Passengers say they turned up at the airport for a flight that had never even launched.
Dozens of readers of the travel section of the UK newspaper the Telegraph have come forward with complaints about Primera Air.
The flood of complaints follows a story published in the newspaper about a family who spent £3,000 (€3,340) on a “dream holiday to Canada only to arrive at the airport to find their flights had been cancelled months earlier”.
The Latvia-based Nordic low-cost carrier later apologised to the family, who had been booked to fly to Toronto from Birmingham – a route that never actually launched.
Primera says it was not given the family’s contact details by LastMinute.com, where the flights were bought, but the online travel agency argues it was not informed by the airline about the cancellations.
“They are thieves”
One reader, Jim Quealy, says: “This airline needs to be investigated. They are thieves. I myself was recently abandoned by Primera Air. My flight from Paris to Boston was cancelled seven hours prior to departure via text.”
He took replacement flights.
“Now Primera will not communicate with me whatsoever regarding payment,” he said. “You cannot reach them by phone, it rings and rings and rings. Email responses from them are either automated, or contain very terse responses from rude, incompetent staff. I am out $1,400 dollars and have no idea how to get it back.”
Another passenger, Jack Webb, says he was not informed when a flight was cancelled.
“When the flights were cancelled I received no notification from the airline at all – for either flight (they had my correct email as they had emailed my confirmation to me),” he said. “I found out about the cancellation when I typed in Primera Air on Google.”
He added: “Contacting the airline was a nightmare. I spent around 18-20 hours in total on the phone trying to get through (after two hours in the queue you get cut off and have to start again), only to be told to email [for] a response form. This email address actually answered my questions but took about two weeks. I was fortunately able to get re-routed in the end but this is only because I stumbled across a BBC article.”
A Primera Air spokesperson tells Telegraph Travel that it “strictly follows EC 261/2004 regulation and all passengers who are eligible for compensation will receive the option of a refund or rebooking”.
The airline’s reputation has also taken a battering on social media. A Twitter account has been launched to detail passengers’ grievances. ‘Donotflyprimera’ has tweeted around 800 complaints since July.