Transport User Voice – February 2017 – Case study

30 January 2017

Mrs Y and her sister booked tickets for the 9.21 Virgin Trains East Coast service from Northallerton to Edinburgh in order to catch a flight to Madrid for a holiday. The train was due to arrive in Edinburgh at 11.58 and their flight was due to depart at 16.40 so they had left plenty of time to catch it.

Unfortunately, the train broke down on route just south of Berwick and despite engineers being called to fix the issue, it broke down again. They didn’t arrive at Edinburgh until 15.45, three hours and 47 minutes after the expected arrival time. The station was very busy but a member of staff helped them with their suitcases to a taxi which took them to the airport. As a result of these delays Mrs Y and her sister missed their flight by just a few minutes.

EasyJet allowed Mrs Y to change her flights to the following morning but because they had only booked a short trip she changed the return flight as well. This cost them an additional £201. As they did not live in the area, Mrs Y had to book a hotel for the evening which cost her a further £61.85.

Mrs Y tried to claim compensation from Virgin for the additional costs she incurred as a result of the delays. Her claim was rejected on the basis that Virgin are not liable for consequential loss as a result of delays, which is in line with the National Rail Conditions of Travel. Mrs Y contacted Transport Focus as she was unhappy with this response considering she had left almost five hours between the train’s arrival and the flight departure time.

We contacted Virgin on Mrs Y’s behalf and asked for compensation as a gesture of goodwill. Virgin agreed to pay Mrs Y £340 to cover the cost of both the hotel and changes to her flight. We believe this demonstrates good customer service.

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