A British holidaymaker has vowed never to make use of Wizz Air again after the airline cancelled her flight from Portugal to London with just eight hours’ notice – and was unable to assist with rebooking an alternate flight or finding hotel accommodation.
The passenger, Alicia Fellowes, was as a result of fly from Lisbon to London Luton along with her boyfriend, Oliver, on Sunday, June 26, at 10pm – flight W9 4494 – but received a text message at 2pm informing her that the flight was cancelled, together with a link for a refund or ‘Wizz Credit’ that did not work.
The pair needed to return for work commitments the next day – but the subsequent Wizz Air flight was three days later. Because of this, they were forced to spend nearly £700 on a flight to Manchester with Air Portugal that landed that evening and £144 on an airport hotel. Alicia spent £33 on a train to London the next day, while Oliver paid £154 for a flight from Manchester to Inverness as an alternative of from Luton as planned.
Holidaymaker Alicia Fellowes has revealed how her flight from Lisbon Airport (above) with Wizz Air was cancelled on the day – and says the airline offered no support to get her back to London. She was forced to fly along with her boyfriend to Manchester with Air Portugal and catch a train to the capital from there
Alicia, 25, summed up the experience to MailOnline Travel as ‘horrendous’.
When a flight is cancelled inside 14 days of departure, the airline the passenger booked with is legally obliged to get them home and must offer free phone calls and accommodation.
Alicia revealed that none of this was forthcoming – and in truth spent over 50 minutes on the phone to Wizz Air while at Lisbon Airport at a value of £1.50 per minute.
The Budapest-based airline has a ‘live chat’ service, but Alicia said that did not work.
She said: ‘We got no explanation as to why the flight was cancelled or any support following the cancellation – there have been no Wizz Air ground staff at Lisbon Airport and no guidance offered as to how best to get home. We were offered no financial support to book one other flight.
We got no explanation as to why the flight was cancelled or any support following the cancellation – there have been no Wizz Air ground staff at Lisbon Airport and no guidance offered as to how best to get home
Holidaymaker Alicia Fellowes
‘On the airport we were told to go to a help desk where an agent could speak to us on behalf of the airline. Nevertheless, the agent made it very clear that as they didn’t work for the airline there was little or no they might do. They gave us a Wizz Air cancellation form that highlights the compensation you might be entitled to.
‘Additionally they told us the subsequent flight wasn’t for 3 days so suggested we either discover a hotel for the subsequent three days in Lisbon – they couldn’t book this for us and offer us spending money for the three days so that might should be a further cost – after which fly home, or call the Wizz Air helpline to see in the event that they would cover one other flight home with one other airline.’
So Alicia rang the Wizz Air helpline.
After three denied calls by Wizz Air, having been on hold for over quarter-hour in total, she got through to an operator ‘who seemed very unsure what Wizz Air could offer when it comes to compensation’.
Alicia continued: ‘I discussed that we had found a flight to Manchester and asked if the airline would book the flight for us or cover the associated fee. She said she thought they might cover that together with transport back to London but couldn’t book it themselves and said it could be unlikely that the airline would cover the associated fee of an airport hotel, although we had to remain in Manchester because the flight landed so late.
‘I informed her of the numerous costs of the flight, and she or he said it must be fantastic so long as we weren’t flying premium economy or above.
Alicia revealed that she spent over 50 minutes on the phone to Wizz Air while at Lisbon Airport (above) at a value of £1.50 per minute
‘I felt positive at this point, but then she began to backtrack, saying she couldn’t send us an email confirmation confirming approval of those expenses directly and said we’d just should submit a claim and hope.’
At this point, Alicia and Oliver booked the flight to Manchester after which decided to call Wizz Air again ‘to see if someone could confirm a refund/expenses via email’.
‘I actually began to feel anxious concerning the money we spent,’ said Alicia, ‘and this woman was even less reassuring, saying she would hope the airline would give me a refund, but couldn’t promise anything.’
When Alicia discovered these calls cost £1.50 a minute, she decided to avoid using the helpline.
Wizz Air has since refunded Alicia and Oliver £119, but that also leaves them nearly £1,000 out of pocket.
Alicia, who lives in London, added: ‘We feel scammed and really indignant at how badly they might treat paying customers. I won’t ever ever use them again and have told others not to make use of them either.’
