Wizz Air paid father £4,500 for cancelling his family holiday after bailiffs sent to Luton airport
A father revealed how he got Wizz Air to pay him £4,500 for cancelling his family holiday to Portugal after months of chasing a refund by sending bailiffs to Luton Airport.
Russell Quirk, a property expert from Brentwood in Essex, said he was forced to buy new flights for the following day after the cancellations.
He told MailOnline: ‘They stonewalled me. It is my belief that they thought I would go away.’
After waiting months for Wizz Air to reimburse the money, Mr Quirk went to court before sending bailiffs to the airport.
Mr Quirk added: ‘Should I, as an aggrieved consumer, have to spend 7 months fighting a corporate entity to get back what’s rightfully mine?’
Russell Quirk, a property expert from Brentwood in Essex, said he was forced to buy new flights for the following day after the cancellations
Mr Quirk originally booked the flights from Luton Airport to Faro in January last year for a May half-term family holiday with his three daughters (two of whom are pictured) and wife
Wizz Air apologised for the cancellation and paid Mr Quirk his money, saying the airline ‘fell short of our own aspirations and our customers’ expectations’
Wizz Air apologised for the cancellation and paid Mr Quirk his money, saying the airline ‘fell short of our own aspirations and our customers’ expectations’.
Mr Quirk originally booked the flights from Luton Airport to Faro in January last year for a May half-term family holiday with his three daughters and wife.
On the morning of their flight he received a message from Wizz Air saying it had been cancelled.
‘There was no apology and no alternative offered – which obviously they have an obligation to do’, he told MailOnline.
He had to wake his three daughters and break the news that they weren’t going on holiday.
As the £6,000 non-refundable hotel had already been paid for, Mr Quirk was forced to book another flight for the following day, which cost £2,500. His initial flights had cost just £700.
The loss of money spent on transfers, two hotel rooms for the first night and the paid-for airport lounge, plus the new flight, left Mr Quirk £3,900 out of pocket.
After returning to the UK from his holiday Mr Quirk said he tried to get compensation from Wizz Air.
But it took a month for the cost of his original flights to be returned along with other legal compensation.
‘They have an obligation to refund within seven days which they didn’t,’ he told MailOnline. ‘That took a month to get a refund. That was shocking.’
Mr Quirk then found Wizz Air UK’s managing director Marion Joffrey on LinkedIn and messaged her regarding compensation. She replied but it took two more emails hounding her to receive the £350 compensation per passenger which the family were entitled to under EU laws.
He then approached the topic of his ‘consequential losses’ – the costs incurred or lost because of the cancellation.
Wizz Air repeatedly ignored his claims for these costs, which came to £4,500 after court fees, to be paid back.
The airline did not respond and a judgement by default was made against them.
After returning to the UK from his holiday Mr Quirk said he tried to get compensation from Wizz Air
The budget airline company then ‘ignored’ the judgement made against them after Mr Quirk took the case to the county court, so bailiffs were then sent in to the Wizz Air desk at Luton Airport
The budget airline company then ‘ignored’ the judgement them after Mr Quirk took the case to the county court, so bailiffs were then sent in to the Wizz Air desk at Luton Airport.
‘Malicious intentional disregard of the British judicial system,’ Mr Quirk described the situation as to MailOnline. ‘They didn’t give a toss.’
The airline could either hand over the money or the equivalent cost in goods, for example in the form of chairs, tables or computers. Wizz Air ended up paying Mr Quirk the money.
The property expert said it cost roughly £180 to take his case to court and £60 to send in the bailiffs.
Mr Quirk said: ‘If they had sent me a holding response or two. If they had communicated with me at all between July and December and said “We acknowledge your claim, we will settle it, please give us 90 days.” I would have accepted that.
‘Except they stonewalled me. It is my belief that they thought I would go away.
‘These companies make the process so difficult, so obstructive that most people do give up. You have got to fight your corner as a consumer.’
A spokesperson for Wizz Air said due to unprecedented levels of disruption across Europe and the UK in the summer of 2022 ‘we fell short of our own aspirations’.
They added: ‘When things went wrong, we did not react quickly enough to manage the high volume of customer claims that resulted from this disruption.
‘We are sorry about this and we are working to ensure that our customers’ experience with Wizz is better this year.’
The airline assured that since December, it has paid all county court judgements which went against the company and is continuing to settle claims.