Bailiffs were sent to the offices of airline companies, because the companies fail to pay passengers compensation for flight delays and cancellations, BBC Radio 4 You and Yours has learnt.
Thousands of court judgments ordering compensation have been ignored by airlines, including EasyJet and TUI-owned Thompson.
In one case bailiffs boarded a plane.
EasyJet says to change its policies on loans, while TUI has launched an investigation.On the spot payments
Bailiffs are arriving at the offices of the UK’s leading airlines, and staff are on-site payment with debit cards and credit cards, a survey by You and Yours has found.
If the staff fail to pay the bailiffs can remove them and sell their office equipment and furniture.
In one case, bailiffs boarded a plane belonging to a small European airline, and prevents it from take off until the owners paid up.
Since 2005, european legislation stipulates that passengers have had their flights cancelled or delayed three hours or more, shall be entitled to a compensation of about £500, depending on the flight.
But when they put their requests, many passengers found the airline ignores them.Ignored
As a result, some of the passengers are addressed to the lawyers to get compensation, but they were ignored.
TUI and Easyjet now have thousands of unpaid County Court judgments against them.
When You and Your tried the official data, there have been so many outstanding court orders against EasyJet and Thompson that the official web sites crashed.
New judgments of the court of justice are registered against Thompson-owner TUI at a rate of about 20 per day.
Some of the passengers are addressed to lawyers, including Bott and Co, which acts for the account of the flight delay, our customers and, in some cases, send the bailiffs to get the compensation.
“Passengers should not go to lawyers to get what they are owed,” attorney Coby Benson said of the program.
“Airlines ignore the lawyers to submit a formal letter of claim, then ignores the proceedings before the court, and finally, you ignore the judgment against them,” he said.
He added: “The airlines think they can bury their heads in the sand thinking that the problem is going to go away, but this is not the case”. ‘Concern’
Bott and Co, which describes the bailiffs as a “last resort” says that you have sent from the offices of the airlines “dozens and dozens of times.”
In a statement, TUI said, and Your: “We are extremely concerned and disappointed by the sheer volume of these [judgments].”
He added: “we are conducting a full and thorough investigation to understand what happened and to resolve the situation.”
EasyJet said: “Historically, we have chosen not to defend all EU261 County Court cases in certain circumstances.
However, he added: “We have recently reviewed this approach, and this is no longer the case.”
You and Yours is on BBC Radio 4 weekdays from 12:15 to 13:00 GMT. Listen online or download the programme podcast.