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Transport / Airline apology after passengers complain about communication at airports

Photo: Shetland News

LOGANAIR has apologised to passengers who were given “varying information” from third party staff at airports on the mainland this week after flights were cancelled due to fog – with one traveller saying there was a “significant lack of communication” at play.

Some passengers have complained about mixed messaging regarding the process of the airline rebooking flights and providing accommodation.

A spokesperson for Loganair said it is “looking into the situation to ensure this doesn’t happen in future”.

One passenger who was supposed to fly home to Shetland was stuck in Edinburgh for two days without any accommodation directly sourced by Loganair.

Roseanne Watt said following a cancelled flight on Tuesday, a staff member of the Menzies help desk at Edinburgh Airport stated Loganair was unable to find any accommodation ahead of a rebooked flight the next day due to lack of availability during the Fringe festival.

She said she was told to either find accommodation herself and be reimbursed up to £200, or “find a corner of the airport and get comfortable”.

But Watt said due to the Fringe festival it was “impossible” to find any hotel rooms at the last minute for below £200, leaving her out of pocket when she booked a room in a hotel near the airport.

She believes that the airline may need to consider increasing the amount it reimburses for accommodation during such events to ensure no-one is left out.

Meanwhile on Wednesday Watt’s rebooked flight had to turn back to Edinburgh due to fog – but she claimed Menzies staff told her Loganair would not be booking any accommodation in the city that night, leaving her to find another stay in a hotel.

The passenger, who was travelling by herself, said over the two nights anyone who did not have hundreds of pounds to put towards hotel costs had to either sleep in the airport, or try to find alternatives.

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She finally did get home on Thursday – although the flight from Edinburgh was delayed slightly due to operational reasons.

Watt said everyone can understand weather issues, but she felt there was a “significant lack of communication, conflicting information and a general lacklustre approach to dealing with distressed passengers” which left “many of us feeling like we were being treated with contempt”.

Meanwhile Carly Cumming, another Shetland resident, said unclear and differing information was given out to passengers who had their flight from Glasgow to Sumburgh cancelled on Wednesday, effectively leaving her out of pocket.

She said Menzies staff told her and her auntie that they either had to get a bus provided by Loganair to Aberdeen before getting the NorthLink ferry to Lerwick, or get a refund.

Cumming said she told staff that passengers had a right to be rebooked on the next possible flight and if this had to be the next day, then accommodation should be provided.

But she said she was told the only options were the boat or a refund – with Cumming going for the latter.

She ended up getting a train to Aberdeen with a night’s accommodation using her own money, and including a flight from the Granite City she booked for the following morning, the total spend per person came to £255.

As the flight she booked herself was for the next day, it was the most expensive fare, she said.

But Cumming said she was surprised to learn from some other passengers on the flight that they were travelling to Aberdeen in a taxi paid by Loganair, with a flight rebooked for them the next day.

She said those people were also advised they could reclaim expenses for their hotel stay.

Cumming said she was “disheartened by the lack of support” from Loganair and has contacted the company, as well as sharing her story on social media.

In response, a spokesperson for Loganair apologised for any mixed messaging from third party staff in the airports.

In a statement they said vulnerable passengers are prioritised for rebooked flights or accommodation.

The spokesperson explained: “Unfortunately, weather conditions at Sumburgh Airport this week have resulted in the cancellation of services from Glasgow and Edinburgh with aircraft unable to land.

“Loganair operates in line with EC Regulations and where a scheduled service is cancelled, even when circumstances are out with our control, we are committed to transporting all passengers to their ticketed destination as soon as operationally practical.

“That means that passengers are rescheduled on to the next available flight, or where necessary, alternative travel will be arranged. If required, we also arrange accommodation.

“However, in all cases vulnerable passengers, such as the elderly or those travelling for healthcare reasons, are prioritised for transportation to their destinations or for accommodation – and unfortunately, when there are major events taking place and hotels are scarce there are very occasional circumstances where we cannot offer these options to all of our delayed passengers.

“Any passengers who feel that alternative transport offered is unsuitable and wish to arrange their own onward journey may instead choose to cancel their booking and receive a full refund on their flight fare.

“In relation to weather cancellations this week, we sincerely apologise to any passengers who have been given varying information by third party partners and we are looking into the situation to ensure this doesn’t happen in future.”

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