Let me point you in the direction of a more prosperous 2013. There may be a New Year's gift awaiting if you are a British Pensioner resident in Spain. All political parties in Westminster have opposed Winter Fuel Payments to us lucky ex-pats living in the sweltering Mediterranean but the EU in Brussels took up the cause and have forced a retreat. Now you may be entitled to a 2012 payment of between £100 - £300 and something similar each year from now on. Don't hang about, you must apply before the end of March. www.gov.uk will explain all and provide a simple form to fill in. The EU gets lots of stick but they do have some uses. Not many people know this but flight delays over 3 hours can entitle the passenger to a cash payment from €250 up to €600 according to the length of the delay and the journey. Like the UK Government the airlines have fought the EU regulation (No. 261/2004) tooth and nail but finally the European Court of Justice has ruled against them and now they are being obliged to pay. Your patience may be tested I have claims dating from December 2009 and December 2010 but at last the cheques are arriving. If you think you have a complaint about a flight originating or ending in Spain contact the airline first then if they don't reply to your satisfaction go to www.seguridadaerea.es. Don't necessarily accept the excuses of the airline either. I've been given bad weather and traffic control as reasons neither of which were true.

Happy New Year! Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma

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