline has informed that it has teamed with Qatar Airways to ensure the continuation of its flights.
‘Mixed fleet’ cabin crew of BA are those taking ‘industrial action’ as they claim they get paid less than other workers. Union, Unite, has stated that many employees working as mixed fleet cabin crew for BA have had to take on extra employment in order to get a second wage and that some have said they have had to sleep in their car between their shifts as they cannot afford to pay the petrol costs driving home would incur.
BA has been accused by Unite of threatening its staff with sanctions if they take industrial action; currently, Unite is ‘pursuing legal action’ on workers who went on strike earlier this year and have claimed they have been sanctioned because of this.
Oliver Richardson, who works as Unite’s National Officer said “British Airways needs to drop its confrontational stance which is causing so much anger and leading to plummeting morale among its mixed cabin crew. With British Airways’ parent company forecasting massive annual profits of around £2.3 billion, it is clear the airline can afford to recognise the hard work of its mixed fleet cabin crew by paying a proper decent wage.”
Mixed fleet cabin crew have described their wage as ‘poverty pay’ and Mr Richardson added “Rather than trying to bully workers and focusing its resources on leasing aircraft to cover striking cabin crew, British Airways should focus its energies on trying to resolve our members’ legitimate concerns over poverty pay.”
BA has informed that although some of its staff may be striking, the airline expects that around 9.5% of its flights will operate as normal with support from Qatar Airways. Nine jets have been brought in from Qatar Airways to support the two-week strike, which will be used to operate a ‘small number’ of short-haul flights on behalf of BA.
BA said “We have merged a very small number of Heathrow long-haul services and all customers affected have been notified over the past week.”
Passengers who experience flight delays of three hours or more are entitled to compensation under EU regulations if the fault is of the airline, such as delays caused by staff striking. The amount they receive will depend on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay; however, they should receive between €250 and €600.
Munbodh, Emma. ‘British Airways Strike 2017: The Flights Affected and Your Compensation Rights as 1,400 Staff Walk-out in Long Running Pay Dispute.’ The Mirror Online. http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/british-airways-strike-2017-flights-10731347
Flight Delays More Common in Summer
Posted on 30th June 2017
The majority of people tend to expect flights to be delayed more over the winter rather than the summer months; there’s ice, snow, heavy rain showers – surely this causes for more delays?
Apparently not! As more flight delays are experienced by passengers over the months of summer than those of winter. In summer the weather is drier and hotter, the wind speeds are usually much lower, there (usually) isn’t any snow or ice...
And that is just the problem! Contrary to popular belief, planes actually find it much more difficult to fly in heat (hot air) than they do in the cold air of winter because during the summer the air itself becomes less dense, causing the plane’s wings to ‘generate less lift,’ which, in turn, makes it harder for the aircraft to takeoff. When the air is hot, planes need more runway distance before takeoff to allow them to reach the necessary speed required to get in the air, which means that Air Traffic Control need to accommodate this. However, this can often lead to delays! Should the weather get a little too hot, then airlines may be forced to delay or cancel their flights altogether until the temperature drops.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the weather is actually to blame for 69% of all flight delays, with one of the main culprits being thunderstorms.
During the summer months thunderstorms are caused by the hot air, which means any aircraft currently flying needs to re-route its way around these, adding to its arrival time. In extreme conditions, thunderstorms can cause planes to have to land at alternative airports, causing even more delays and problems for their passengers.
And of course, we mustn’t forget that summer is the most popular time for people to travel, as they jet off on holidays, visiting family, short weekend breaks etc. It is reported that flight delays in summer are also caused by planes arriving late at airports, which is often due to the amount of passengers flying. The more people getting on a flight means it takes longer to board, as well as longer to unload the plane when it arrives at its destination.
Analysis has shown, however, that flights before 9am during the summer have a 90% on-time departure rate compared to a much lower 55% on-time departure rate if they are scheduled to fly after 6pm. So, if you want to avoid a delay this summer, get yourself booked on an early morning flight!
