Missed Flight Case Study

The Issue

The Consumer complained that the train was 50 minutes late which meant that they were unable to travel on the connecting service and arrived late at the airport, causing them to miss their flight.

The Consumer purchased flight tickets for the next day and also incurred the cost of overnight hotel accommodation.

The Claim

The consumer was seeking reimbursement of their out of pocket expenses, i.e. the hotel cost and the new flight tickets.

The Response

The RSP apologised for the delay and provided delay repay compensation.

However they stated that the Consumer had not allowed themselves enough time to allow for reasonable disruption to travel to the airports and that they would be unable to consider the Consumer’s claim for compensation.

What the Ombudsman did

The Ombudsman looked at the RSP’s Passenger Charter and the guidance provided by the airport. The RSP’s information provides general guidance for Consumers travelling on their services to airports; ‘If you are travelling to an airport, we recommend that you plan your rail journey to arrive at the airport station at least 2 hours before your flight. If your rail journey is disrupted and you are unable to reach the airport station in time, we will assist with onward travel where possible if sufficient time has been allowed.’

The Ombudsman looked at the information provided by the Consumer and their flight tickets, and found that the consumer had only left 1 hour 15 minutes from arrival at the airport until the scheduled flight departure. The Consumer had therefore not allowed enough time taking into consideration to the RSP’s airport travel information. The airport also advised that ‘as a general guide, you will need to have checked in and be ready to go through security at least 2 hours before your flight departure time.’

In light of this, had the services not incurred delay and arrived on time, the Consumer would still not have been within the timescales provided by the RSP and the Ombudsman considered that it was foreseeable that the Consumer could miss their flight if disruption occurred to their train journey.

Advice to Consumers: The purpose of allowing additional time to travel is to ensure that the effect of reasonable unscheduled disruption is mitigated and the Rail Ombudsman advises consumers to check the information provided by the RSP and the airport when planning their travel to airports in order to catch a flight.

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