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Old Nov 10, 07, 6:40 am   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: YTO
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KLM Denied Boarding Compensation TLV-AMS

Hoping someone can give me advice on this situation:

I had a confirmed reservation for a TLV-AMS-YYZ routing on KLM. When there were about 15-20 people remaining in the the check-in line at TLV (at about 2 hours before departure time), we were told the plane had reached its weight capacity and that we would have to be re-booked on other flights. At the ticketing counter, we were told we would each receive a $200 (US) compensation voucher to be exchanged for cash at a 'real' KLM office. (The ticketing/checkin at TLV is operated by a third-party contracted to KLM.)
Negotiation attempts for anything more were futile, as we were told that is the only amount they were authorized to issue.

I ended up being re-booked on an AC flight direct to YYZ, however this departure was still 7 hours away from the time I was done at the KLM ticketing counter. The AC check-in didn't open until three hours before that flight, so essentially I was 'trapped' in the check-in area for a further 4 hours. No meal vouchers or phone cards were given.

I feel the compensation I was given was not fair, nor handled in a fair manner and would like to take up this issue further with KLM. Any advice on how I should approach this? Would it be better I send them a letter or use their online form?

Also, would I be able to claim WorldPerks miles even though my re-booked flight was ulitmately on a non-SkyTeam airline?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 10, 07, 7:05 am   #2
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Welcome to Flyertalk!
You definitely get miles as per originating routing in case of invol reroute with FB. I assume that it is the same with WP but you may want to check that on the WP board. You would have to claim that by writing to WP (rather than KL) explaining that you were involuntarily rerouted.

As to compensation, lack of phone card or meal vouchers, this is way below what EU Reg 261/2004 provides: €400 for flights up to 3500Kms, €600 for longer flights. I think that TLV-AMS is just above the 3.5K kms threshold, so you should have been given €600. You need to write to KL customer relations in your country. If you are based in North America, this presumably means writing to NW customer relations, as, afaik, they handle CR on KL's behalf there.
If I were you, I would also cc the letter to the Dutch enforcement body (address details can be found on the EU Commission website) and to the European Commission as it is utterly unacceptable for EU airlines not to instruct their handling agents to comply with the relevant legislation.
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Old Nov 10, 07, 7:38 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
If I were you, I would also cc the letter to the Dutch enforcement body (address details can be found on the EU Commission website) and to the European Commission as it is utterly unacceptable for EU airlines not to instruct their handling agents to comply with the relevant legislation.
Another thing - as far as I remember the EU regulations also stipulate that the compensation has to be offered in cash (though if also an offer in vouchers is made the pax is free to accept that as alternative). I guess it is debatable if a voucher that can be exchanged for cash qualifies as cash. BTW 200 US$ is only about 135 euro at the moment...

And also welcome to FT, CityExpress!
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Old Nov 10, 07, 8:07 am   #4
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forgot to add: if your arrival time at final destination was no more than four hours compared to the original itinerary (which could well be the case since you were on a direct flight), the mandatory compensation is halved.
There may also have been other breaches of the regulation:
1) did they call for volunteers? (they have to defore IDB-ing anybody)
2) did they provide you with a leaflet detailing your rights under the regulation and the address of the relevant enforcement body? (they also have to under the Reg)
Frankvb is right re cash compensation(or electronic bank transfer) but a voucher exchangeable for cash would be equivalent to cash, as long as it did not involve you in incurring extra cost to get the cash (such as having to travel to a KL office, etc...)
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Old Nov 10, 07, 8:25 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
forgot to add: if your arrival time at final destination was no more than four hours compared to the original itinerary (which could well be the case since you were on a direct flight), the mandatory compensation is halved.
There may also have been other breaches of the regulation:
1) did they call for volunteers? (they have to defore IDB-ing anybody)
2) did they provide you with a leaflet detailing your rights under the regulation and the address of the relevant enforcement body? (they also have to under the Reg)
Frankvb is right re cash compensation(or electronic bank transfer) but a voucher exchangeable for cash would be equivalent to cash, as long as it did not involve you in incurring extra cost to get the cash (such as having to travel to a KL office, etc...)
Hmm...yes, I did actually arrive about 1.5 hours earlier at YYZ than with my originally scheduled KLM flight, so I may be out of luck for the full compensation amount.

