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On June the 18th I caught the 4:44AM train from Cambridge to Stansted, which should have arrived at destination at 5:14AM, well before the scheduled flight departure, 6:45, for Napoli.

However, the train never got to the airport. A few minutes before arriving there, the train was stopped in a tunnel. The crew told us "we will be a bit late; we'll update you soon".

But that "soon" came after the arrival time, at around 5:20, where a member of the crew told us "we'll take you back to the previous station, where there will a taxi waiting for you that will carry you to the airport".

Unsurprisingly, when we got off the train (and the train had gone, with all the crew), there was no taxi waiting for anybody.

After a while I and a few other passengers who had booked flights taking off in the range 6:30-7:00 realized we had missed the flight, because there was no way we could be at the airport in time anymore.

When it was too late, a bus arranged by the lady at the train station carried us to the airport, when the flight had departed around one hour earlier.

So I had to buy another ticket to fly to Italy. However I could not fly directly to Napoli anymore, so I flew to another city in Italy and had to pay for a few train tickets in Italy to finally get to Napoli.

  • How can I request a refund?
  • Is it possible that the train company refunds all the expense that I incurred? After all, if the train had been on time, I wouldn't have spent 1€ more than had paid, whereas the misadventure costed me a total of 100.50€ + 43.99£.
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    Looks like the 0444 from Cambridge to Stansted Airport is a Cross Country service rather them Thameslink? realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:G29340/2021-06-18 – skifans Jun 24 at 8:04
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    Stansted website: "As a general guide, you will need to have checked in and be ready to go through security at least 2 hours before your flight departure time.". I wonder if this will affect your ability to claim any compensation? – Muzer Jun 24 at 8:59
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    I must agree with Muzer here that planning to arrive at a London airport for an international flight only 90 minutes before departure can hardly be considered 'well before'. Even a short train delay would in most cases have caused you to miss your flight. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 24 at 11:17
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    Arrival at airport to flight time of 90 mins is recklessly little. If I was the train operator, I'd refuse compensation in excess to the simple late running of the train. – Neil_UK Jun 24 at 12:46
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    If you subscribed for travel insurance, or have travel insurance bundled with the card you used to pay for the trip for instance, you may try to file a claim with them. But as others have stated, they will probably consider you didn’t have enough buffer between train and flight to entertain that thought. – jcaron Jun 24 at 17:07
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You'll certainly be entitled to some refund of the train ticket - https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/help-and-support/journey-problems/delay-repay - exactly how much you'll get will depend on how late you ultimately were at the airport.

Claiming a refund on the flight tickets will be a lot trickier, but not necessarily impossible. For example a different company - Avanti West Coast - has the following in their customer charter: https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/about-us/policies-and-procedures/passenger-charter

Exceptional circumstances In line with the National Rail Conditions of Travel, in exceptional circumstances we will consider extra compensation for any losses or extra costs caused if our services are cancelled or delayed (for example, new airline tickets if you miss a flight). If you find yourself in this position, please fill in the form found on our website avantiwestcoast.co.uk/help/contact-us

You can find the national conditions of carriage at - https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/conditions-of-travel.aspx - the relevant section is:

32.2. For claims made under the industry arrangements (set out at paragraph 32.1.1 above) for losses caused by the delay and/or cancellation of a train service, you can only recover up to the price of your Ticket.

However, in exceptional circumstances, a Train Company may consider claims for other losses. This will be for the Train Company to decide in its sole discretion, unlike your legal rights set out in paragraph 32.1 above. If you wish to ask the Train Company to consider making a discretionary payment, you should write in the first instance to the Train Company at the address which can be found on www. nationalrail.co.uk or by calling 0345 7 48 49 50. Please note that this does not affect your statutory rights (see paragraph 32.1.2).

Sadly I'm unable to find any equivalent text for Thameslink. During 2015 someone tweeted them to ask - https://twitter.com/tlrailuk/status/569900661816619008?lang=en - and was told they do not. Although the national conditions of carriage do still apply. So you may wish to file a complaint anyway.

I'll also note there is a rail ombudsman case study - https://www.railombudsman.org/complaint-handling-missed-flight/ - of a passenger wanted compensation for a missed flight. The claim was rejected due to them not leaving a 2 hour gap between the train and the flight - which you did not.

You could also try and make a claim under statutory rights - the law trumps and railway terms & conditions. Most likely the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You may wish to consider speaking an initial legal consummation to see if you may be eligible.

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    I'm certain that I've in the past read a rail ombudsman (or similar) case that was successful but unable to find it now unfortunately. – skifans Jun 24 at 7:53
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    Just note the OP said Thameslink but the TOC was really Cross Country (SSD isn’t even served by TL, it’s Cross Country + Abellio East Anglia only, so no idea where they got that idea from). You may wish to update links. – Tim Jun 25 at 8:25
  • The 2 hour thing is a bit silly, because last time I went in that early, 4:44 is the earliest train. – Cryvate Jun 25 at 16:26
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You can claim Delay Repay online via https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/help-and-support/journey-problems/delay-repay. You must claim within 28 days of the delayed journey. The amount of compensation depends on the ticket type and length of delay but based on your question, you should receive 100% of your rail ticket cost.

The Thameslink ‘Delays & Compensation’ FAQs Can I claim for additional losses following disruption? state that if you feel you may be eligible for further payment you should contact their customer relations with the full details of your claim.

You should keep a record of your correspondence with Thameslink about the additional losses as your travel insurance provider will almost certainly ask to see it before settling a claim.

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    I will add that I highly recommend contacting them via Twitter DMs. Email is extremely hit-or-miss. I have waited over 3 weeks for an issue to be sorted with back and forth over email, but messaging them on Twitter got it fixed in 5 days. – David Wheatley Jun 24 at 20:13

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