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I was charged £72 because of Wizz Air’s own technical glitch

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: REUTERS/Alamy</span>
Photograph: REUTERS/Alamy

On 27 June my partner and I were booked on a 7.55am Wizz Air flight from Gatwick to Athens. On the Saturday before, I received an email telling me to check in online.

After filling in all the necessary details and double-checking the information, the website said “something went wrong” and I was unable to complete the process. I tried several more times but could not get to the end.

The night before the flight, we stayed in a hotel at Gatwick and tried to check in again, but the same thing happened.

That meant the only option was to do it in person at the Wizz Air desk. However, when we tried, we were told there would be a charge of £72 (£36 each) and, if we didn’t pay, we wouldn’t be allowed to fly.

We explained the problem with the online check-in. In the end, so we could go on holiday, we agreed to pay, and the ground staff suggested we make a complaint when we arrived at our destination.

We did this, but it was rejected, with the company stating that it is “passengers’ responsibility to check in prior to their flight” and rejecting our request for a refund. If we were not satisfied we could lodge a complaint via the aviation alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, the email suggested.

To make matters worse, there was no Wizz Air representative at the airport that we could speak to, and its customer service line costs £1.45 a minute. With very little searching online, we found examples of customers who had had the same experience.

DW, Hertfordshire

After we got in touch, Wizz Air changed its tune and apologised for the inconvenience you experienced and offered to refund the check-in fee.

It says: “Wizz Air has looked into the issue and confirms that the refund was rejected due to an internal error. Wizz Air has sent a direct apology to the customer and offered him a full refund for the check-in fee, which he has accepted. If customers experienced the same technical issue, they should reach out to Wizz Air for a full refund for the check-in fee.”

You feel the refund would not have been issued without our intervention and that other customers will have been put off by the complaints procedure.

Did this happen to you? Let us know.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions