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Looks like a month for it…

Two posts in a row, two complaints… This one to Blu-Express who were anything but express in getting me from Rome to Nice… 11 hours of delays, no staff available to tell us what was going on and an inability to stick within the EU guidelines enforced since January last year.

Basically, don’t use this mob. I noticed that every flight they had on the board (those that were even displayed) were delayed by at least 2-3 hours.

I am writing to complain about your company’s handling of the delayed flight listed above: flight BV1770 from Rome Fiumicino to Nice on 22nd July 2007. This flight was due to take off at 20:00 on the 22nd. Instead, when I arrived at the airport I was informed that it would be 03:00 on the 23rd.

At some point in the evening, this was changed to 04:30, though nobody thought tell the passengers. The first I knew was when my friend in Nice who was meant to pick me up sent me an SMS. There was no tannoy announcement, and the screens in departure lounge B did not have the flight listed at all.

4:00 came and went before an announcement told us the flight would then be at 06:10. We eventually boarded slightly after 06:30.

Throughout all this, no staff were available to give us any information on what was going on. The airport itself must surely shoulder some of the blame, but the attitude from Blu-Express was one of complete indifference. Your check-in staff packed up and went home shortly after everyone had gone through the security gate and left no presence in the airport whatsoever.

Further, EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004 (available here: http://www.aviationreg.ie/images/ContentBuilder/reg261.pdf) states that staff should provide passengers with written details of their rights in case of a delay or cancellation – article 14(2). I asked both at the check-in desk and the departure gate. No such information was available, so decisions were made by uninformed passengers.

Secondly, for a delay which means the flight departs the next calendar day, the airline is obliged to provide hotel accommodation and transport to / from the hotel (Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c)). I requested this and my request was denied.

Thirdly, I asked how I was supposed to contact my friend in Nice who would be awaiting my arrival. I was told that payphones were available or I could use a coin-operated internet terminal. I am legally entitled to two telephone calls, faxes, telexes or emails paid for by your company which I was denied. This is a direct contravention of the Regulation (Article 9(2)).

We were offered and given an evening meal of satisfactory quality. The airport gave us water at around 4am. However, no breakfast was given – not acceptable given the length of time between the evening meal and the actual take-off (Article 9(1)(a)).

I had to make a phone call to France at a payphone which cost me a small fortune. This cost should have been borne by your company. I should have been provided with food, but was not. Given the delay in flight time, I should have been offered a hotel bed and transport there and back – but was not.

In all, your company made a “half-assed’ effort to try to claim it was doing all it legally had to. Sadly, even in this it failed. You did less than the legal minimum and for that I seek and demand some form of compensation. Had you actually satisfied all the terms laid out in the aforementioned Regulation I would not be writing this mail, but you did not. As a result of your ineptitude and uncaring attitude, I effectively lost a whole day of my holiday in Nice – half of it stuck in an airport in Rome to which I will also be complaining, and half of it asleep from exhaustion as there is nowhere to sleep in the airport.

I will, however, be fair and leave it to you to decide a suitable amount of compensation. Rest assured, if the amount is unsatisfactory I will be taking this complaint further to the relevant administrative body in Italy from where you can certainly expect to recieve a hefty financial penalty.

Email is the best way to contact me at present, though if you prefer a land address then please ask and I will be glad to forward one on to you.

Yours faithfully,

etc

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