After quite a few e-mails, posts and a physical letter being sent, my dispute with United has finally come to an end.
Back in January we were on our first trip of the new year in Oslo, Norway. Despite the chilly weather, we had a great time and really enjoyed our visit. Our one complaint was not having enough time to check out more of the country.
Due to an approaching winter storm back at home our flight was cancelled. Rather than head to the airport, I called United through Skype. We got re-ticketed for the following morning without a problem. When I asked who was responsible for our accommodations, I was told (quite rudely) that we were . I got off the phone and quickly booked a hotel and then Kim and I set out some plans for the day. Why not enjoy our extra day in Oslo!
After writing a post about being stuck in Oslo, I had a few comments related to compensation. I assumed that what United told me was correct and that we were responsible. However, my friend Rene of Delta Points commented May want to see about getting some funds back and included a link to a site related to EU Passenger Rights. After looking it over, I thought that the EU, like the US did not make airlines compensate passengers due to weather related cancellations.
To make a long story short, the following morning at the airport we randomly spoke to two different passengers on our flight. They too were stuck in Oslo due to the storm. However both were at the airport and received compensation in the form of meals and a hotel for the night.
While waiting to board, one of the passengers I spoke with pointed out the United supervisor that helped him out the previous day. I went over to him for a chat and explained the situation. He then told me that we should’ve been compensated due to EU261 Policy. He told me where to put in my claim and that it shouldn’t be a problem getting reimbursed.
After submitting my form I was shocked that a response would take anywhere from 14-21 days. I debated whether or not I should contact United sooner but then decided to wait it out.
After over a month of waiting, I finally got a response from United. The representative asked me to send in original receipts to consider any reimbursements. There was one problem, I didn’t have them!
Our hotel was booked online so I could provide a copy of the booking and I had no clue what I did with restaurant/ food receipts. I wasn’t even sure that we got receipts from many of the places.
I e-mailed United again with my problem and offered to send in credit card statements and the copy of our online hotel booking.
I got a response a couple of weeks later stating that due to auditing, original receipts were necessary for a cash reimbursement. However, I was offered an electronic travel certificate to help offset some of the expenses.
Again, I sent in an e-mail explaining how the hotel was booked and asked again for a cash refund.
I received no response and decided to just send in all of the info that I put together including a detailed letter explaining all of the expenses.
Here are the expenses we were claiming:
- Hotel- $159.22
- Meals- $136.27
Less than a week later I received a response from United thanking me for sending in all of the requested information along with the final outcome.
Here it is:
After having to wait for an excessive amount of time at the beginning, United acted and resolved the situation in what I am guessing is the best way they could.
Did I get exactly what I wanted? No, but I do believe that in the end United handled the situation (overall) in a professional manner.
The big issue that I have, is not being told from the beginning what our rights were. Since our flight was departing from the EU (or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland), United was supposed to let its passengers know what compensation was provided due to EU261.
Had I been informed of our rights, I would have saved myself a lot of headache and still had $300 in my pocket opposed to a $300 United credit which expires in a year.
In the end a $300 United credit is not too shabby and definitely better than nothing!
What do you think about the outcome of this situation? Is a United credit fair compensation or should we have been reimbursed in cash for our expenses?