In recent news concerning flight delay claims, an airline passenger was awarded 400 euros as compensation for facing a six-hour delay. The airline, which was supposed to fly from Scotland to Spain, had blamed the delay on “extraordinary circumstances”. However, the concerned authority refused to accept the given explanation and ordered the carrier to pay the passenger her due flight delay compensation.
The ruling was passed by Sheriff Derek Livingston, who stated that the passenger was entitled to the compensation because it was the carrier’s responsibility to take care of all flight issues. He further mentioned that the carrier failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the delay.
Air traffic management blamed
The passenger named Sandra Dunbar, had filed a claim against the carrier, Easy Jet, after her flight from Glasgow to Malaga was delayed for more than five hours. The claim was filed under EC regulation 261/2004, which entitles passengers to compensation in the event of a flight delay lasting over three hours. However, according to the regulation, a flight delay compensation can be rejected if the delay has been as a result of extraordinary circumstances.
The Paisley Sheriff Court was informed that the aircraft, which was supposed to depart at 3:55 PM, actually departed at 10:26 PM. It is believed that the delay was originally caused due to the air traffic management’s decision.
EasyJet offers witness statement
According to a witness statement issued by Easy Jet operations manager, Stuart Trounson, no reasonable measures could have been taken to avoid the delay because the issue was primarily caused as a result of decisions made by the air traffic control management. He also added that a spare aircraft could not be called in by the carrier because they were all being used in place of other delayed flights.
However, a Civil Aviation Authority-led investigation revealed that Easy Jet was aware of a possible delay and could have taken preventive measures to, at least, minimise the effects of the problem. The Sheriff also stated that extraordinary circumstances did have a role to play in delaying the flight. However, he added that the delay could not be completely blamed on extraordinary circumstances.
The Sheriff also mentioned that the unavailability of a spare aircraft was a safety related shortcoming on the carrier’s part. In a written judgement, he also made it clear that he was satisfied in knowing that the delay was originally caused by decisions taken by the air traffic control management. However, he added that he was not satisfied by the manner in which the carrier dealt with the issue, despite being aware of a possible delay many hours in advance.
The Sheriff further noted that the carrier was clearly aware that the concerned aircraft would be delayed; a fact that was apparent since 9 AM in the morning. In fact, as the day progressed, it had become obvious that there would be a delay.
Stating dissatisfaction over the carrier’s efforts to solve the problem, the Sheriff passed the ruling in the passenger’s favour.