Primera Air has cancelled its maiden flight from Stansted to Toronto, 15 days before it was due to take off.
If the budget carrier had cancelled one day later, passengers would each have been entitled to €600 compensation.
The route is one of a number of new, ultra-cheap transatlantic flights that the Icelandic carrier has launched in recent months. As well as routes to Spain, it already flies from Stansted and Birmingham to Boston and New York. The maiden flight from Stansted to Toronto was due to take off on 31 May, but this has now been pushed back to 2 June. Flights will begin from Birmingham on 23 June.
A report in the May issue of Which? Travel found one Primera Air flight from London to New York cost just £376 for the most basic ticket, while rival Virgin Atlantic charged £630. Even adding on the expensive extras that Primera Air offer to passengers (a ‘standard chicken meal’, for example, costs £30) its ticket still only came to £512.
Airline without planes?
However, Which? Travel has received a complaint from member Linda Beviss, whose flight home from New York on 23 April was delayed by seven hours. She says she was told by a member of staff at the airport that Primera Air’s aircraft were not ready and therefore it was ‘borrowing from other airlines.’ In a comment to The Independent, Primera Air blamed ‘delay of aircraft delivery from the manufacturer’ for the problems it has experienced.
‘It seems amazing to me that an airline can start operating when it has no planes,’ Linda commented. She is in the process of claiming compensation for her delayed flight, which should be €600.
Cheap transatlantic flights
Primera Air is due to launch new routes this summer from Stansted to Crete (27 July), Palma de Mallorca (28 July) and Washington (22 Aug). New routes are also being launched from Birmingham to Toronto (23 June), Crete (30 July), Barcelona (1 Oct), Alicante (6 Dec), Gran Canaria (7 Dec) Tenerife (13 Dec) and Reykjavik (9 Dec). It will also fly from Manchester to Malaga, starting 24 October.
A planned route from Birmingham to Boston was cancelled due to ‘changing passenger flow trends,’ while flights from Birmingham to New York have been reduced from daily to four a week.
Primera Air told us: ‘Delivery of our A321neo aircraft has been delayed for several days, which has had an impact on our operations. We expect to receive the aircraft in the following week and therefore it won’t affect any other scheduled flights.’ It also told us that it does have 10 Boeing 737 planes and one A321neo.
If an airline cancels a flight with less than two weeks notice it has to pay compensation, unless it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.