Allan, Patrick. ‘Why There Are So Many Flight Delays in the Summertime.’ https://lifehacker.com/why-there-are-so-many-flight-delays-in-the-summertime-1796465726
HMS Queen Elizabeth Ready for Sea Trials
Posted on 26th June 2017
HMS Queen Elizabeth – the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier – will be setting sail on its first voyage later today.
The 65,000 tonne ship will leave the Rosyth dockyard in Fife for its sea trials, squeezing itself through the exit with only 14 inches of clearance on each side! The ship is the largest warship that has ever been built for the Royal Navy, with the flight deck reported to be the size of three football pitches, and a total of eleven tugs will be needed to take it out of the dock.
The ship is 920 feet long, 230 feet wide and 184 feet high and is said to have space to accommodate 1,000 crew members and 40 aircrafts.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is just one of two new carriers which are being built, costing a combined total of more than £6bn.
The warship will set out on its sea trials manoeuvring under the Forth bridges, where it will need to lower its mast in order to pass under with just a few metres to spare.
Captain Jerry Kydd, Commanding Officer, stated that he believes the ship to be important for the reputation of Britain’s naval power. My Kydd said “I think there are very few capabilities, by any country, that are as symbolic as a carrier strike capability. Submarines you can’t see, but these are very visible symbols of power and power projection.”
If all goes to plan, HMS Queen Elizabeth should be on its way to sailing towards open waters by Monday evening. Jonathan Beale, the BBC’s Defence Correspondent stated that the Royal Navy are expecting Russian military to take an interest in the warship as it is tested in the North Sea. However, though it may start its sea trials today, it will be ‘several years’ before the warship will be fully ready and operational.
BBC News. ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth Due to Set Sail from Rosyth for Sea Trials.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-40402153.
More Efficient A380 Jumbo from Airbus as Boeing Launch Latest Version of 737 Jet
Posted on 20th June 2017
Last week Airbus unveiled their plans to upgrade the 'world's biggest passenger jet,' which will provide room for more seating as well as improved fuel efficiency; just a few days after, Boeing announced plans for their 737 Max 10 – ‘the biggest version yet of the 737 short-haul jet’ – at the Paris Air Show.
Airbus have announced that their new A380 Plus will be built using a new wing design which will work to improve aerodynamics, whilst the cabin of the aircraft will hold up to 80 extra seats ‘with no compromise on comfort.’
The A380 Plus will use around 4% less fuel due to its new design and will also boast a higher maximum take-off weight. The aircraft also won’t require maintenance checks as often, and Airbus have stated that airlines will see costs cut by 13% per seat.
John Leahy, Sales Chief, has informed that the plane will provide “better economics and improved operational performance.”
Boeing’s 737 Max 10 will have the ‘lowest operating costs of any single-aisle plane ever produced’ and will hold up to 230 passengers. Boeing has already received more than 240 orders from 10 different customers after the aircraft was announced at the Paris Air Show.
Dennis Muilenburg, Chief Executive, said that Boeing will be producing 57 planes per month by 2020, with monthly production rates rising from 42 to 47 by the end of 2017.
Boeing are also currently ‘evaluating’ the demand for a new aircraft which would sit somewhere between the largest 737 variant and the 787 Dreamliner if it was to be put into production. Boeing have stated that if this aircraft was to go ahead, then it is expected to come in to service around 2024-25.
Mr Muilenburg said that it is estimated that there will be demand for approximately 41,000 new commercial aircrafts over the next twenty years.
Johnston, Chris. ‘Boeing Launches New Version of 737 Jet.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40325015.
BBC News. ‘Airbus Unveils ‘More Efficient’ A380 Jumbo.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40321744.
The Top 17 Airlines in the World
Posted on 13th June 2017
Want to know the best airlines in the world? Well, look no further, as below you can see the top 17 as recently rated!
