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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I have booked a package holiday using the Thomson Holidays

Customer Question

I have booked a package holiday using the Thomson Holidays web site. Package holiday 7 days in Grand Canaria. The holiday booking is for 3 adults and 3 children – self-catering.
Reference to the Thomson web site shows that a flight seat reservation facility is available. Using this link it is advised that the seat reservation facility may be free. However, the cost of this ‘extra’ cannot be easily determined until the final payment for the holiday has been made. We then discover a £40.20 surcharge relating to the return flight Grand Canaria to UK. This web page does not advise that the seat reservation facility is not available if Thomson choose to charter seats from an alternative airline.
Notwithstanding the above, Thomson have determined to charter an aircraft for the UK to Grand Canaria flight using AirEuropa (as a sub contractor?). They (Thomson) have now (post contract) advised me that because the carrier is not Thomson airways the seat reservation facility is not available and have referred to ‘terms and conditions’.
My argument is that my booking was with Thomson and that the seat reservation provision was an important consideration when making the booking. My contract is with Thomson and I have no contractual relationship with AirEuropa. Despite my best efforts Thomson are refusing to provide for the seat reservation service for this flight. Basically referring me to AirEuropa.
My argument is that I have not made any booking with AirEuropa. Thomson determined to charter an aircraft from a 3rd. party. Thomson should ensure that the facilities offered by reference to their ‘headline’ web site are maintained. The seat reservation facility was an important consideration and I claim that this was included in their offer. If there are limitations to this offer then the limitations (or exclusions) should be clearly displayed with equal prominence on the same ‘headline’ web page. Do you have any observations / advice in this regard?
This experience now gives rise to another concern. If, for any reason the AirEuropa flight is cancelled or delayed or our holiday is marred due to actions or inaction by AirEuropa (e.g. if Regulation (EC) 261/2004 conditions apply) who do I ‘target’ if I need to seek redress?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Unfortunately it has long been a practice of airline carriers and travel agents that they will try very hard to never have to guarantee a seat reservation. The justification for this really relies on safety and security issues and sometimes they do have to actually move people around for technical reasons e.g best example is you cannot have someone with a broken leg in an emergency exit seat.
That said you paid for a service and they have not honored this service. The very least they should do is refund your reservation fee. It is unfair that as a consumer you could be made to pay for a service without being made specifically aware that the service was conditional and potentially non refundable for non performance.
In relation to the issues:
1. The reservation issue - www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/ - I would complain to trading standards about Thomson and their potential mis selling - they will have the power to potentially give you some compensation;
2.If the flight is substantially delayed for reasons within the control of Aireuropa you may be able to claim compensation against then under the EU compensation scheme. Ensuring you get home, is however a fundamental condition of your contract with Thomson - therefore if they just fail to fulfill this element because one of their suppliers lets them down, you will still have redress against Thomson directly - as not having transportation home goes to the root of your contract with Thomson. You could therefore sue Thomson in the County Court for breach of contract as a worst case scenario. In all likelihood you would probably be able to claim compensation from ABTA or ATOL.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AK
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
Can I be of any further assistance with this?
Kind regards
AJ

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