Raw Deal: We help couple claim compensation five years on from nightmare flight

Derek and Barbara Somers have finally won redress for their nightmare trip home from Lanzarote (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

DEREK and Barbara Somers are flying high after Raw Deal helped them finally get almost £700 compensation for a holiday flight that was delayed five years ago.

The couple, from Port Seton, East Lothian, had a nightmare journey back from Lanzarote in May 2013.

They had flown to the popular hotspot in the Canaries from Edinburgh with Thomson Holidays for a relaxing sunshine break and to meet family.

But things turned pear-shaped on the return leg when the Somers were told their mid-morning flight home was running a bit late.

“A rep from Thomson firstly advised we had to stay put at our hotel for a couple of hours instead of going straight to Arrecife Airport,” said Derek, 71, a retired wastewater treatment manager.

“We had a bit of an issue with that as there had been a Norovirus outbreak at the hotel and we couldn’t wait to get away from the place.”

However, things got worse when the flight was delayed for more than five hours, then was diverted to Glasgow rather than landing at Edinburgh as scheduled.

“We were supposed to be back in Edinburgh at 5.30 in the afternoon and had arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the airport,” said Derek.

“In the end, it was clear we would not be back until the early hours of the next morning.”

After touching down in Glasgow after midnight, the couple were taken by bus to the capital.

“We had to call our son Craig to come and get us at Edinburgh Airport at 3.30am which I felt terrible about,” said Craig.

“He was starting work at 8am, so he had to go straight to his job after only a couple of hours’ sleep.

“The whole thing was stressful and because Barbara has diabetes, she felt ill for days afterwards.

“But we didn’t bother trying to pursue any compensation because at the time we didn’t think we would be due anything.”

Then, last year, Derek read in Raw Deal that it was possible to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights going back five years. He put a claim in to Thomson in May 2017 – but was not prepared for another long delay to get what he was owed.

Thomson had written back within a few weeks agreeing that the couple had been treated “outwith normal practice” and said they would receive a cheque for £698.92 compensation for the delayed flight within 14 working days.

“Apparently, this cheque was signed on June 19 but was never received by us,” Derek said. “In October, we were then told it must have gone missing in the post, so we would get another one sent out to us within eight weeks.”

In January, an exasperated Derek contacted Thomson again to say he had still not received anything. By then, the company had changed its name to Tui.

Following further emails and phone calls, he still had no joy – so in March, he wrote to Raw Deal and we contacted Tui on his behalf.

The company investigated and last week agreed to issue a new cheque.

Tui has now been back in touch with the couple and has arranged a bank transfer for the full amount.

A spokesman for TUI said: “We would like to apologise to Mr Somers for the delay in finalising his claim. We can confirm the matter has now been successfully resolved.

“We’d like to reassure all customers that instances such as these are rare.”

It might have taken five long years but Derek and Barbara, 64, now plan to put their compensation cash towards their next holiday.

“We can’t thank Raw Deal enough for finally bringing this frustrating saga to a conclusion,” Derek added.