The Sunday Times - A Question of Money - 3 July

Posted by Jill Kerby on July 03 2011 @ 09:00

Is switch to earlier flight a case for compensation 



FM writes from Meath:  I booked flights for myself, my wife and two teenage daughters with Aer Lingus onJune 7th to Lake Garda, arriving in Linate/Milan airport, and returning from Malpensa/Milan airport on June 15th at 9.20pm.  


On the 10th of June I received a text from Aer Lingus to say my Malpensa departure flight had been cancelled and we would be re-accommodated on a flight from Linate the same departure day of June 15th, but at 11.25am. Full details were supposed to be in my email inbox which I was unable to access in Italy. We took the amended Linate flight. 


We had chosen the later Malpensa return flight on the 15th because it gave us nearly a full day’s extra holiday, even though it cost more, by approximately €70 per person than the earlier Linate departure flight.  


My problem is that we lost a day’s holiday and extra day car hire by having to take the earlier flight. Meanwhile, I still have NOT received any e-mail from Aer Lingus with the change of flight details even though they said it had been sent.


Where do I go from here? Do I just accept it and put it down to luck or lack thereof?


Nowhere in the Rules for Compensation and Assistance (see section IV) does it state that compensation is paid for loss of either car hire or a higher flight charge where an alternative flight is offered on the same departure day as the original scheduled flight or within the number of hours that pertained in your case. (Compensation claims are time sensitive.)

If you wish to pursue this claim for costs against Aer Lingus you need to send the company your complaint in writing. If you are not happy with their response you can refer your complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation at Alexander House, Earsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, quoting Regulation EC261/2004.

Finally, before you go to all that trouble, make sure you also check your travel insurance policy to see if it provides any compensation for the loss of the extra day’s car rental charge, or the extra cost of the original flights because you had to return home sooner.





Wealth and safety


MC writes from Dublin: I have some money on deposit at 3.6% interest in one of the Irish banks. I have been told that it is unsafe there. I have been further advised to invest in German bonds. My query is where can I see German bonds quoted, how can I buy them, what do they cost and what is the advantage in having them?


You can buy German government bonds from a stockbroker directly or with the assistance of a financial advisor. The Bloomberg website provides up to date prices for them.


German government bonds are considered to be very safe because Germany has the strongest economy in Europe and the least likely to default.


The safety of deposits in Irish banks is under question despite the €100,000 deposit guarantee because this guarantee has been made by the Irish state, which is clearly not as good a bet to repay its debts as Germany.  However, like deposits, bonds are also vulnerable to the risk of inflation – that is, the cost of living rising above the interest/coupon that bonds pay. You should ask your advisor or broker about the merits of buying an inflation linked version of German bonds, especially if you aim for more than a short term investment term.




Dollar deals

PH writes from Dublin: You said that financial advisors not recommend exchanging our euro savings into sterling. They suggested other currencies but did not mention the Australian Dollar.

Why was this and how could I go about opening an Australian currency



The Australian dollar, like the Canadian dollar are often included in commentary about  ‘safer’ currencies, especially when compared to the US dollar and the UK pound which have been devalued by their governments in recent years against other countries and especially when valued against the price of gold.


If there is any concern about the Australian and Canadian dollars it is because they are considered to be commodity backed currencies with huge exposure to the economies of China and the United States and could be affected by negative economic events in both those countries. That said, the fact that Australia and Canada have such vast natural resources to fall back upon is one of the reasons why their currencies and economies have so far weathered the global recession as well as they have.


Your Irish retail bank should be able to offer you an Australian currency account (or other convertible currencies). Australia allows non-residents to open deposit accounts, but there is a 10% withholding tax on any return.



Picking the strongest or ‘safest’ currency isn’t easy as they are volatile at the best of times. There is a risk that your Australian dollars (or any other currency) may lose value against the euro and there is no guarantee that your Irish non-euro deposit account would be exempt from any dictat of the Irish Central Bank or government in the event that we went off the euro and reverted to a new Irish pound.   The only way you can avoid that risk is to open a deposit account outside Ireland and some say, even outside the eurozone.




1 comment(s)

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