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Airport passengers out of pocket after delays

In World
April 30, 2024

Passengers say major delays at Birmingham Airport on Monday have left them out of pocket after paying for new flights to reach their destinations.

Many people were stuck in queues and missed their flights on Monday due to a technical issue with security lanes.

Lily-Rose Watkins, a student living in Selly Oak, Birmingham, said she spent about £100 to travel by train to Bristol airport and from there board a new flight to Spain after missing her original departure.

Birmingham Airport has apologised and said that passengers should make contact to discuss any concerns.

Ms Watkins said she arrived at Birmingham Airport at 06:00 BST on Monday in order to travel to Alicante for a three-day holiday with friends. But they had to wait for three hours to get through security, by which time their gate had closed.

“We had no chance of getting on that flight,” Ms Watkins told BBC Radio WM.

The group travelled to Bristol later that day and reached Alicante in the evening, causing them to lose one day of their short break.

Roger Burton, who also missed his flight from Birmingham to Alicante on Monday, said he had spent about £165 on a new flight from Birmingham for Wednesday and would also have to cover taxi costs to the site again.

“It was absolutely disgusting, the way we were treated,” Mr Burton, 79, said of the delays.

He told BBC Radio WM that passengers “were herded like cattle” through the airport, there was a “crush of people” waiting for elevators, and staff seemed to have little or no information on what was happening.

Compensation rights

Passengers cannot claim compensation from airlines if they miss a flight for reasons beyond the airline’s control, such as extreme weather or airport delays, according to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

A spokesperson for ABTA added that people may be able to get a payout on their travel insurance if they could show that they arrived at the airport in good time.

A BBC Midlands Facebook post about the delays has attracted more than 550 comments, with one user saying they had to pay more than €320 (£273) in extra flight and taxi fees to reach their home in Spain.

Birmingham Airport said on Monday the technical problem had compounded a peak departure period.

Asked whether Birmingham Airport would provide compensation for affected passengers, a spokesperson for the site told the BBC: “There can be a number of reasons why customers miss flights, which are not necessarily attributable to the airport.

“Customers can contact us via our website in case of any concerns or queries and our agents will investigate alongside our partner airlines.”

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