When 19-year-old Daniel Nihan purchased an Amsterdam-London-Calgary flight by means of a French on-line journey agent, Combigo, he felt assured the journey can be easy.
The primary leg was on British Airways from the Dutch capital to Heathrow airport, due in at 12 midday on 23 November. The onward connection departed at 2.50pm, giving practically three hours between the planes.
His ticket value £595 a technique. It famous that he had two separate bookings moderately than a by means of ticket, however promised: “Connection protected by the Combigo Assure.”
However after the BA airplane arrived over an hour late and he missed his onward flight, Mr Nihan is a whole bunch of kilos out of pocket – with no assist supplied from the web journey agent apart from providing to promote him a second and much more costly ticket.
The British Airways flight arrived 65 minutes delayed. It was parked on a distant stand at Heathrow Terminal 5, which added to the delay whereas passengers waited for the buses to the terminal.
As a result of he was travelling with checked baggage, which was not mechanically transferred, Mr Nihan needed to go “landside” by means of passport management and gather his baggage. He couldn’t take the swift “airside” bus switch from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3, and as a substitute needed to look forward to a practice from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3.
The 19-year-old lastly reached the WestJet check-in space at 2.05pm, an hour after his BA flight from Amsterdam arrived, and located it abandoned.
He requested British Airways workers for assist, however they may not hint his onward reserving on the BA system – unsurprisingly, as a result of it was a very separate reservation.
Passengers who missed their flights because of the late arrival, and have been travelling on by means of tickets issued for a sequence of flights, have been sorted because the regulation requires. They have been rebooked on later departures and, the place essential, supplied with resort rooms and meals. However Mr Nihan had no such safety.
His ticket instructed: “For those who encounter an issue throughout your journey, you have to contact us by way of the shape on our web site and tell us as quickly as you turn out to be conscious of the issue.
“Solely prospects who contact us throughout their journey are eligible for the Combigo Assure.”
Mr Nihan assumed the corporate would discover him an alternate flight at no further value.
As an alternative, he says, the web journey agent merely stated he may very well be entitled to a refund of the taxes and fees on his authentic flight – supplied to promote him a ticket for the next day at a value of €700 (£603). He checked in to an area resort, costing over £100, and acquired a ticket to Calgary on WestJet for £507 by means of a distinct on-line journey agent: MyTrip, based mostly in Sweden. The journey the next day went easily.
After arriving in Canada, Mr Nihan and his mom, Lisa, tried to contact Combigo with out success.
Legally, the accountability of British Airways ended when the passenger collected their baggage and left Terminal 5. The delay was not lengthy sufficient to set off compensation underneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines.
WestJet has no obligation as a result of Mr Nihan – by means of no fault of his personal – arrived after the “check-in cut-off time” an hour earlier than departure.
The passenger has now paid greater than £1,000 for flights on the airline, which is predicated in Calgary.
The Combigo model is marketed by Syaways. Its small print warns: “Combigo is neither co-organiser of the journey, nor co-supplier of tickets and companies related to the journey. Combigo stays a 3rd get together to the contract concluded between the client and the provider.
Lisa Nihan stated: “We are going to have a look at the Combigo website once more to see if we will declare something again and possibly his insurance coverage. Not holding out a lot hope although. Simply gutted for him.”
Combigo has not responded to requests for remark – and a proof of its “assure” – from The Impartial.
Journey insurance coverage doesn’t usually cowl self-connecting tickets the place the primary flight is delayed.