Delayed flight? Airlines often refer to ‘technical problems’ to avoid paying compensation, but a new ruling may put a stop to that. What’s the worst excuse you’ve heard from a company?
There was a success for consumer rights this week. The European Court of Justice ruled that ‘a technical problem’ isn’t an extraordinary circumstance that airlines can use as a valid defence against paying flight delay compensation.
If Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) had won the case, millions of airline passengers across Europe may not have been able to claim compensation for delays. There was also a similar ruling by the Supreme Court last year against Jet2.
And then, something else yesterday. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority announced that it’s taking legal action against Ryanair due to the airline’s policies on compensation.
The CAA doesn’t think Ryanair complies with European consumer law after reportedly not paying proper compensation for delays caused by technical faults and trying to put a two-year time limit on paying out (you have six years). Ryanair responded by saying it ‘fully complies’ with the rules.
Are you claiming your compensation?
If you bought tickets for the theatre, only for the show to take place four hours later than advertised – and you had to spend those four hours waiting in the foyer picking at a complimentary packet of popcorn – you’d expect your money back. At the very least.
Earlier this year we found that around 900,000 passengers could be entitled to claim after analysing data for 1.7m flights over the past year.
In fact, only four in 10 people who were delayed actually claimed compensation. That means passengers could be missing out on millions of pounds they’re entitled to.
So we created an easy-to-use tool you can use to start your free claim for flight delay compensation.
Will flights cost more?
Airlines have been fighting tooth and nail to limit when passengers are entitled to claim compensation – often arguing that the extra expense of paying compensation will be passed on to consumers.
But, a report published by the European Commission in May last year casts a shadow over that argument. It found that if airlines increased ticket prices to cover their compensation costs (including providing food, free accommodation), there would only be an increase of between €1 and €3 per one-way ticket (approximately 73p to £2.19).
What ‘extraordinary excuses’ have you heard?
The only defence an airline has against paying compensation is when the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as poor weather, natural disaster or industrial action. Which is fair enough.
Now that the European Court of Justice has ruled that technical issues are not classed as extraordinary circumstances, where next for airlines?
If you’re delayed will you be claiming your compensation? Have you ever been fobbed off with any extraordinary excuses?