There is much we can say about Europe vs the USA. One thing they take VERY seriously is delays that are caused by the airline that affect travelers. Now we are NOT talking weather here, we are talking things that are the airline’s fault. I had just such an issue on my last trip home from Sweden.
You see, my flight was delayed by 3 hours departing from Gothenburg Sweden who, while they have kept their own currency, are part of the EU. Thus, Skyteam is bound by EU (EC) 261/2004 rules for delayed passengers as you can see on my fellow BA blogger Chris Elliotts site. There are a great many things they should do including food and more.
My outbound flight was to depart at 6:30AM. I was at the airport really early and at the gate well before anyone else was. I was even too early for the lounge to be open (it opens at 5:30AM btw).
After hurriedly eating a morning snack we went to the gate. That is when things started going wrong. We were delayed ½ an hour. No big deal we wait at gate and we had over 2 hours to make our connection in Amsterdam. That is when the gate agent told me we might as well go back to the lounge this could take a while. Ruh roh!
We did go back to the lounge but decided to check back after a while and see what was up. What started as a quick delay turned into delay after delay after delay with not much information from the gate agents.
After almost 2 hours we were told the problem was mechanical, that is, there was an issue with a window in the cockpit and they were replacing parts and testing and would let us know. After almost 3 hours we were handed the tiny above food vouchers, but at this point they announced the problem was fixed and we were told we would be boarding immediately so there was no time to spend them.
Bottom line we departed over 3 hours late and ended up arriving, after much frustration getting those flights done, over 5 hours late into LAX our final destination. Those joys I will cover in another post but for now this is all about my question to you. You see, since we were over 3 hours delayed departing AND over 5+ hours later arriving I filed a claim for 600 EUROs each for our delay with KLM. Delta was the one to respond to me and told me this:
“Thanks for reaching out to us about your recent travel experience with KLM from Goteborg to Amsterdam. I’m sorry that your flight was delayed causing you to arrival over 5 hours later than originally scheduled into Los Angeles. I wish you and Lisa would’ve had a better experience.
Your travel falls under the guidelines of European Union Regulation (EC) 261/2004 defining an airline’s requirements when flight changes occur. Our records show KLM Flight 1152 on November 4, 2014 from Goteborg to Amsterdam was delayed for 2 hours and 49 minutes due to technical reasons. After the maintenance issues was identified, repairs commenced so the flight could continue on.
I’ve reviewed your claim and we must respectfully decline your request for cash compensation; according to Regulation (EC) 261/2004, airline passengers are not entitled to compensation in case of delays less than 3 hours. While we understand this has caused an inconvenience, as a goodwill gesture, I’m adding 20,000 bonus miles to your SkyMiles accounts. They should be transferred into your accounts within three business days.
As a loyal customer your feedback is always welcomed, as it helps make our service better. Through your experiences we’re able to identify areas that need additional attention. I’ve passed your comments directly to the appropriate KLM Leadership, so they can consider your experience when making changes to improve our service.” – Delta Air Lines Customer Care
Now I do like how Delta feels we are on a first name basis rather than calling me Mr. de Lambert, but on to the email. Delta agrees I was delayed more than 5 hours on arrival but seems to say we left the airport 11 minutes shy of 3 hours late. I can tell you they did not close the door till after 9:30AM by my watch. Either way this may be the reason they were RUSHING us aboard all of a sudden at close to the 3 hour delay mark. Next, I am rather insulted by the 20,000 Skymiles as Delta is basically offering us $200 each to go away.
So what should I do next? I leave it up to you. Please vote in the poll below and tell me what I should do next. I will let you, the reader, tell me the next course of action! – René