It seems that the tide may finally be turning for plane delay compensation claims in Europe. A recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling has made airlines liable to claims if a flight is delayed for “technical reasons”. Industry experts predict that this landmark decision could lead to thousands of extra claims for flight delay compensation across Europe.
The latest ruling will doubtless horrify airlines, which could be extremely costly for them. However, consumers will be greatly relieved. Infamously, it has long been a tactic of many budget airlines to blame “technical reasons” for flight delays, with the exact cause rarely being adequately identified. This has offered them a convenient loophole to escape paying hefty plane delay compensation claims to dismayed passengers.
It is estimated that this recent ruling could cost airlines hundreds of millions of pounds in European flight delay compensation payments. Under current rules, passengers are able to claim up to €600 (£440) for a delay to their flight when the airline can be proven to be at fault. However, the recent ruling by the ECJ opens the gate to a wider scope of compensation claims than was previously the case.
Indeed, the court argued that most technical problems, while unfortunate, are part of the normal operations of an airline. As such, these issues should be an expected occurrence, not an unforeseeable or “exceptional” one. However, the court did clarify that an exception to this rule would be a technical problem caused by a rare event such as a terror attack.
In a separate but related development, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) concluded that Ryan air has been violating European consumer law. The airline has come under fire from the CAA for its policy of refusing some passenger claims for plane delay compensation, often blaming the loosely defined “technical issues” mentioned above. The CAA is even threatening to take Ryanair to court if their compensation policy is not improved in the near future.
So where does these leave passengers in the UK? As you may have concluded yourself, this is indeed a significant development in the area of European consumer law, particularly as it applies to European flight delay compensation. If you previously had a claim turned down by an airline then you may want to revisit it.
FlightDelayRefunds – Blueway Limited specialise in supporting flight delay compensation claims. They deliver results while taking away the stress of the application process. For more information, give them a call on +44 (0)20 8428 3692.