Flybe ‘mis­led pas­sen­gers over cash for can­cel­la­tions’

Daily Mail - - Brexit In Crisis - By James Salmon Trans­port Editor

Flybe has been ac­cused of keep­ing pas­sen­gers in the dark about com­pen­sa­tion after it can­celled flights be­cause of pi­lot short­ages.

More than 2,000 cus­tomers re­ceived text mes­sages and emails on Tues­day telling them they would not be able to fly the next day. More than two dozen flights were can­celled yes­ter­day from air­ports in­clud­ing birm­ing­ham, Southamp­ton, belfast, New­cas­tle, Aberdeen and ed­in­burgh.

Pas­sen­gers were told they could re­book on an al­ter­na­tive flight or ap­ply for a full re­fund. but con­sumer groups pointed out that Flybe had not in­formed pas­sen­gers they are also en­ti­tled un­der eU rules to com­pen­sa­tion of 250 eu­ros – or £215 – if a short-haul flight is can­celled with fewer than seven days of no­tice.

Paloma Salmeron, from claims firm AirHelp, added: ‘Al­though Flybe has claimed that all cus­tomers af­fected have been emailed and ad­vised they can re­book for travel on an al­ter­na­tive flight, or ap­ply for a full re­fund, what the air­line has failed to men­tion is that pas­sen­gers are also el­i­gi­ble to claim com­pen­sa­tion.’

Rory boland, of Which? Travel, said: ‘The lack of clear in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Flybe

‘It was com­pletely un­ac­cept­able’

was com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.’ Fu­ri­ous pas­sen­gers vented their frus­tra­tion on so­cial me­dia, brand­ing the air­line a ‘sham­bles’ and a ‘joke’.

The strug­gling car­rier was res­cued from col­lapse last month by a con­sor­tium in­clud­ing Vir­gin At­lantic and the Sto­bart Group. In­vestors, in­clud­ing staff, were vir­tu­ally wiped out by the deal, which val­ued the air­line at just 1p a share.

Dis­grun­tled pi­lots and cabin crew are said to have de­serted Flybe for other air­lines, leav­ing it with staff short­ages.

Flybe apol­o­gised to cus­tomers for the can­cel­la­tions and said 95 per cent of flights were op­er­at­ing as nor­mal.

A spokesman added: ‘We are do­ing our best to mit­i­gate the im­pact of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion that has arisen due to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors in­clud­ing sea­son­al­ity, pi­lots’ end-of-year leave, easter hol­i­days, base re­struc­tur­ing and the short­age of pi­lots across the in­dus­try that Flybe has high­lighted over re­cent months.’

The sham­bles comes after ri­val car­rier Ryanair can­celled thou­sands of flights – some of them last month – after al­low­ing too many of its pi­lots to take their hol­i­days at the same time.

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