The below ranking of airlines has just recently been released (2017) from AirHelp. The report is based on three key areas: Quality & Service, On-Time Performance (punctuality) and Claim Processing. Quality & Service means both on and off the ground and includes things such as inflight meals, airline lounges, aircraft seats, cabin staff and comfort. On-Time Performance, literally means as it says – how many of the airlines flights arrived on time, and Claims Processing looks at how efficiently the airline deals with any complaints or compensation claims, how responsive it is to clients, and how quick it is to compensate where required.
And so, without further ado...
- Coming in at number 17 on the list is Eurowings, a German airline which overall scored 7.79. It had brilliant ratings for punctuality – 8.75, however, fell short in its quality & service area with just 6.
- Next up, Air Canada with an overall rating of 7.81. Though Air Canada pulled in a great quality& service score of 8, its 6.58 punctuality score stopped it from climbing any higher in the rankings.
- Emirates came in at number 15 with an overall score of 7.82, achieving good scores in two main areas – 8 for quality & service and 7.8 for punctuality.
- Air Malta flew in at number 14, with a pretty decent on-time score of 8.71, which gave the airline an overall score of 7.89.
- Next is the local Norwegian airline Widerøe, who didn’t pull in the best scores for quality & service, but made up for this with a very impressive on-time score of 9.47! This gave the airline an overall score of 7.91.
- Coming in at number 12 is Air France who scored quite high on the quality & service side, giving them an overall score of 7.92.
- Dutch airline KLM is next up at number 11, achieving an 8 for quality & service, and an overall score of 7.94.
- Following KLM is another Dutch airline – TUI. Pulling in a brilliant 9.05 for punctuality the airline achieved an overall score of 7.95, as it was let down by its score of 6 for quality & service.
- Irish airline Aer Lingus bagged the number 9 spot with its overall score of 7.97, after achieving a score of 8.75 for punctuality.
- Up next is Virgin Atlantic Airways with a score of 7.99. The airline achieved a great 8 for its quality & service!
- Heathrow based airline British Airways came in at number 7, with an overall score of 8.14.
- Italian airline Air Dolomiti is next, pulling an overall score of 8.22 after achieving a huge 8.96 score for punctuality.
- Canadian airline Air Transat came in at number 5 with an overall score of 8.29. The airline pulled in impressive scores for punctuality (9.9) and claims processing (8.96), despite its lower score of 6 for quality & service.
- Austrian Airlines was next up with another good score for claims processing – 8.97. Pulling in an 8.18 for punctuality, the airline achieved an overall score of 8.38.
- Down from first place last year to third this year is Qatar Airways. The airline achieved a brilliant score of 10 for quality & service, giving it an overall score of 8.46.
- Also pulling in a 10 for quality & service is Etihad Airways. Despite a lower claim of 6.83 for claim processing the airline came in at second place with an overall score of 8.48.
- Up in first place with an overall score of 8.73 is Singapore Airlines. Ranking as the most punctual airline with the highest quality, the airline bagged a 10 for quality & service and an 8.7 for punctuality. The airline has made some significate improvements, which have led to it hitting first place for the first time!
So, now you know who the top 17 airlines in the world are, who will you be flying with next?!
Millington, Alison. ‘The 17 Most Punctual Airlines with the Best Service in the World.’ The Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/the-17-most-punctual-airlines-with-the-best-service-in-the-world-a7786066.html.
Disconnected Power Supply to Blame for BA Delays
Posted on 6th June 2017
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airlines Group, British Airways’ parent company, has announced that it was human error that caused recent IT issues, leading to 75,000 passengers being delayed on Saturday 27th May 2017.
Mr Walsh claimed that a power supply had been disconnected by an engineer and it was when this was reconnected that the damage was caused. An investigation will be carried out by an independent company to determine exactly what happened and which will allow the airline to ‘learn from the experience.’
