Back last Summer I booked a 3 night stay for me in and my partner in Hamburg for early March and had made the booking through Expedia.
Our flight was with Flybe and was due to depart Birmingham International at around 10,30 on Thursday Morning, returning to the UK on Sunday afternoon.
A few days before we were due to fly, I went on to the Flybe website to do the online check in and was very surprised to see that our flight was no longer at 10.30 but now didn't depart until 17.00! It essentially meant that we would miss a whole day of our trip meaning we couldn't do a planned daytip to Lubeck.
I eventually found out that our morning flight had been cancelled several months earlier and anyone who had been booked on that flight had automatically been transferred to the late afternoon flight, but neither Expedia nor Flybe had bothered to inform us, however worse was to come.
We eventually made our Journey to the airport, the date being 1 March 2018, the day 'the beast from the east' hit the west midlands'. We had been fearing all day that our flight would be cancelled but when we arrived at BI our flight was still listed as being on time. We then relaxed and had a couple of drinks in the departure lounge and were eventually called to board the plane.
Shortly after boarding we were informed by the Captain that there would be roughly an half an hour delay as work needed to be done to clear snow from the runway. We sat patiently for around 50 minutes before the captain gave us a further update at which point he told us the runway was due to reopen within the next few minutes and he expected us to take off in around half an hour. However the plane never went anywhere. Roughly 45 minutes later we were eventually told that Flybe had taken the decision to cancel the flight as there was an 23.00 curfew in force at Hamburg and it was no longer reasonable to think the flight could take off and land before this point.
We were kept for close to another hour on the plane due to a path needing to be cleared for us to get back to the terminal.
To be honest I don't hold any ill feeling to Flybe for what had happened up to this point. The Captain did keep us informed of the situation and was very sympathetic to us, as were the cabin crew and as far as I'm aware no other flights managed to take off that night and the situation was purely down to the bad weather.
However it was how we were treated after we left the plane which has caused me great issue. Once back into the terminal we were advised to go to the Flybe desk to see if our flight could be rescheduled. We were kept in a queue for over an hour when the man at the desk (there was only one person at the desk to deal with several hundred passengers) shouted something out few of us could hear I eventually found out he said the flights for the following day were full. I wondered away from the queue and eventually found a member of the Flybe staff and asked her 2 questions:
1. Was there any chance of us getting allocated a seat on an alternative airline the following day? she told us they did not have the facility at the airport to be able to do that but if we rang the call centre they may be able to help us.
2. Would we be given accommodation for the night? we were then simply told no as there were no hotel rooms available, I asked where were we expected to stay, she said she didn't know.
We then tried calling the call centre but it had closed. Given how bad the weather was we thought it would be foolish to try and get home that night as we had travelled to the airport from Malvern by train where we had parked the car. All trains going in that direction either seemed to be cancelled or there were big delays. Eventually we managed to get on a train back to Birmingham City Centre where we able to get a Hotel room for the night which I for out of my own money.
We tried again first thing in the morning to contact the Flybe call centre but were put on hold for over an hour and eventually gave up. We then made our way back home. Once back at home I contacted Expedia to see whether our trip could be rearranged through them or whether I could get my money refunded. Expedia told us the trip would need to be rearranged within 7 days otherwise I would be entitled to a refund. I told them it wasn't possible for us to make the trip within 7 days so I would have a refund.
To Expedia's credit they refunded me the money for the cancelled flight and the hotel booking within a few days but told me as our return flight from Hamburg wasn't cancelled Flybe would need to reimburse me for this. I was initially told I would get this money back within 10 working days and I didn't. I tried again after the 10 days were up but was then told refunds are currently taking around 20 days to process! it's now been 5 weeks since the aborted trip and still no sign of that refund from Flybe. It's the first time I've booked a flight with them and almost certainly now the last.