官司由Northampton County Court决定8月13日是一个节点，12日easyJet给Vera来了电话，表示了道歉和愿意补偿新机票的差额部分，以及70镑的法庭费。今天，Vera告诉我钱已经到帐了，7个月之后，终于搞定了。
自4月12日第二次投诉结果不满意时，我就开始研究英国有关这些问题的法律诉讼方式以及案例。航空公司的相关案例可以在一个叫Flightmole的论坛上看到，easyJet也有专门的子栏目：http://flightmole.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=14，欧盟有关航班不正常的解决条款全文则可以在欧盟委员会网站上下载，Regulation 261/2004在这里：http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF。看了一部分例子之后，我坚信我一定可以要到替换航班的差价，并且我确实也不是为了享受商务舱才买的匈牙利的票，决定的背景、动机都非常理性和正常。Google一些关键词之后看到英国有小额诉讼的建议程序，简单到不出家门动动手指上个网就可以把别人给告了，只是网上码子空间有限，对我这样写东西喜欢臭长臭长的人来说是在不爽，如果写不下就得自己打出来寄给被告和法庭。地址在这里：https://authenticate.gateway.gov.uk/sidp/SignIn.ashx?gwv=1.0&gwrealm=urn%3aMoJ-Services-PTL. 使用说明在这里：http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/Makingacourtclaimformoney/DG_195688，当然这个小额诉讼也是可以到各个郡法庭去起诉，只是如果有网络，为何不用呢？
8月12日早上，easyJet的法务顾问给Vera来了电话，表示知悉没有补偿我们的替换航班非常震惊（这句表态明显装13），他同意我们关于补偿航班的诉讼请求，但是解释了一下航班取消的原因仍然如他们客服先前所表示的是由于“特殊情况”引起，因此不能同意我们的没人400欧的赔偿，来电话的人同时也表示70镑的诉讼费easyJet愿意承担。Vera要他发邮件过来我们做决定，稍后就是电邮以及一份格式协议，我的名字在协议中也出现了，Vera on behalf of 我，但是就是这两遍名字，居然还有一个被拼错了，联想起前一阵在英华论坛上看到有人说英国人为什么死活拼不对中国人名字，无论你怎么一个一个字母念他都写不对，哎～协议由我们两个人签署，并且再请一个见证人签署之后连同账户信息返回给easyJet，就等10日之内收钱了。
On 23 Dec 2010, we travelled from Finland to France, as we were preparing to take off from Rovaniemi, Finland to Helsinki on Finnair and then take easyJet to fly to Paris CDG, we received a message from easyJet saying our flight from Helsinki to Paris CDG was cancelled. Since we have already sat in Finnair cabin and were setting to take off, we had to wait until we arrive at Helsinki to settle this cancellation.
Upon arrival in Helsinki, we were given a leaflet from easyJet indicating a general information on flight disruption but the information only suggest us to change date or route on easyJet website. The easyJet representative at airport also suggested us that all EZY flights on consecutive days were full until New Year. Using our laptop and free wifi of Helsinki Airport, we found easyJet doesn’t allow us to re-route online to other airlines to fly to Paris CDG. So we returned to representative for more information. The representative informed us that we could buy ticket from other carriers ourselves and request refund from easyJet later. But the representative failed to answer the questions regarding what airlines and route were available from Helsinki to Paris and how much and which type of ticket easyJet will agree to refund, a guideline which is not mentioned on easyJet’s website (Carrier’s Regulations: http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Book/regulations.html#namechanges) either. As we insisted that we need to know this information, the representative suggested us to call easyJet customer service number 08706000000 to get an answer but the representative didn’t provide any telephone card or method of communication. After holding on line by customer service line for 10 minutes and 29 seconds without able to reach a representative, we hanged up the phone and failed to get a clear answer of re-routing guide line.
Now at this stage, easyJet breached REGULATION (EC) No 261/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL as according to:
Article 5(2) When passengers are informed of the cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport;
BUT: we were not given full information of concerning possible alternative transport.
Article 9(2) passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails;
BUT: we were not offered free communications.
Without knowing the guideline of re-routing and without able to leave Helsinki to Paris on easyJet until New Year’s Day, we were forced to find out solution ourselves. So we tried to book a ticket online ourselves. By that time, the only direct flight between Helsinki and Paris CDG by Finnair next day had sold out. We found tickets to Paris CDG via Rita on Air Baltic that were cheapest at that time but we couldn’t book it online so we approached Finnair ticket service and the staff there checked it for us and replied that there was only one seat left so we can’t book for two. We were then offered by Finnair ticket office a set of choices on Lufthansa, British Airways and etc but all of them were around 1000 euros per person on economy class. For example, the full price of Finnair from Helsinki to Paris CDG is 1068€ if booked in just one day advance. The price of Lufthansa with one transfer starts from approx 850€ and 900€ with two transfers also if booked in just one day advance. Meanwhile, the Finnair ticket office also suggested us that there was a Melév Hungarian flight to Paris via Budapest that is much cheaper than most others but was a business class ticket. We returned to easyJet representative for clarification on whether this business class ticket is appropriate for re-routing but failed to get any comment and were again referred to customer service line.
Acknowledged that these two tickets on Melév Hungarian were last two tickets on its flight, we booked it and left Helsinki next morning.
We then filed our first complaint on 1st January requesting refund of re-routing tickets. However after round of exchange of email and three and a half months wait, we were declined the request by easyJet in that “easyJet does not consider travel via business class as comparable conditions”.
