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A couple of weeks ago me and my partner went on holiday. We had booked with Thai Airways and had a multi-part ticket. London -> Bangkok, Bangkok -> Tokyo, Osaka -> London (via Bangkok) On the day of the Bangkok to Tokyo flight (Nov 17th), I had food poisoning, we got to the airport, but I was constantly throwing up and severely dehydrated, so we saw the airport doctor, they ruled me not fit to fly and sent me to the hospital in an ambulance, my partner stayed with me the entire time. Whilst at the airport doctor's, one of the nurses took our flight information and went up to inform Thai that we wouldn't be able to make the trip (this was about 4 hrs before the flight was due), unfortunately there wasn't anybody manning the check-in desk so they weren't able to notify them, however they said they would return later to let them know.

I sent an e-mail to Thai the following morning (Nov 18th) when I was no longer incapacitated checking whether the remaining flights were still valid. The morning after that (Nov 19th), I received a call from Thai at 9am at the hospital saying that unless we rebooked our tickets (with a new Bangkok to Tokyo flight) at a cost of £1000 each (the original ticket cost us ~£740 each) by 11am, all our remaining flights would be cancelled. We believe the airport doctor notified Thai (in Thai's T&C it states if they are informed prior to the flight they won't cancel the remaining flights), though we don't have any physical evidence.

We could have booked a flight to Tokyo by ourselves for aprox £300 each on the day.

Would there be any room for us to take Thai Airways to court to reclaim the £2000 we had to pay?

  • 2
    How is it the airlines fault that you got food poisoning? Why do you think it was the medical staff's job to contact the airline for you? – Andy Dec 1 '19 at 18:34
  • @Andy I didn't assume it was their job, my partner would have gone up to inform them had the airport doctors medical staff not told us they'd do it themselves. – Kharenis Dec 1 '19 at 20:30
  • I don't get your thinking here; do you really think the airline is going to take the word of some random person that calls them to try and change your tickets? – Andy Dec 1 '19 at 22:28
  • 1) It isn't "some random person", it's a member of airport staff based at the airline's main hub. 2) Informing them that the person in their care won't be able to make the flight isn't the same as changing the tickets. – Kharenis Dec 9 '19 at 15:35
  • And how exactly would the airline verify the person is how they say they are on the phone, and are authorized to talk about the passengers tickets without talking to the passengers? And it is changing the tickets, because the airline will then take the passengers off the manifest for the flight and probably give the seats to others on standby. Basically what you're suggesting is a great way for a malicious person to screw up someone's travel. – Andy Dec 9 '19 at 23:03
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No

You missed the flight. Thai is not responsible for your acts and omissions. As for the check in desk, they are often unmanned, however, Thai have an email address and a telephone number that is manned 24/7. I am surprised that you couldn’t find any Thai airlines staff in all of Bangkok airport given that it is their home base.

This is precisely what travel insurance is for.

Assuming that the fee was correctly charged under the contract terms in the relevant circumstances you have no right to have it waived. Thai might waive it gratuitously if you ask but they don’t have to.

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  • Just to add to this, but its the passengers obligation to inform the airline of any issues with travelling for any T&Cs mentioned to count, not the airport doctors, the hospital or anyone else - if the passenger did not ensure that the airline was informed, the airline is entirely in the clear here. – Moo Dec 1 '19 at 19:51
  • Re the comment about being surprised that the OP couldnt find any Thai Airlines staff at a home base - I was stuck in AMS a few years back after a snow storm, and KLM literally closed all the help desks at 11.45PM despite the queue having several thousand people in it. After that point, you couldn't find a single KLM staff member that had any authority to do anything - everyone had to wait until the desks reopened at 6am. It was a nightmare. – Moo Dec 1 '19 at 20:00
  • @Moo yes, well, I’m surprised but not flabbergasted. – Dale M Dec 1 '19 at 20:03
  • @Moo From the visit to the doctor I was completely incapacitated and unable to communicate with Thai, I took the airport doctor's staff word that they would communicate on my behalf. – Kharenis Dec 1 '19 at 20:34
  • @Kharenis and your partner? Its not the hospitals responsibility or the airport doctors responsibility - they may have failed you in this regard with the promises they gave you, but it's not their responsibility to arrange anything with the airline. In answer to your question Dale is correct - no, you have no recourse against Thai Airlines in this situation. – Moo Dec 1 '19 at 20:43

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