Apology not accepted

Victor Gil
5 min readApr 1, 2018

TL;DR: After being disrespected multiple times as customer by Smartwings airlines over the years, now I can finally have my little revenge by claiming 400 euros for a delayed flight. The airline sent me an insincere and pathetic apologetic email message. Apology not accepted.

UPDATE from September 2020: Almost two and a half years after the flight, I got my compensation thanks to Wingstoclaim.com, see the details at the bottom.

I have been a regular customer of Smartwings airlines for quite a long time already.
It was not by choice. The reason I fly with them is because it is the only airline which flies directly from Prague (where I live) to Valencia (my hometown).
Although I appreciate that they include 15 kg of check-in luggage at no extra charge, the ticket prices are quite high compared to other low cost airlines (Wizzair and Ryanair, for example).

Also, they do not seem to care much about their customers. Several times they cancelled a flight just few days before the departure date due to “operational reasons”. It would seem to me that the real reason was that they did not sale as many tickets for that flight as they expected, so it would be more profitable to just cancel the flight and screw those of us who already bought tickets.

Another example: in the past they used to advertise direct flights between Prague and Malaga when in reality, it was a Prague → Valencia → Malaga flight.
Let me try to explain it because it was quite surreal.
Passengers flying to both Valencia and Malaga would get on board the same airplane in Prague.
Then the plane would land at Valencia airport, where only the passengers who purchased a PRG-VLC ticket would get out of the plane. Immediately after that, new passengers flying VLC → PRG would get into the plane.
Then the plane would fly from Valencia to Malaga! In Malaga, the passengers who joined the flight in VLC would remain seated, while the passengers who bought a ticket from PRG to Malaga would finally get out of the plane and again new passengers heading to Prague would get on board the plane…

Also, the schedules of their flights are unreliable. Delays are frequent.
One of such delays happened last Thursday March 29th, 2018.
The flight QS1054 from PRG to VLC was packed because of the upcoming Easter weekend.
The departure time was scheduled at 18:35 and the arrival time was 21:20.
But after almost 4 hours of waiting, the plane took off at 22:16 and we landed at 01:00 AM (3 hours and 40 minutes delayed).

According to the EU regulation, each passenger of that flight is entitled to a 400 euros compensation:

During the flight, the captain apologized several times and literally mentioned “extraordinary circumstances” (out of the airlines control) as the cause of the delay.
He specifically said that the bad weather in Egypt caused a chain of delays which resulted in a late departure of our flight. What a lame excuse!!!

This is what the EU regulation says about the extraordinary circumstances:

I am pretty sure that the “adverse weather conditions” should occur either at the departure airport or at the destination or somewhere in between to be counted as an “extraordinary circumstance”, and as far as I know, Egypt is nowhere in the route from Prague to Valencia.

But it gets better (or more ridiculous), the next day, every single passenger of the flight got the following apology by email:

This seems so fake to me, the only reason they sent that was because they hope that maybe someone would not claim their compensation after reading it.
Money is the only apology I want, hence, apology not accepted.

UPDATE from September 2020
Almost six months after the flight (in September 2018), I finally submitted a claim through WingsToClaim.com which is not a very popular site, my first choice was Airhelp.com but they literally told me that they were too busy at that time…

Anyway, I am satisfied with WingsToClaim service, coincidentally, the are based in Valencia, my hometown. The communication with them was fluent and mainly by telephone, I never had to wait in order to talk to a customer service employee and they informed me about the status of our claim. Please note that I talked to them in Spanish, but they should be able to speak English as well.

When WingsToClaim contacted SmartWings, they refused to pay, so they took them to court and finally, SmartWings had to pay 400 euros for each of the 5 passengers, i.e., 2000 euros in total.

The net amount which I received on my bank account this month (September 2020) was 1153 euros though, because WingsToClaim keeps a 25% fee plus 21% VAT and on top of that, since they had to take Smartwings to court, they charge a 40 euros fee per each passenger (plus 21% VAT), so the number match my calculation:
2000 - 0.25 * 2000 * 1.21 - 5 * 40 * 1.21 = 1153

After almost 2 and half years, our money arrived, sweet revenge!

I hope more and more frustrated passengers go through the process of claiming their compensation so that SmartWings and other airlines with similar behavior learn the lesson and stop disrespecting their costumers.

Originally published at www.devaction.net.