Speaking to reporters, Mr Walsh informed that though the engineer was authorised to be within the data centre, they were not authorised to carry out the actions they did.
As a result of the power issue, 75,000 passengers found themselves stuck in departure lounges, whilst those already on board flights ready to land found themselves circling in the sky as pilot’s informed them of delays to their landing times.
The chaos began in Boadicea House, managed by CBRE, as the ‘uninterruptible’ power supply became interrupted. Though the power to the servers was cut for only a moment this proved to be critical, as, upon being restored, the ‘inter-related systems guiding BA’s global network were thrown into meltdown.’ Everything went wrong: passengers were unable to check in, phone apps stopped working, internal networks used by staff failed and all passengers trying to check in for London flights were being told no by the computer.
Passengers have expressed their frustration at the lack of communication from the airline and its staff, as they stated they were relying on ‘word of mouth and online news’ to find out what was going on. A statement made by the media, which informed that no BA flights would leave Heathrow or Gatwick before 6pm that day, was originally rejected as false by the airline. However, within 20 minutes an announcement was made informing passengers that they should not expect any flight to leave before 6pm.
Mr Walsh again apologised for the inconvenience caused to their passengers and admitted that communications could have been handled better during the incident, allowing passengers further information as to what was happening.
Customers who experienced a delay may be entitled to compensation and are encouraged to speak to our friendly advisors on 0333 212 3077 who will be happy to assist.
BBC News. ‘British Airways says IT chaos was caused by human error.’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40159202
Topham, Gwyn. ‘For BA, a £100m compensation bill could be just the start.’ The Guardian Online. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/03/ba-compendsation-bill-could-be-just-start-it-failure-iag
London City Airport to get Digital Air Traffic Control
Posted on 24th May 2017
London City airport is set to become the first in the UK to have their air traffic control tower replaced with a ‘remotely operated digital system.’
It is believed that the new system will be completed during 2018, however, it will be tested for a year before it becomes fully operational sometime during 2019.
The new system means that controllers will no longer sit in the tower which overlooks the runway, they will instead be located some 120 miles away where they will be watching live footage from ‘high-definition cameras.’
Saab, the Swedish defence and security Company has developed the system and it has already been tested in Australia, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. The new technology is set to be introduced to London City Airport as part of its £350m development programme.
Controllers will be provided with a 360-degree view through the new system by cameras that are able to ‘pan, tilt and zoom.’ The cameras will send live feeds using fibre cables to an operations room built at the Hampshire base of Nats, the air traffic control provider for Britain.
Controllers will be able to get a better view by zooming in using the cameras, something which they couldn’t do in the old tower. The system will also enable them to put radar data onto the screen to track aircrafts and hear the airport as though they are actually there.
The system has raised some health and safety questions, however, the airport has claimed that the system has been independently stress-tested by ‘security specialists,’ and a safety feature of the system means that the cameras are able to identify rogue drones close to the airport.
The system will work by using three different cables, each taking an alternative route between the control centre and the airport, meaning there will always be back-up if one was to fail.
Steve Anderson who work for Nats Air Traffic Control said that the new technology has won him over: “They give the controller more information in terms of what they can see, what they can hear.”
Mike Stoller, Nats Airports Director said “Digital towers are going to transform the way air traffic services are provided by airports by providing real safety, operation and efficiency benefits. We do see this as being a growing market place across the UK and the world.”
BBC Online. ‘London City First in UK to get Remote Air Traffic Control.’ BBC Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39960993
Major US airline, Delta, has announced its plans to offer up to almost £8000 worth of compensation to passengers who were overbooked.
Posted on 12th May 2017
It is believed the announcement has come off the back of the recent incident with United Airlines where a passenger was forcibly removed from a plane, even though they had paid for a seat, due to overbooking.
Delta announced that as of 14th April 2017, they will be compensating passengers up to £7,950 if they are denied boarding due to their flight being overbooked. Gate agents for Delta have now been granted ‘greater flexibility’ to manage overbooked flights, along with a bigger budget to compensate customers who give up their seats due to insufficient seating on the aircraft.
