Vueling Airlines avoiding compensation for canceled flight due to pilot illness

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Mar 14, 2019
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#1
After multiple phone calls, website submissions, and emails to airline leadership, I am at a loss with Vueling airlines. Under european commission regulations, airlines are required to reimburse and compensate passengers when they cancel a flight unless under extraordinary circumstances. I was scheduled for a flight leaving from Granada, Spain to Barcelona, Spain on 3/9. At first the gate agent came on the loud speaker around boarding time and stated they needed 30 minutes to resolve a technical issue. At 30 minutes they then changed their story to say that they had known that the pilot of the previous flight was ill for hours and needed to cancel the flight because there was no back up. Then, the chaos ensued involving stampedes of angry passengers, gate agents literally running away from passengers asking questions. They did not find timely accomodations for passengers, forcing them to wait in cold for hours and board a bus with a driver that drove around the city going from hotel to hotel searching for available rooms until they found rooms for passengers. No vueling employees were available to answer questions and the bus driver was left to his own devices. They did not allow passengers to come off the bus to use the restroom. After several hours, my travel companion had enough of the inhumane treatment and elected to get our own room.

We are seeking compensation as outlined by European commission for flight cancellation and reimbursement of all costs directly related to the cancellation of this flight. Any suggestions on how to get this done would be most appreciated since we have not been able to accomplish any successful communication.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
After multiple phone calls, website submissions, and emails to airline leadership, I am at a loss with Vueling airlines. Under european commission regulations, airlines are required to reimburse and compensate passengers when they cancel a flight unless under extraordinary circumstances. I was scheduled for a flight leaving from Granada, Spain to Barcelona, Spain on 3/9. At first the gate agent came on the loud speaker around boarding time and stated they needed 30 minutes to resolve a technical issue. At 30 minutes they then changed their story to say that they had known that the pilot of the previous flight was ill for hours and needed to cancel the flight because there was no back up. Then, the chaos ensued involving stampedes of angry passengers, gate agents literally running away from passengers asking questions. They did not find timely accomodations for passengers, forcing them to wait in cold for hours and board a bus with a driver that drove around the city going from hotel to hotel searching for available rooms until they found rooms for passengers. No vueling employees were available to answer questions and the bus driver was left to his own devices. They did not allow passengers to come off the bus to use the restroom. After several hours, my travel companion had enough of the inhumane treatment and elected to get our own room.

We are seeking compensation as outlined by European commission for flight cancellation and reimbursement of all costs directly related to the cancellation of this flight. Any suggestions on how to get this done would be most appreciated since we have not been able to accomplish any successful communication.

Under Eu261 you are absolutely owed the duty of care which means hotel and meals.

If the pilot was truly sick you may have a battle. There is no EU court case law that supports paying out under EU 261 and one may have to go to court to get any sort of compensation. Individual courts have ruled that pilot sickness is an extraordinary circumstance -- see Marchbank Smith vs Virgin Atlantic 2015 .

Try with the contacts first. If Veuling does not answer you complain to the Spanish regulatory body AESA
 
Mar 14, 2019
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#4
Under Eu261 you are absolutely owed the duty of care which means hotel and meals.

If the pilot was truly sick you may have a battle. There is no EU court case law that supports paying out under EU 261 and one may have to go to court to get any sort of compensation. Individual courts have ruled that pilot sickness is an extraordinary circumstance -- see Marchbank Smith vs Virgin Atlantic 2015 .

Try with the contacts first. If Veuling does not answer you complain to the Spanish regulatory body AESA

So they are not required to have a back up in place? Just seems odd since they knew for hours about it.

I did try the email contacts and have received nothing in reply.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
So they are not required to have a back up in place? Just seems odd since they knew for hours about it.

I did try the email contacts and have received nothing in reply.
How many hours? Granada is a small airport. No airline has extra pilots waiting around just in case -- especially low cost airlines. They may have tried to find someone and no one could make it in time -- or only pilot may have been too junior to be the lead pilot -- there are all sorts of reasons that one may not be able to be found. There are many restrictions on hours a pilot can work, whether first or second in command -- this is why there have been rulings against passengers.

One thing I have heard about Vueling -- it takes weeks to get a response, even a yes or a no. When did this happen -- March 9or was it September 3 -- are you using the European or American date format?

Also where do you live? I am not trying to be intrusive, but there are different EU agencies that can help.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
#6
So they are not required to have a back up in place? Just seems odd since they knew for hours about it.

I did try the email contacts and have received nothing in reply.
Elsy,

You need to officially request reimbursement and compensation under EC261 directly with the airline. I recommend completing the forum at the below link and sending it to the airline along with receipts for hotel/meals. This way there is no question as to what you are requesting.

http://www.seguridadaerea.gob.es/media/4411670/aesa_formulario_reclamacion_cia3.pdf

If the airline denies compensation and/or reimbursement or they fail to respond after 6 weeks, then send the form, a copy of your emailed request, the denial email from the airline, and any receipts to the National Authority in Spain - Agencia Estatal De Seguridad Aerea (AESA) : sau.aesa@seguridadaerea.es

I had a recent case, where compensation was paid after an appeal to the AESA. Unfortunately, it is not a speedy process, usually taking several months after submission. If the airline claims it is an extraordinary circumstance, and compensation is not due, AESA should provide you their determination on the matter.