Which? Legal member Mr Ray Whitford and his wife were stranded in Australia earlier this year after their flight home was cancelled due to the pandemic. Following the cancellation, Mr Whitford sought assistance from Emirates to find a route home, but the responses offered very little help. After contacting the British High Commission in Canberra and waiting several days, they were told they could fly home with Qatar Airlines for £9,223.
Under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention 1999, an airline must reimburse losses suffered as a result of a cancellation, if reasonable steps weren’t taken by the airline to avoid the loss. Emirates made no attempt to assist Mr Whitford in securing flights to the UK with an alternative airline. On our advice, Mr Whitford submitted a formal claim to Emirates, for the cost of the replacement flight. It was rejected on the basis that the amount he sought was more than the cost of the original flight, but Ray stood firm and was eventually reimbursed for the additional sum.
The Montreal Convention establishes passenger rights in case of delayed or lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations, and certain injuries. Article 19 of the Convention can be applied for up to two years from the intended date of travel, provided that all necessary documentation is kept. A claim can be made via the airline’s website.
Emirates told Which?: ‘Following the temporary suspension of passenger flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates has worked to ensure all customers receive full applicable refunds and have completed over 1.4 million refund requests to date. We’re pleased to hear that Mr Whitford has received his refund, and hope to welcome him on board again.’