In a 6th June reply from easyJet Customer Service, easyJet again mentioned that “I understand that the ticket which you purchased may have been more cost effective but it is stated in our terms and conditions that we cannot reimburse you for any airline tickets other than an economy class. ”
This assertion from easyJet is definitely groundless and implausible. The definition of “comparable conditions” is not defined at easyJet website, nor the easyJet leaflet we received at the time of cancellation at Helsinki airport. It is not clearly informed by easyJet representative at Helsinki Airport, nor we were offered means of communication to contact customer service helpline to get an answer. Even we tried to contact helpline ourselves, we failed to reach a representative after 10 minutes wait and failed to be informed this definition. To make it clear, on 6th June, we again checked easyJet’s Terms and Conditions (Effective 12 November 2009) and help page carefully searching the website by keywords “reimburse” and “refund”, there are 41 results for “refund” and 1 result for “reimburse” in easyJet’ Terms and Conditions and in help page there are 3 results for “reimburse” and 26 results for “refund” but none of them ever expressed a minimum extend of similar meaning to the so-called “comparable condition is economy class” which we were informed by easyJet when we were claiming for refund. Therefore we were obviously in a circumstance of not acknowledging easyJet’s definition of “comparable conditions” nor we were informed by easyJet of its definition of “comparable conditions”. Furthermore, we were not choosing Malév Hungarian business class for luxury but the choice is based on a rational decision that it is the cheapest ticket that was available to us and as we were forced by easyJet to take a risk to make re-route, which is the risk should not be borne to us, we decided to take the risk at the lowest price.
According to Article 8(1) of EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers shall be offered choice between:
(a) — reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant,
— a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;
(b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or
(c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.
It is actually the obligation of easyJet, which in our case should be easyJet’s representative in Helsinki airport, to offer re-route option if we opted for not to terminate our trip and request a refund.
As easyJet had already infringed the the EU regulation on air carrier’s obligation to offer re-routing to customer, easyJet now further infringed our rights on declining our request of refund. Clearly, there is no ground for easyJet to cite internal rules that are not accessible by public to decline our request of refund.
Moreover, we have observed that both Paris CDG, Helsinki airport and the route between two airports remained open between 23rd December and 24th December, 2010. Among seven flights operated from Paris CDG to Helsinki between 0:00CET 23rd December and 23:59CET 24th December 2010, the EZY3897 was the only flights that was cancelled. And EZY3898 was the only flight operated from Helsinki to Paris CDG that was cancelled during same period.
Therefore according to EU Regulation 261/2004,
Article 5(1)(c) In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7 SINCE:
- We WERE NOT informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; and
- We WERE NOT informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and WERE NOT offered re-routing, allowing US to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach OUR final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; and
- We WERE informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure BUT WERE NOT offered re-routing, allowing US to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach OUR final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.
We are entitled for a compensation of 400€ each in that our cancelled flight is longer than 1500 kilometers and longer than 3 hours.
According to EU Regulation 261/2004:
- As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.
Clearly in either Paris CDG or Helsinki Vantaa or route between two airports, there was no political instability, no security risks, no unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier, also we need to mention that the meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned should not be cited by easyJet as the reason of cancellation of flights as all other flights before and after easyJet’s cancelled flights were carried out and both airports and route in between remained open to air traffic at that time.
We should also mention in advance that easyJet should not try to extend the definition of extraordinary circumstance to its limit to include crew over duty time. As adverse weather impacted majority western Europe airports late December last year, easyJet should foresee the possibility of crew over duty time from the beginning of delay occurred due to air traffic control under adverse weather condition. Therefore stand-by crews should be available in case a shift of crew was over their duty time after a consecutive delays earlier same day. When cancellation indeed happened after this knock-on effect, it is actually easyJet’s internal management issue on human resource and could not be blamed as an extraordinary circumstance.
In a sum, we claim that easyJet shall refund our re-route ticket of xxxx.xx€ on xxx.xx€ each and pay flight cancellation compensation of 800€ on 400€ each.
Rounds of emails were exchanged before filing this claim and after three and a half months discussion, easyJet already refunded our original easyJet tickets of xxx.xxEUR total without our consent on settlement. And on a new round of discussion in June, although we were again declined the refund of re-route ticket, easyJet refunded our telephone charge of £x.xx upon our request.
Therefore we still insist on requesting refund of re-route ticket and cancellation compensation. However, according to Article 8 of EU Regulation, we are only entitled to make one choice between reimbursement of original ticket and re-route, we would like to surrender the early reimbursement of original easyJet ticket which was refunded without our consent and we would like to have that amount deducted from our total claim here.
In conclusion, we request easyJet to:
- Refund ticket of Mr. xxx/xxx on Malév Hungarian from Helsinki via Budapest to Paris CDG at xxx.xx€ and ticket of Ms. xxx/xxx on Malév Hungarian from Helsinki via Budapest to Paris CDG at xxx.xx€;
- Pay 400€ cancellation compensation to Mr. xxx/xxx and 400€ cancellation compensation to Ms. xxx/xxx;
- Deduct early refund of a total of xxx.xx€ from total amount of claim listed above.
- The interest of money listed above since we first filed our complaint to easyJet.
The total amount of money of 1, 2 and 3 above is xxxx.xx€. Based on the currency rate on 24th July 2011, the equivalent amount in British Sterling is £xxxx.xx.
Because it is the intentionally ignorance from easyJet on our reasonable request that led us to proceed to legal process, we would also like to claim the interest on money we are claiming. Based on interest of 8 per cent per year and calculate from the date we filed our first complaint to easyJet which is 1st January 2011, the interest can be calculated by:
So the total amount we are claiming is £xxxx.xx.