Colleen Lamont’s flight from Scotland to Iceland is delayed, making her miss her connecting flight back home. When her airline rebooks her, it’s on a different airline — and to a different return airport than the one she originally booked. Does it owe her anything for the inconvenience?
Question: A few months ago my WOW Air flight from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Keflavik, Iceland, was delayed. That caused me and my travel companion to miss our connecting flight to Baltimore.
The next day, WOW rerouted us to Washington Dulles International Airport on Icelandair. But our car was 60 miles away at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
I filed a complaint four months ago and haven’t heard anything. I also submitted receipts for the shuttle ($82) and extra day of parking ($10). I can’t get a response from WOW and when I try calling, they have a recording that says they don’t hear anyone on the line and they disconnect the call.
I’d like to be reimbursed the cost of shuttle and extra day of parking we incurred because WOW placed us on a different flight home. Can you help? — Colleen Lamont, Towson, Md.
Answer: Wow, what a nighmare! Of course, the airline should have operated your first return flight on time and on schedule and given you plenty of time to connect with your next flight back home. Then we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.
But then, airlines are not required to operate their flights on schedule and (at least in the United States) they face minimal consequences when they fail to do so. Not so in Europe. I’ll get to that in a minute.
WOW, a discount airline, delayed the Edinburgh-to-Keflavik leg because of “technical” problems. When that happened, it should have booked you on the next available flight and covered any incidental expenses, including, you might assume, your shuttle from Washington to Baltimore.
But that’s not exactly how it works. Unless you have a specific agreement with an airline representative — preferably in writing — WOW’s contract with you is fulfilled when you land in Washington. You accepted its return flight and that’s it. In other words, the airline is probably ignoring you because it has nothing to say. Still, that’s no excuse for giving you the silent treatment or disconnecting your call. WOW can do better.
Once you were back in Baltimore, you could have sent a brief and polite email to one of the airline’s executives. I list the names, numbers and email addresses for the WOW managers on my consumer advocacy website.
I have good news and better news. WOW agreed to reimburse you after I contacted it on your behalf. But EU law — specifically a regulation called EU 261 — requires that airlines compensate passengers when there’s a lengthy delay. Under EU 261, you could be entitled to 250 euros each. Once my advocacy team pointed this out to WOW, they agreed to sweeten the deal. That compensation ought to pay for your parking expenses, and if fares stay low, another flight back to Europe.