According to a new rule, passengers who end up missing connecting flights will now be able to claim compensation if the first leg of their journey starts at an EU airport. The ruling was recently passed by the Court of Appeal.
According to EU law, flyers be eligible for a minimum of 300 Euros as compensation even if the flight happens to be a non-EU carrier. However, the other conditions still remain – the delay must be over 3 hours and should have occurred outside of extraordinary circumstances.
Non-EU Airlines Targeted
Earlier in 2017, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) ordered 5 non-EU carriers, namely Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Etihad, and Emirates, to enact new policies that would allow passengers to claim compensation in the event that they are delayed due to missing their connecting flight at a non-EU airport.
The dispute was raised over recent appeals filed against Emirates by a group of passengers who flew from EU aboard the carrier’s flights and missed their connecting flights due to delays. The issue was eventually taken to court, which ruled in support of the passengers. However, it is believed that Emirates will appeal the court’s decision.
The Court of Appeal ruled that passengers could claim compensation if they missed a connecting flight due to a delay caused by their original flight, provided it took off from an EU airport.
Two appeals were brought against Emirates in this regard.
In the first appeal, a Miss Thea Gahan had a single booking from Manchester to Bangkok via Dubai. She was delayed in Manchester by almost 4 hours, which caused her to arrive late in Dubai. By the time she arrived, her flight to Bangkok from Dubai had already taken off. Though Miss Gahan had been provided an alternative option, she still reached Bangkok 14 hours behind the original schedule.
In the second appeal, a family from Wigan were scheduled to fly from Manchester to Sydney via Dubai. However, their Emirates flight from Manchester was delayed by 2 hours, which caused them to miss their connecting flight as well. The family reached their final destination 16 hours behind schedule.
Miss Gahan and the family were allowed to claim compensation by the court.
The Ruling Sets a New Precedent
According to the CAA, the recent ruling sets a new precedent where passengers on non-EU airlines can claim compensation for missed connections if their flight is said to have taken off from an EU airport. Passengers can claim up to 600 Euros as compensation, irrespective of whether or not the final destination is in EU.
The other criteria for compensation claims remain the same. For example, extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather are still excluded.
Emirates has been asked to agree to the ruling while the other non-EU carriers listed above have been asked to consider the Emirates case as a warning. Reports suggest that Turkish Airlines is already working with the CAA towards achieving compliance while the rest are yet to respond.