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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70522
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Minicab late - missed flight

Customer Question

I called a minicab to take me from my home to Stansted Airport. Flight departure was 1130 am. Taxi was supposed to arrive at 8 am. It typically takes 1 hour (max 1.5 hours) to get to Stansted. The taxi arrived at 8:55 (called driver several times; he kept on saying that he was 10-15 minutes away). If we had left at 0855, there was a good chance to make the flight (boarding pass printed, hand luggage only). However, upon arrival, the minicab driver locked himself out of his car and was unable to open the doors. We missed our flight. The minicab company is refusing to pay for the replacement tickets on the grounds that none of this was deliberate. In their response to me they are clearly lying (eg. they say that the driver left his home at 0630 while he had told me over the phone that he had left at 0715). What are my chances of getting the tickets paid by the minicab company. What is the best way to respond to them to improve my chances?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Sorry for the delay overnight.

Are you hoping to claim from the taxi company the cost of the flights?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm hoping to claim from them the cost of the flights I had to book in replacement for the flight we missed.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

To be wholly honest, this could go either way in Court. I suppose you could try to argue that there were in breach of contract by turning up over an hour late and that caused you consequential loss.

On the downside though, its not clear here what was agreed. If its just that you called them in the morning and they gave an estimate of 8am then thats not a guaranteed time. If you booked them in advance then that is a stronger guarantee.

Also, the point they may take is that it wasn't the lateness that caused you to miss the flights but the loss of keys but then, in your favour, you could argue that it was an implied part of the contract that the driver would attend with keys that work.

Overall, its very difficult to predict which way this would go but it is a small claims court amount so it would be cheap to issue.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks for your assessment. This is very helpful.


I did not expect my case to be as weak as you describe it. Are there any other points which could help make my case stronger?


I had indeed pre-booked them for 8 am. Hence, should have a strong case on that front.


what is your estimate of the cost of putting this case through the small claims court?


have you ever seen a similar case being successful?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
It won't be expensive to sue at the small claims court. Probably under a £100.

It depends on the Judge on the day but I have to say that I think it likely he would say that this type of loss wasnt within the contemplation of the parties at the time the contract was agreed and, also, it was always open to you to call another taxi when he didn't arrive at 8am I'm afraid.