Family sends bailiffs after Wizz Air in Luton after last minute flight cancellation - and gets cash back plus expenses

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The flight was cancelled just three hours before take-off

A family who had their holiday flights cancelled at the last minute got their money back plus expenses – after sending bailiffs to Luton Airport.

Dad Russell Quirk, 55, took action after Wizz Air pulled his family's scheduled trip just three hours before take-off.

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The dad-of-four had to pay over £2,700 on next-day flights, over four times his original £700 fee, despite booking his seats four months in advance. He feared his family would miss their much-needed summer holiday back in May 2022 and that he would lose out on roughly £6,000 for hotel and travel costs.

Russell Quirk  and two of his daughters.Russell Quirk  and two of his daughters.
Russell Quirk and two of his daughters.

He was reimbursed two months later for his initial ticket price but demanded the airline pay for the excess costs.

Russell claimed the airline owed him £3,900 after the cost of the new flights, a night at the hotel and other expenses were added in, and lodged a claim in county court.

He claims Wizz Airlines ignored his emails and letters and communication from the county court.

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He then applied for bailiffs who attended the Wizz Air desk at Luton Airport – saying they could take goods including chairs, tables, computers or even aircraft.

Wizz Air handed over £4,500 after additional fees were added.

Russell said: “We got up at 4am, to leave at 4.30am. I checked my emails and lo and behold it was a very bland, standard email saying that our flights were cancelled. We were all ready, the bags were downstairs and the cabs were called.

“I don’t know how airlines work, neither do Wizz Air it seems. It's utterly ridiculous that they couldn’t see the demand.”

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He added: “When I got back the saga started again. The initial tickets were £700 roughly. They have a statuary job under EU law to refund in seven days. We got it about a month later.

“Then there’s the question about EU compensation. If a flight cancels and it’s their fault they have to compensate you. It took another five or six weeks. It was shoddily handled.

“I lost a day in Portugal, the hotel which was roughly £1,000, all the cabs to the airport and the lounges. It was £3,900 in total.”

Russell, of Shenfield, Essex, took his claim to the county court but Wizz Air ignored the judgement so Russell applied for bailiff action.

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He said: “I looked and Which said Wizz Airlines had over 1,000 county court judgements against them.”

Russel added: “My message is these big corporate entities that can hide behind being busy, this kind of arrogance and inability to provide customers a service, is just go for it. Go through the courts, these companies cannot be allowed to get away with it.”

A spokesperson for Wizz Air told the BBC: "In the summer of 2022, due to unprecedented levels of disruption across Europe and the UK which affected the entire industry, we fell short of our own aspirations and our customers' expectations.

"When things went wrong, we did not react quickly enough to manage the high volume of customer claims that resulted from this disruption.

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''We are sorry about this and we are working to ensure that our customers' experience with Wizz is better this year."

''Since December, Wizz has paid all CCJs [county court judgements] where it received the judgment, and is continuing to work to settle all other outstanding claims as quickly as possible."