Alicia, who lives in London, said: ‘We feel scammed and really indignant at how badly [Wizz Air] could treat paying customers’
Unfortunately, her experience with Wizz Air will probably be all too familiar for some.
And MailOnline Travel heard from Wizz Air passenger Fenella Barrons, who claims that she has been left over £1,000 out of pocket after the airline overbooked a flight to Montenegro and cancelled the return service.
I won’t ever ever use Wizz Air again and have told others not to make use of them either
Holidaymaker Alicia Fellowes
The 25-year-old said: ‘On May 29, 2022, my five friends and I travelled to Gatwick Airport for a Wizz Air flight to Montenegro. Although we had attempted check within the night prior, upon arrival one friend and I were told that they had overbooked the flight and we’d be “lucky to get on the flight”.
‘It turned out we weren’t “lucky” and we were denied boarding after two hours of waiting for the delayed flight.
‘We due to this fact needed to rebook a flight for the next day from Heathrow, arriving at our destination over 24 hours later. This cost us over £400.
‘On Saturday, June 4, once we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it was time to fly home with Wizz Air. Wizz Air sent us an email two hours before check-in time saying the flight was cancelled. Following this, I received no correspondence or advice from Wizz Air to assist with the situation I discovered myself in and felt completely abandoned abroad.
‘No advice was given on the supply of other travel options, when the subsequent Wizz Air flight is perhaps, or any useful information to assist me through this stressful situation.
‘Given we needed to get back for work on the Monday, we took it upon ourselves to book flights to Paris, which then resulted in us getting a train across France and an overnight ferry from France to Portsmouth. Again, this cost us roughly £400 each.
Dozens have taken to Twitter and Tripadvisor to complain about Wizz Air cancelling flights, then leaving them stranded
‘Since then, we’ve continually been attempting to pay money for Wizz Air for the compensation we’re due. I actually have personally had no response from the corporate. My friend has had a response denying the claim, saying she is due only 70 euros for the inconvenience once we are each over £1,000 out of pocket. This has caused me an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. I actually have needed to take day without work work to take care of the stress it has caused me and I’m now living cautiously with little to no spare money.’
When a flight is cancelled inside 14 days of departure, passengers are entitled to not less than £220 compensation, depending on the length of the flight. Importantly, the airline you booked with is legally obliged to get you home
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, clarified what passengers who experience flight cancellations should expect when it comes to support.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘When a flight is cancelled inside 14 days of departure, passengers are entitled to not less than £220 compensation, depending on the length of the flight. Importantly, the airline you booked with is legally obliged to get you home, using other carriers if mandatory. Be wary of accepting a refund, as when you accomplish that, the airline has no legal duty of care to you.
‘For those who are left with no selection apart from to pay for flights, accommodation or food from your personal pocket then you must keep receipts and claim them back from the airline. It is vital to do not forget that expenses have to be deemed “reasonable” to qualify for reimbursement.
‘When a flight is cancelled or delayed as a result of a rare circumstance, your airline shouldn’t be obliged to supply compensation. Nevertheless, should you decide to be rerouted they have to still offer assistance in the shape of two free phone calls, faxes or emails, free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay, and free accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required, because it was in Alicia’s case.
‘Extraordinary circumstances apply to events that are outside the airline’s control. While operational issues on the airport could possibly be classified as a rare circumstance, you might be entitled to appeal their decision and apply for compensation should you disagree with the explanation given. In the event that they reject the claim, they have to provide clear evidence of the explanation for the cancellation.
‘If at this point you might be still dissatisfied with the airline’s decision, you’ll be able to register your criticism with an alternate dispute resolution scheme – the Civil Aviation Authority holds an inventory of approved providers and which airlines they cover. You furthermore mght have the suitable to take an airline to the small claims court should you feel it’s unfairly refusing to pay you compensation. For those who resolve to take this route, it’s endorsed to hunt legal advice.’
Wizz Air said: ‘Wizz Air has looked into the problems raised in these customer cases and located that their claims were rejected as a result of an internal error. Wizz Air sincerely apologises for this. Ms Fellowes will probably be reimbursed in keeping with the expense claims submitted in addition to for the difference in cost between the unique Wizz Air flight and the substitute flight.
‘The 2 affected passengers under Ms Barrons’ booking will probably be reimbursed in keeping with the expenses claims submitted, and will probably be compensated in accordance with EC 261 regulation. The client service team is resolving each of those cases as a matter of priority.’