‘Airline has fobbed me off after I was held up for nearly four hours’

Karen Bennett with her Flybe boarding pass
Karen Bennett with her Flybe boarding pass
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MUSIC teacher Karen Bennett has spoken of her anger at being ‘fobbed off’ by an airline company responsible for her being delayed.

She was held up by four hours at Belfast airport while returning from a music conference.

Now Mrs Bennett wants to warn others of the excuse being used by airline companies to wriggle out of compensation claims.

She said: ‘I have been completely fobbed off.

‘Every time you ring them you are in a queue of 10 minutes.

‘It’s done as a measure to put people off.’

The flight, which she had planned around her work as a teacher, was meant to take off at 10.50am and get back into Southampton at 12.15pm.

She ended up being nearly four hours late.

She said she left the conference early to make her commitments and she was especially annoyed at the lack of information provided to her at the time.

Mrs Bennett, of Beech Grove, Gosport, said: ‘It was awful.

‘All they gave us was a £5 refreshment voucher.

‘There were people on that flight who were meant to be going on a cruise ship, which had to be held up for them.

‘But Flybe couldn’t care less.

‘There was nobody representing the company airside.

‘There was a complete lack of information.

‘My husband in Exeter was getting more information about my flight than I was.’

A court of appeal ruling in July means airlines can no longer use technical faults as an excuse to avoid paying compensation for flight delays.

Passengers can claim compensation if they are travelling within the European Union and if their flight has been cancelled or delayed for more than two hours.

Since the ruling, thousands have claimed compensation but the airline does not have to compensate passengers if the delay is caused by exceptional circumstances.

Airlines, including Flybe, are now arguing that ‘exceptional circumstances’ include technical faults.

When approached about Mrs Bennett’s case, a spokesman for Flybe said: ‘Flybe can confirm that it will begin to process the claims it has received once a request for a review on the definition of “extraordinary circumstance” has been determined by the European Court of Justice, and the English courts have issued a directive on how such claims are to be dealt with in light of that ruling.

‘It is hoped that the review will have been completed within the next eight weeks.’

Mrs Bennett said: ‘They are hoping to wear people down so that they just go away.

‘They are ignoring it – well, I’m not going to go away.’