Delta have informed that whereas previously their gate agents could offer £640 compensation to a passenger who is willing to switch flights due to overbooking, they can now offer up to £1,600.
Managers for the airline can offer even more, as their limit has been increased to £7,950 per passenger from £1,080. Only last week the airline paid out £9,000 to a family who willingly volunteered to delay their flights due to overbooking.
Contributing Editor at Runaway Girl Network, John Walton, commented “Delta’s move is not just great PR this week; it’s also cost effective. Every minute that a plane is delayed because gate staff have to plead for volunteers or explain involuntary denial of boarding, or that the baggage handlers have to hunt down a bumped passenger’s checked bag, is real money for the airline.”
Mr Walton added “I can absolutely see other airlines following suit.”
This increase in compensation is hoped to encourage passengers who don’t immediately need to reach their destination to volunteer to get a later flight, allowing those with immediate plans to board a plane if it is overbooked.
Buckley, Julie. ‘Flight Compensation: Delta to Offer Nearly £8000 to Overbooked Passengers.’ Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/delta-compensation-overbooked-flight-bumped-united-airlines-david-dao-flight-3411-a7684841.html
Airlines Face Problems From Overbooked Flights
Posted on 19th April 2017
Travel news has been dominated over the past week by stories telling how a passenger was ‘dragged’ off a United Airlines flight due to overbooking, receiving numerous injuries in the process.
However, it seems that United Airlines are not the only airline experiencing problems caused by overbooked flights, as two passengers were removed from an EasyJet flight just a day after the United Airlines incident. The couple boarded the flight expecting to fly to Catania, Sicily from Luton Airport but after they had boarded the plane, staff asked them to leave as the flight had been overbooked.
The couple, who were not offered compensation from the airline, have had an apology from EasyJet claiming that ‘human error’ was to blame for their removal from the aircraft. The couple were due to stay in accommodation in Italy which was non-refundable and were informed that the next available flight for them was four days after they were originally scheduled to fly.
The airline did not inform the couple that they were actually entitled to a later flight on the same day with a different airline or to compensation ‘as stipulated under EU rules.’ EasyJet have apologised for the errors and have admitted that the couple should not have been given boarding passes to get on the plane at the ‘bag-drop’ area of the airport. However, they were issued passes when the tickets failed to be properly scanned, meaning the system thought there was sufficient seats available on the aircraft.
As the couple were not offered compensation in the form of the alternative flight they were entitled to, they then made the decision to cancel their six day break. It is thought that this incident might not have come to light were in not for the controversy surrounding United Airlines in the news over the recent weeks. It is fair to say that airlines are now aware that small ‘human errors’ can cause massive damage to their reputations.
EasyJet have confirmed they will be carrying out additional staff training on the back of this incident and that they are ‘genuinely sorry’ to the couple whose break has now been ruined. A spokesperson for the airline said “[the couple] were emailed a link to the web page for EU261 compensation applications and the website clearly outlines our policies, we accept that our agents could have pointed this out more explicitly. The circumstances were very unusual and resulted from a manual error at the gate.”
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that any passenger who has been denied boarding has rights protected by European Law, including if their flight has been overbooked.
EasyJet has also claimed that it will be reviewing its policy regarding giving staff ‘last-minute’ seats on fully booked flights.
BBC News Online. ‘EasyJet Forced Couple off Overbooked Flight.’ BBC News Online. Accessed via- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39620088 (19 April 2017).
Ryanair To Compensate 6 Month Old Baby For Flight Delay
Posted on 7th April 2017
Airline Ryanair are threatening to double their infant fees after being ordered to pay out compensation to a baby who travelled on her father’s lap.
The family were flying back from Lanzarote when they experienced a flight delay of more than nine hours and received compensation for the three passengers who had seats booked on the aircraft. However, the airline refused to compensate six-month old Crystal, as she was seated on her father’s lap during the flight.
