Around eighty travelers have filed a lawsuit against holiday airline TUI Fly Belgium. The passengers suspect that the airline scheduled a much longer flight time on their tickets in order to avoid paying a financial compensation in case of an excessive delay. Claim It is representing the passengers in court while TUI fly Belgium explained to aviation24.be that it does nothing wrong.
Ralph Pais, of Claim It says: “Airlines are looking for new excuses to avoid paying a compensation if their flights have been delayed more than three hours, but this “TUI trick” is unprecedented. According to the airport arrivals page, passengers had a delay of more than three hours, but according to the times on their actual tickets, the delay turned out to be less than three hours. TUI Fly Belgium listed a longer flight time on the tickets, by prolonging the flight time on paper. For example: passengers with a delay of 3.5 hours were only delayed 2.5 hours.”
TUI fly Belgium spokeswoman Florence Bruyère responded to aviation24.be on the case: “To keep customer satisfaction at a high level, we are constantly trying to avoid flight delays. We print our tickets 15 days before the departure, as required because changes less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date always give entitlement to compensation. During our busy holiday period, both in Belgium and at our holiday destinations delays are more common. For example if we are flying to Crete, we take into account that the aircraft has to fly holding patterns before actually landing on the island. We therefore take into account that a slight delay may occur due to these conditions. On holiday destinations, it’s often inevitable.”
Ralph Pais clearly doesn’t agree with that explanation: “In the busy summer period it’s perfectly fine to take into account delays, but adding 40 minutes to one hour extra is deception.”
This morning newspaper Het Nieuwsblad published a print-out of a flight coupon (passenger ticket) and a print screen of the Brussels Airport arrival page. On the passenger ticket, the estimated time of arrival is 05:55, on the Brussels Airport website the flight is expected at 05:15. In the latter case the flight is delayed by more than three hours, while on the passenger ticket the flight doesn’t entitle you for compensation.
The Brussels Commercial Court will now decide if passengers are entitled to compensation.