There’s no doubt we’ll all have experienced a delayed flight. But what happens when your flight is delayed due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’? A recent court ruling could shake things up…
The case of Mr Ronald Huzar is all over the news at the moment. Delayed for 27 hours on a Manchester to Malaga flight in 2011, Mr Huzar was told the flight delay was caused by faulty wiring – which the airline, Jet2, claimed was an unforeseen extraordinary circumstance and therefore not liable for compensation.
However, the court ruled that the defective wiring was faulty due to wear and tear, rather than anything more extraordinary – possibly setting the ball rolling for other claims of technical faults.
Can technical be extraordinary?
With the summer looming, this ruling is very timely for holidaymakers hopping on flights to make the most of the summer sun.
Flight delays and cancellations are a bugbear we often hear about on our Consumer Rights website, with people telling us about technical problems meaning they are not liable for compensation.
For example, consumer rights advocate Nikki contacted us with a delay experienced of more than 3 and a half hours after a technical fault with an Easyjet flight.
Remember, technical faults, unless they stem from events which are not inherent in the normal exercise of the air carrier, do not count as examples of extraordinary circumstances.
So what is an extraordinary circumstance?
Of course, there are some circumstances that can truly be described as extraordinary and cannot be reasonably expected to be foreseen by the airline.
However, in order for them to be viewed as such, they must be seen to be three things: unpredictable, unavoidable and external. So – hurricane, yes. Faulty plane – potentially no.
Further examples would include if there is any disruption caused by political instability in the country you are going to and flying is not recommended or if someone on your flight gets unruly and has to be removed.
Have you ever had a flight delay or cancellation because of an extraordinary circumstance? Did you know what counts as an extraordinary circumstance? Will you try to get compensation after the new ruling?