Despite the initial refusal, a court has ruled that Ryanair will pay compensation to the baby, as just like the rest of her family, she was a passenger on their flight and too experienced the delay. This ruling not only ensures full compensation for this particular family, but also opens up potential for similar claims in the future.
Ryanair’s Legal Team initially likened the baby to a ‘set of golf clubs,’ claiming that as her parents had paid only the £20 administration fee to bring her on board and not an actual travel fee she should not be treated as a paying passenger. However, Judge Richard Pearce stated “Many passengers in many situations, for example, on buses or trains, travel without having a seat. They are nonetheless passengers for that, and I can see no justification for restricting the meaning of the word in this one situation to exclude those without their own seat.”
Ryanair have stated that the compensation paid for the baby will not exceed 250 euros and have requested ‘leave’ in order to appeal the decision.
A spokesperson for the airline said “We have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this daft ruling. It is absurd that infants, under two years of age, who do not pay an air fare or occupy a seat, can now apply for up to €250 EU261 “compensation” for a flight delay, when their accompanying adults will already have been compensated. In this case, the two parents and a sister have already received €1,200 in EU261 compensation, which is almost four times the three one-way airfares they paid of just £104. This is compo culture gone mad. If this ruling is not overturned we will have to consider increasing the infant fee from €20 to €40 to cover these idiotic infant compo claims.”
Spillett, Richard. ‘Ryanair Threatens to Double Fees for Infants After it’s Ordered to Pay £320 Delayed Flight Compensation to a Baby who Travelled on Her Fathers Lap in a Landmark Case that Could Cost the Airlines £10 Million.’ Mail Online. Accessed via- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4387170/Family-win-case-baby-s-flight-delay-compensation.html (7 April 2017).
Unclaimed Flight Compensation
Posted on 4th April 2017
Experts have stated that around 95% of passengers are not making a compensation claim if they experience a flight delay or cancellation even though the majority may be eligible.
August alone during 2016 witnessed a total of 4,000 flights cancelled and an absolutely huge 120,000 delayed throughout Europe, meaning thousands of passengers could have made a flight delay claim but didn’t.
In line with European Regulations, if your flight is delayed by three or more hours then you are entitled to up to £500 per passenger on each paid ticket. The amount of compensation awarded depends on the final destination of the flight and the length of time the passenger was delayed.
There are some criteria that must be hit to make a claim: the plane must have landed at its final destination three hours or more late (the time is taken from the second the plane doors open), must be either departing from or landing in a European Member State, and it must be down to a fault of the airline – for example, natural occurrences such as bad weather or airport closures do not fit the criteria.
It is important to remember, however, even if a flight isn’t delayed by as long as three hours there are still certain entitlements for passengers. A passenger delayed by two hours is entitled to free meals / refreshments, as well as free of charge phone calls or to send two emails to inform others of their delay.
Make sure you aren’t missing out on compensation that you could be owed; My Flight Delayed can take all the worries out of your flight claims by doing this for you on a no win no fee basis!
Rodger, James. ‘£2 Million in Flight Delay Compensation Unclaimed – Could You be Due a Refund?’ Birmingham Mail Online. Accessed via- http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/flight-delay-compensation-eligible-much-11981145 (4 April 2017).
BA Launches Direct Europe To New Orleans Flight
Posted on 28th March 2017
Passengers wanting to travel direct from Europe to Louisiana City are set to be pleased, as British Airways launched a new direct flight on Monday 27th March between London and New Orleans.
Four services a week will be ran by the airline from Heathrow airport to the ‘cultural capital of America’s Deep South’, New Orleans, using a three-class Boeing 787-8. The flights are set to run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and will leave Heathrow at 3.40pm.
The journey takes close to ten hours and lands passengers at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Return tickets start from £599 and the route makes British Airways the only airline to be currently flying direct from Europe to Louisiana City.
