Airlines told to pay up in delayed flights compensation cases
November 3, 2014
Last week, the Supreme Court refused two airlines' appeals against awards of compensation to passengers for delayed flights. For the last few years the airlines have been fighting a bitter legal battle to stop passengers rightfully claiming compensation in certain circumstances when their flight was delayed, cancelled or they were denied boarding, for example when the plane was overbooked. A claim for compensation can be made under a European Union Directive and the amount of compensation is fixed depending on how long the flight was and the length of the delay. Claims must be made within 6 years of the delayed flight. An airline would have a defence if the delay was caused by "extraordinary circumstances", for example strikes, adverse weather, terrorism or war, to give some obvious examples. However in the cases heard by the Supreme Court the airlines claimed 'technical problems' should be included as "extraordinary circumstances". Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court disagreed and now finally we have some clarity on when compensation will be awarded. Prior to this decision we acted for a family of three who were due to fly out for their annual summer holiday to Crete. Their flight out was significantly delayed due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. They were given a voucher each of £4 to spend on food and drink. Anyone who has flown will know £4 does not buy very much at an airport. Very little information was given and the passengers were treated very poorly. In the end, their flight was delayed landed more than 4 hours after it was due to and consequently they arrived at their hotel in the small hours of the morning. This was not the greatest start to the annual holiday. Needless to say, there was no apology from the airline. The family instructed us to claim compensation for the delayed flight. According to the Directive they were entitled to €400.00 each. We sent a letter of claim to the airline which was ignored so we issued court proceedings at which point the airline accepted the claim and paid our clients their due compensation. Despite the Supreme Court's decision, we expect some airlines will continue to ignore claims in this way until legal action is commenced. Under the Directive, compensation is payable for flights of 1500km or less which are delayed by 2 hours or more. For flights over 1500km, the delay must have been 3 hours or more. We can make a claim for compensation for you. We normally act under a no win, no fee arrangement, taking a percentage of the payment to cover our fees if you are successful. If you are not successful, you pay us nothing. If you think you may have a claim for compensation for a delayed flight, please call us on 020 8313 1300 and ask to speak to Timothy Pyant who will be happy to discuss whether you have a claim and give you more information about our service.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.