Things are looking up for those hit by flight delays. Two recent Supreme Court decisions against travel giants Thomson and Jet2 have given more teeth to our rights to claim flight compensation.
The Supreme Court ruled on the two cases relating to the European Denied Boarding Regulation, which establishes a consumer’s right to flight compensation for delays or cancellations.
In Dawson v Thomson, Thomson denied owing Mr Dawson compensation because he waited more than two years after his flight to make a claim. Thomson argued that consumers are subject to a two-year time limit on claiming flight compensation. Mr Dawson argued that the law allows up to six years for claims to be brought. The Court of Appeal agreed with Mr Dawson, and the Supreme Court refused to allow Thomson the right to appeal any further.
In Huzar v Jet2, Mr Huzar’s flight had been delayed due to a technical fault with the aircraft. Under the law, airlines don’t have to pay compensation if a delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. Jet2 claimed that technical difficulties constitute “extraordinary circumstances”, such that airlines don’t have to pay up when delays arise due to technical faults. The Court of Appeal disagreed, and the Supreme Court refused to entertain Jet2’s appeal.
Six years for flight compensation claims
Thomson and Jet2 have now run out of chances to appeal within the UK court system. The law is, therefore, settled. Travellers have six years – not two – to exercise their rights and claim compensation for a cancellation or delay. And airlines can no longer argue that technical difficulties are “extraordinary circumstances” which rule out the right to compensation.
So if you’re one of the thousands whose compensation claim was put on “hold” by the travel industry while these court cases were being considered, your claim should now be processed by your airline. It’s inevitable that some delay will occur while the backlog is cleared, but you should follow up with the airline to find out when you’re likely to get a response.
If it’s approaching six years since your delay occurred and the airline isn’t engaging with your claim for compensation, you could consider escalating your claim to the Civil Aviation Authority or the small claims court.
The lawyers who acted for Mr Dawson and Mr Huzar claim that 11.8 million passengers will benefit from the result in Dawson v Thomson and an additional 2.36 million passengers per year will be able to claim compensation due to the result in Huzar v Jet2.
Have you been affected by a cancellation or delay? Do you believe your claim for compensation will be impacted by either of these court cases? Is an airline refusing to reconsider your claim?