Director of Networks and Alliances, Sean Doyle said “We are really excited to be adding New Orleans to British Airways’ extensive global network. It’s a city that boasts an iconic music and arts scene and plays host to more than 130 festivals a year, including the world famous Mardi Gras. Holidaymakers can enjoy the buzz and blues music trails, visit the historic sugarcane plantations, cruise down the Mississippi River or relax on the unspoilt Gulf Shores and Orange Beaches which are just a short drive away.”
This is an exciting addition to the BA routes and means passengers can travel in the comfort of a direct flight.
Powell, Tom. ‘British Airways Launches First Direct London-New Orleans Flight’. Standard.co.uk. Accessed via- http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/british-airways-launches-first-direct-londonnew-orleans-flight-a3499711.html (28 March 2017).
Electronics Cabin Ban For Some Airlines
Posted on 23rd March 2017
Electronics larger than a smartphone are set to be banned from the aircraft cabin on some US and UK flights, as an anti-terrorist precaution.
The ban will be on flights from certain countries in the Middle East, North Africa and also Turkey, and means passengers will have to leave any electrical devices – aside from their mobile phone – in their main luggage, not taking this in to the cabin on the aircraft.
The US ban will cover inbound flights from ‘nine airlines operating out of 10 airports’, while the UK ban prevents passengers on ‘14 carriers’ from bringing electrical equipment other than their phones in to the aircrafts cabin.
Whilst Marc Garneau, Canadian Transport Minister, has stated that his country are also considering introducing restrictions as to what electricals can be taken in to aircraft cabins, the Turkish government has said that they believe the US ban is wrong and should be overturned.
US airlines affected by the ban have been informed that they have until 07:00 GMT this coming Saturday to enforce it with their passengers.
The ban has come as a means of preventing terrorists being able to smuggle explosives in to aircraft cabins in electrical items such as laptops, and therefore securing the safety of passengers and flight crew.
A spokesperson for the British Government said “The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.”
The ban isn’t being welcomed by all, as Editor in Chief of Aviation Security magazine, Philip Baum, said “If we cannot, in 2017, distinguish between a laptop that contains an IED (improvised explosive device) and one that does not, then our screening process is completely flawed. And encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the challenge even harder. Cabin baggage can, at least, be inspected piece by piece and the accompanying passenger questioned.”
Though officials speaking on behalf of the US ban have said there is no end date to it, a spokeswoman for airline Emirates said the airline was under the understanding that the ban was to be enforced from 25 March and that it would be ‘valid’ till 14 October 2017.
BBC News. “US and UK Ban Cabin Laptops on Some Inbound Flights”. BBC News Online. Accessed via- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39333424 (23 March 2017).
Ryanair To Offer US Flights
Posted on 16th March 2017
Budget airline Ryanair will soon be offering trips to the US, as they team up with ‘rival’ Norwegian.
The two airlines have come together to offer customers flights to the US. However, passengers will be required to transfer to another plane and those travelling to New York City may have to land approximately 60 miles from their desired destination.
The new long distance flights are expected to be available from this summer and travellers will be able to source cheap flights from a number of airports within the UK to destinations including New Jersey, Boston and New York.
Passengers will book their tickets via the website of either firm, which will be on a single ticket. They will then transfer to a different plane at connecting airports, where their baggage will be automatically shifted over to the new plane.
The routes for the flights are still being finalised, however, it is believed that possible options may include flying from ‘regional British airports’ to airports such as Cork, London Gatwick or Barcelona with Ryanair and then transferring to a Norwegian flight to the US- Stewart International Airport or T.F. Green Airport.
Passengers flying to those airports in the US will find they have to travel a further 60 miles to New York City from Stewart International and around 63 miles to Boston from T.F. Green.
