12:00pm Sunday 21st December 2008
By Clive White
A mother and daughter were left to “squat on the floor” of Majorca airport after their Jet2 flight was cancelled, a judge said.
Corinne Hill and 16-year-old Grace were told there was no guarantee when their next flight home would be and the holiday firm would not supply overnight accommodation.
Rapping the company, at a Skipton County Court hearing Judge Gordon Lingard said it was Jet2 Holiday’s responsibility to look after the Hills and ruled it should pay them £524.36 plus costs.
Mrs Hill’s husband, Mike Hill, a former Craven district councillor, of Upper Sackville Street, Skipton, told the court his wife and daughter had been abandoned at the airport. He said there was no Jet2 Holidays staff at the airport and when they asked about accommodation, were told it was their own responsibility.
The judge heard the Hills had booked a package holiday with Jet2 Holidays but their return flight to Leeds-Bradford was cancelled when a baggage cart damaged the hold of a Jet2.com plane.
The pair were told that they would be put on a flight when possible but staff could not say when that would be. They were also told it was not the airline’s responsibility to find accommodation.
Mrs Hill had to get back to look after her shop in Skipton so the pair booked a flight to Manchester with Monarch Airlines.
She then petitioned Skipton County Court for reimbursement from Jet2 Holidays. When no defence was received in Novem-ber, a judge ruled in their favour.
However, Jet2 Holidays sought to overturn the judgement claiming it had put a defence in the post.
Ian Molloy, the company’s public relations manager, told Judge Lingard that Jet2 Holidays’ terms and conditions meant that the company was not liable for any claim and he should set aside the earlier ruling.
The holiday was bound by the terms and conditions of its sister company Jet2.com, which operates flights, and there was no obligation to find an alternative flight or accommodation, he argued.
But Judge Lingard said there had to be sound legal reasons for overturning the decision and Mr Molloy did not appear to have any.
There was a legal obligation upon a package holiday company to look after its customers and Mr Molloy could not hide behind an airline company’s terms, Judge Lingard said.
He added: “It seems that what Jet2 Holidays expected the Hills to do was squat on the floor of Majorca Airport indefinitely until an aircraft turned up. The Hills had not booked a cheap flight with Jet2, they booked a package holiday with Jet2 Holidays and that is the key part of this case.”
He accused the firm of hiding behind its terms and conditions.
“It is your responsibility as a package holiday operator to look after them, forget the airline’s terms and conditions, they are not relevant, ” he told Mr Molloy.
Judge Lingard ruled that Jet2 Holidays had produced no evidence to overturn the earlier ruling. The company had initially offered £40.99.
After the case Mr Hill said: “I think they made a mistake by treating everyone as if they had simply booked a cheap flight.
“If they had given my wife and daughter somewhere to stay and something to eat then we would never have gone to court.”
Afterwards a Jet2holidays spokesman said: “We apologise for the error. We are reviewing this situation to ensure that this isolated incident does not happen again.”
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