They did not call for volunteers, they simply told those of us remaining in line that we would not be able to board the flight. No leaflets were given outlining our rights. Does the regulation apply even though I was travelling from an airport outside the EU?

Thanks for your welcoming comments and your help. This is a great resource!
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Old Nov 10, 07, 11:51 am   #6
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Yes, if the operating carrier is an EU airline, the regulation also applies to EU-inbound flights "unless they [i.e. pax] received benefits or compensation and were given assistance" in the country of departure. While the reg does not explicitly say so, I would argue that comparable benefits or compensation is implicit.
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Old Nov 10, 07, 12:59 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Yes, if the operating carrier is an EU airline, the regulation also applies to EU-inbound flights "unless they [i.e. pax] received benefits or compensation and were given assistance" in the country of departure. While the reg does not explicitly say so, I would argue that comparable benefits or compensation is implicit.
Well...... that remains to be seen.
Even though indeed the rules seem pretty clear on this, I know for a fact that KL and AF blatantly state that the EU rules are only applicable for flights originating in the EU and not TO EU countries.
My company has had claims denied by them with this reasoning.
We put up a bit of a fight but in the end we have a business to run so did not bother to pursue further.
And I have heard from other Frequent Travellers that this happens more often.

Keep us updated please!
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Old Nov 11, 07, 4:11 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Yes, if the operating carrier is an EU airline, the regulation also applies to EU-inbound flights "unless they [i.e. pax] received benefits or compensation and were given assistance" in the country of departure. While the reg does not explicitly say so, I would argue that comparable benefits or compensation is implicit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetfan View Post
Well...... that remains to be seen.
Even though indeed the rules seem pretty clear on this, I know for a fact that KL and AF blatantly state that the EU rules are only applicable for flights originating in the EU and not TO EU countries.
My company has had claims denied by them with this reasoning.
We put up a bit of a fight but in the end we have a business to run so did not bother to pursue further.
And I have heard from other Frequent Travellers that this happens more often.

Keep us updated please!
Also, a few key words from the legislation are "and were given assistance". I don't see how they can use the escape clause that I was already taken care of in the country of departure, as I clearly had not received compensation AND assistance. The legislation further defines "assistance" specifically as meal vouchers, phone calls and, where necessary, hotel stays. I think I've got a pretty strong case.

I'll have a letter off to them later today. I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old Nov 11, 07, 5:05 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityExpress View Post
Hmm...yes, I did actually arrive about 1.5 hours earlier at YYZ than with my originally scheduled KLM flight, so I may be out of luck for the full compensation amount.
EU 261/04 makes reference to the delay at your final destination. Art. 2(h): "Final destination means the destination on the ticket presented at the check-in counter or in the case of directly connecting flights the destination of the last flight; alternative connecting flights available shall not be taken into account if the original planned arrival time is respected".

So the questions is whether you had a direct connecting flight. If yes, they might refuse to pay at all. However, you could still give it a try. Reading your posts I assume that you would have had quite a long lay-over at AMS. Pherhaps you had a meeting planned at AMS and you had to cancel it because arriving at YYZ in time was even more important for you?

I used that line of reasoning with KL in a similar situation (my lay over would have been 3h; arrived one hour early at final destination) and they payed the full(!) amount.

Good luck!
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Old Nov 12, 07, 9:08 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetfan View Post
Even though indeed the rules seem pretty clear on this, I know for a fact that KL and AF blatantly state that the EU rules are only applicable for flights originating in the EU and not TO EU countries.
My company has had claims denied by them with this reasoning.
We put up a bit of a fight but in the end we have a business to run so did not bother to pursue further.
Have you considered contacting the company that apparently is in business processing and fighting claims against airlines under the EU rules? They work on a contingency fee basis where their fee comes out of the award from the airlines (no award, no fee as I understand it).

See: http://www.euclaim.com/?Page=HomeEN
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