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Problems with Air Baltic flight, delays and costs

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I am Jenny Maharjan studying in Munich, Germany. I want to share my worst experience with airlines "AIR-BALTIC". I traveled from Munich to Helsinki on 21st Nov., 2014 with AIR-BALTIC. The flight no. was BT222 from Munich to Riga. Because of the flight delay, I was not able to catch my next flight no. BT303 from Riga to Helsinki. I had booked a ticket from Helsinki to Tampere, which I was supposed to catch at 17:20 from Helsinki to Tampere. But because of the flight delay, I had to bear the loss of ticket at one hand and on the other hand I had to take a taxi from airport to city since the arrival of replacement flight was too late at night. After all of my extra high expenses, I reached the room at 1 am, where I was supposed to reach at 19:35. The extra expenses at one side, physical stress to travel till late night at other side and moreover these things, " THE STAFFS AT RIGA AIRPORT WERE TOO RUDE WITH ME" BECAUSE I AM ASIAN??

 

This was my first time travelling through Air-baltic, and I had to suffer a lot for my choice. "ON THE TOP OF IT, The airlines doesn't take any responsibilities of the customer's loss that resulted because of their mistake. It was so funny that they said they are glad for providing a coupon of one juice and slice of thin pancake (costing 2 euro) as their best care during waiting time, while making the loss of more than 100 euros of their customers."

 

This is the worst airline that I had ever come through in my entire life..

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Sorry for your experience, but I'm not surprised.

 

I flew with Air Baltic a lot in the past when I was travelling to Riga for business every 2nd week and they were always terrible and had staff you don't/can't communicate and don't give a damm, and trust me it is nothing to do with your race, creed or colour, it is just the Latvian way (for many, not all of them).

 

But the good news is that under EU regulation 261 you could be entitled to compensation. I suggest that you do more research on this and look here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_261/2004

 

Basically, if the delay is the airlines fault then they have to pay you compensation. And regardless of if it is there fault or not then they still have a duty of care, which in this case they failed to perform.

 

You need to write to them and explain the facts and apply for compensation. If they don't agree then you need to escalate to the local air authority in Latvia.

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I already applied for compensation.. But they replied " I would like to apologize for inconveniences have encountered due to delay of the flight. Unfortunately we cannot meet your request for additional compensation; however I would like to once more apologize for inconveniences caused by this irregularity and I truly hope that despite this operational shortcoming you will continue considering airBaltic as a trustworthy partner." .. They also said they are glad for providing a coupon of one juice and slice of thin pancake (costing 2 euro) as their best care during waiting time, while making the loss of more than 100 euros of their customers!!

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Thank you for the feedback.. I already applied for compensation but they replied " I would like to apologize for inconveniences have encountered due to delay of the flight. Unfortunately we cannot meet your request for additional compensation; however I would like to once more apologize for inconveniences caused by this irregularity and I truly hope that despite this operational shortcoming you will continue considering airBaltic as a trustworthy partner." They also said they are glad for providing best care of coupon worth 2.5 euro for whole waiting time. I don't understand how can they be glad for providing best care of coupon worth 2.5 euro making loss of more than 100 euros of their customer's... I am very surprised!!

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That's what happens when you cheap out and go with the cheapest ticket/airline around.

You wouldn't have had this problem if you simply flew with Lufthansa from Munich direct to Helsinki.

Now you know, hope you have learned what not to do again.

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If you have trip cancellation insurance, it covers any additional expenses in such an event...trip interruption, delay and catch up cost... expenses for hotel, food, taxi and additional flight cost...through no fault of your own is the key... keep receipts and forward to insurance co.

The airline is responsible to compensate you, there is a body that governs this....will check for you.

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So, you had a booked a separate flight with a different airline for the Helsinki Tampere flight?

 

The delay in your Baltic airline flight resulted in you missing this other flight?

 

How many hours late did you arrive in Helsinki?

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No, I had booked a bus ticket from Helsinki to Tampere .. The flight was 6 hours delayed .. The worst part was I had to expense more because of late night arrival and instant means of transportation that I had to take from Helsinki to Tampere.. It was already too late to find any cheap means of transportation from Helsinki to Tampere, as it was not expected to be happened. Only, the loss of bus ticket was not that big amount, but the loss I had to bare after missing that bus to find an instant and fast transportation as it was already too late (I arrived around 1am in Tampere) ended up big!!

 

About using cheap flight, yes I regret badly to choose airBaltic. This was my first experience with this airlines. I had traveled more than 6 times from munich to Helsinki-Tampere with Finnair but I had never faced any problem. Everyone wish to travel with the best airlines, but sometimes, fund limitation comes on their way, where you have to choose some cheap ones. But in contrast, I had to bear more euros when I tried to save some euros because of this airlines AIRBALTIC, which i will not use again in my life!!

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With a 6 hour delay it looks as if you are entitled to financial compensation on top of the inadequate food.

 

www.airbalticmobi.com/canc_flt.html

 

They are probably just hoping you will just go away!

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Yes in airport, they said to claim for the loss, but in mail, they said they can not proceed any compensation!! They were glad to provide coupon worth 2.5 as their best care.. It seems like if anyone wants to travel with airBaltic, one has to keep some backup euros, more than we expect and keep that in mind that it will be own expense!!

