A father disclosed how he sent bailiffs to Luton Airport to force Wizz Air to pay back the extra £4,500 he had to stump up for his holiday after the airline company cancelled his original flight. Russel Quirk is a property expert from Brentwood in Essex and also works as a presenter for TalkTV. He decided to treat his wife and three daughters to a Portuguese getaway during the school half-term holidays in May of last year.
He booked flights to Faro from Luton Airport with Wizz Air in January, which cost him £700.
The father-of-three subsequently booked and paid for hotel accommodation that came to a grand total of £6,000 and which was non-refundable.
The family were all set for their trip to sunny Portugal when disaster struck and almost ruined their entire holiday.
On the morning of the flight, Mr Quirk received a message from Wizz Air informing him that the flight to Portugal had been cancelled.
The property expert told MailOnline: “There was no apology and no alternative offered – which obviously they have an obligation to do.”
The TalkTV presenter was forced to cough up another £2,500 pounds for an alternative flight on the next day in order to salvage what he could of his family’s holiday.
He calculated the cancellation cost him in total £3,900 – this included the new flight tickets, the cost of one night’s accommodation at the holiday hotel that had already been paid, along with transfers and access to an airport lounge.
When he returned to the UK, Mr Quirk set about getting a refund for his original flights plus compensation for each passenger as mandated by EU law in the case of flight cancellations.
However, he soon found that Wizz Air was reluctant to fulfil its contractual and legal obligations.
The company is required to refund tickets for cancelled flights within seven days. However it took them one month, which Mr Quirk described as “shocking”.
He then proceeded to force the airline to pay compensation of £350 to each passenger, as required under EU law.
The property expert contacted Wizz Air UK’s managing director Marion Joffrey, initially via LinkedIn, regarding the compensation package.
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Mr Quirk said it had cost him £180 to take his case to court and another £60 to send in the bailiffs.
He added: “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.”