06/12/2014

Court ruling that airlines must pay compensation

The High Court in the UK ruled that a passenger must be paid compensation when a technical problem on an aircraft caused a 27 hour delay.


Back in October 2011 a passenger on a Jet2 flight from Malaga to Manchester was delayed for 27 hours. Jet2 initially refused to pay the compensation laid down for the delay, claiming that it was caused by a technical defect in the aircraft, which they interpreted as an extraordinary circumstance which could not have been foreseen.

Initially, this was accepted as such an extraordinary circumstance, but the passenger took the refusal to the High Court. Yesterday, 11 June 2014, the High Court ruled in favour of the passenger: they listed terrorism, strikes, air traffic control problems and freak weather as events beyond the control of airline, but not this technical problem.

It seems likely that Jet2 will appeal against the decision which, it is suggested, could spark claim from anyone who has been refused compensation for such technical reasons within the last 6 years.

The decision is probably not immediately binding over Europe, but it is important nonetheless. In the last few days easyJet Switzerland has had to cancel a there and back flight to Bordeaux and also a return from Madrid: in all cases a replacement flight was operated the next day. Even though one can assume that the passengers received overnight accommodation and food, the passengers probably could claim compensation.

In the UK press reports there are lengthy dialogues between those who believe that claiming compensation is acceptable and those who think otherwise unless the airline has not made an acceptable effort.

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