The deal between the two rivals sets to benefit both; supporting Ryanair in its attempts to attract more customers from ‘upmarket rivals’ and helping ‘open up’ the expanding US routes of Norwegian airline.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said “Given we have the largest route network in Europe, it’s a logical move and a very attractive proposition for long haul carriers.” Bjorn Kjos, boss of Norwegian said that there were also talks of a similar deal with EasyJet, but that these are currently still ongoing.
The deal between the two airlines could cause a bit of a blow to others who have previously ‘struggled’ to match, let alone beat, their air fares. A flight with budget airline Ryanair costs on average £85.10, with Norwegian £96.22, whereas with British Airways the average flight price is £168.70.
It is believed the owner of British Airways is planning for the airline to launch its own ‘low-cost long-haul operation from Barcelona’ this coming June. However, Mr Kjos has recently dismissed any suggestions regarding British Airways being a threat to the operation between Ryanair and Norwegian, as he said “Healthy competition on airlines is the best way to lower fares for customers.”
Ibitoye, Victoria. ‘Fly to The US With Ryanair.. But You’ll Have to Transfer to Another Budget Airline and Land Sixty Miles Outside New York City.’ Daily Mail Online. Accessed via – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4318372/Fly-Ryanair-transfer-budget-airline.html (16 March 2017).
Easter Flight Delays Expected
Posted on 9th March 2017
It is expected that travellers visiting Corfu and Ibiza over the Easter period will encounter delays with their flights, as over half of these are expected to leave after their scheduled flight time.
These expectations come from researchers who have studied common trends over Easter, and who also expect those tourists jetting off to Lanzarote to be delayed too. The research highlighted that the most common delays ranged from 23 – 41 minutes, with over two million people travelling abroad over the 2016 Easter period. However, at times, delays are much longer and passengers find themselves stranded at airports for several hours at a time waiting for their flights.
Vueling Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle came out as the worst last Easter for delays. Vueling Airlines had 50 percent of their flights delayed, with Norwegian Air Shuttle having 41 percent of theirs delayed.
Between July and September 2015 over 78 million travellers used British airports, and during this time, figures showed that over one in four flights experienced delays.
Passengers travelling from a European airport or with an EU airline are entitled to compensation if the flight arrives at its destination airport three hours later than originally scheduled. Compensation ranges between €250 – €600, and the amount awarded depends on the length of the flight and the delay.
Flight delays can be very stressful and inconvenient experiences for travellers. If you experience a delay which means you arrived at your destination three hours or more after the original scheduled time, myflightdelayed.com can help you claim back compensation for the inconvenience caused!
Salmon, Lisa. ‘Will Your Easter Holiday Flight be Hit by Delays?’ BT Online. Accessed via- http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/travel-01364015955030 (2nd February 2017).
SWNS.com. ‘Fun, Sun and Flight Delays’. SWNS.com. Accessed via- http://swns.com/news/fun-sun-and-flight-delays-81335/ (2 February 2017).
Are You Due Compensation?
Posted on 9th March 2017
Did you know you may be entitled to compensation if you have experienced a long flight delay or been denied boarding during the last six years from a flight that has either been departing from or landing in a European Union member state?
You could be entitled to a payout from the airline your flight was booked with worth up to £500 per passenger! This is to compensate for the inconvenience and loss of time that was caused to you, and the minimum payout you could receive is around £210 per passenger.
The amount of compensation you receive is determined by the length of your delay and the distance between departure and arrival airports and you can even claim for children, so long as their ticket was chargeable.
You can also claim if your ticket was purchased by another person, as the compensation is designed for the person who has suffered the inconvenience (you) and not the person who purchased the ticket for you.
If your flight was diverted to a different airport, or if you were put on a replacement flight with a different airline, you can still claim compensation so long as you arrived at your final destination three hours later than originally scheduled.
If you have your delayed flight number handy, then you can check this yourself on our flight checker, however, don’t worry if you don’t have this we can still check for you free of charge!
Can you afford not to claim compensation if your flight has been delayed? Apply through our website now and let us do all the work for you!
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