Last year, with famous EU company L, I had a trip A -> B -> C, with A a US city and B and C EU cities. First flight was at 5:00pm. Connection time in B was 3h. More than 3500 km between A and B.
The morning of my departure, I got a text message from L telling me that my flight was postponed until 12:15am (so a 7h15m delay!), because of a technical problem.
As I was sure to miss the connection in B, I called L. The guy on the phone tells me that I'll get a new flight to C when I'm in B. I refuse, saying it's too risky and I want to address this now. Ultimately, he proposes a trip A->D->C (with D another EU city) departing at 8:00pm and arriving 5h late in C (w.r.t. my original trip). I agreed to this.
But then I arrived early at A airport, at 5:00pm actually. Guess what I saw through the window: my original aircraft A->B was here and was precisely leaving on time! The L ground staff told me there was no problem on this aircraft or flight. I took pictures of the plane and also snapshots of the text messages.
A couple of weeks later, I contacted L and asked for a compensation. In my view, this was a denied boarding covered up as a delayed flight. They never answered to this but, after some insistence (and threatening of telling the Civil Aircraft Agency in my EU country), gave me 300 EUR. I was asking for 600 EUR as I thought it was denied boarding. L only spoke on the phone and never made a written commitment or answer to my mails.
- Am I justified in thinking that a company could cover up a denied boarding as a delayed flight?
- Do you think I could have gotten 600 EUR, and if so, how then?
- What behavior would you advise if this happened again?
EDIT: There was only one company, L, I made a typo when I erote F. Fixed now.