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The "no compensation" excuse is typical, but they are just trying it on. So you need to reply to them and say;

 



  • Tell them that there answer is not acceptable
  • That they had a duty of care which they did not perform
  • That under EU law 261/2004 you are due xxx compensation for the delay as you arrived > xxx hours late, and xxx for the care of duty hotel costs additional travel, food, and phone/internet costs (as long as you have receipts and they are resonable).
  • That you expect this to be paid within 10 working days or you will take it further.

 

 

Then, you need to either;

Write to the Latvian air authority and escalate it.

or

you can use a company such as http://www.euclaim.co.uk/regulation-261, but then they will charge you if you are successful

 

What you need to be very clear about, is that your late inbound made you miss your connection and that you arrived at your destination (airport) xxx hours late. Because your original flight was only 30 mins late, so this by itself is not enough for compensation and it is only because this lateness forced you to miss your connection. Normally a 30 minute connection is quite short, but at Riga the Minimum connection time is 25 mins, so it is considered a 'legal/allowed' connection so this is allowed and hence they are responsible if you miss your connection (I assumed you booked the trip as a single trip).

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On re-reading your posts, it looks like the 6 hour delay was not the flight, but your arrival time at final (flight) destination - Helsinki - due to missing the connection. Is that correct? So neither of the two flights (MUC-RIX, RIX-HEL) was actually delayed by more than 1 hour, but you were put on an entirely different flight as with such a short connection time, even a very small delay will cause you to miss the next flight.

 

If this is right, as annoying as that is, I suspect the airline is not obliged to compensate you. What they must do is re-book you free of charge on their next available flight (which they did)...and depending on the amount of time you have to wait in the connecting airport, offer you a food voucher (which they did, albeit pretty miserly).

 

I don't think they are obliged to compensate you for knock-on extra costs incurred by reaching your final destination late. I'd be interested to know if they are, though - because this sort of thing has happened to me on numerous occasions and to tell the truth, I never even thought to try for compensation.

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On re-reading your posts, it looks like the 6 hour delay was not the flight, but your arrival time at final (flight) destination - Helsinki - due to missing the connection. Is that correct? So neither of the two flights (MUC-RIX, RIX-HEL) was actually delayed by more than 1 hour, but you were put on an entirely different flight as with such a short connection time, even a very small delay will cause you to miss the next flight.

 

If this is right, as annoying as that is, I suspect the airline is not obliged to compensate you. What they must do is re-book you free of charge on their next available flight (which they did)...and depending on the amount of time you have to wait in the connecting airport, offer you a food voucher (which they did, albeit pretty miserly).

 

I don't think they are obliged to compensate you for knock-on extra costs incurred by reaching your final destination late. I'd be interested to know if they are, though - because this sort of thing has happened to me on numerous occasions and to tell the truth, I never even thought to try for compensation.

 

Actually according to EU 261 they are suppose to compensate you as it is your arrival at your final destination that counts.

 

But certainly if you get to your destination safe, sound but just late and you didn't have too high costs (eg. just some costs for extra food and drink at the airport), then I would consider if it is worth it or not.

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Actually according to EU 261 they are suppose to compensate you as it is your arrival at your final destination that counts.

 

Are you sure EU 261 applies here? The way I read it, the situation of missing a connecting flight is not covered by this ruling (not sure, though...I'm not a lawyer!)

 

"Anwendung":

post-10532-14171602660478_thumb.jpg

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(can't edit the above as it would pop in the comment before the pic):

Googled a bit and it seems the courts have indeed ruled in a couple of cases since 2013 that missing the connecting flight is also covered.

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Yes, basically you have a contract from "Airport A" to "Airport B" with the airline, so if you arrive at Airport B with a delay > 2 hours (or as appropiate for the distance) then you could have a right for compensation (depending on circumstances) and it doesn't matter if you had a connection at "Airport C" or not, its your arrival at your final destination that counts.

 

There are some cases where the airlines can re-route you so that you arrive at Airport B still within the time limit, or sometimes you can be sent via other means of transport. E.g. Flight to Paris delayed so they send you via Brussels and Thalys to Paris.

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The flights were same flights (I.e. the flights were not booked separately). So basically, when one flight is delayed it should have contacted the others to wait, which could have caused the second one to be late only 15 mins.

Whomever I talked about this issue, they had replied they also had such problems when they had used airBaltic. I was not familiar with such issues before. I had traveled more than 10 times with other airlines.

The response from airBaltic is not acceptable!! They seems like they don't care their customers. .

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If the second flight was delayed by 15mins, the people on that one may have missed their connection. Onward flights tend only to be delayed if there are a lot of passengers on the earlier flight who would be affected.

 

If you want to get them for costs incurred, they may well come back to you with the question as to why you didn't catch a later bus to Tampere. I checked, and there are buses leaving directly from Helsinki Airport to Tampere until just before midnight...so catching a taxi was actually your choice.

 

It seems like you are entitled to compensation (fixed amount due to lateness at final destination; not due to costs/hardship incurred). Go for that. There's no point in expecting airlines and their staff to "care". Mostly they do what they have to, and often try to get out of that. Most/many airlines will act this way; it's not limited to Baltic.

 

A suggestion for future trips with a tight connection: before leaving home, work out your contingency plan...you can check all options in advance (such as later connections/connections with different modes of transport, availability of cheap hotels nearby, etc..). I always do this when heading off on a journey with a high risk that a connection won't work out (same for train trips).

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