The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently published two reports pertaining to passenger rights and a number of clarifications and reiterations regarding the EC 261/2004 regulations. Here are a few notable points from the flight delay reports.
Financial compensation, technical faults and time limitations: Compliance report (CAP1275)
The compliance report- CAP1275 made a detailed study on how the airlines were handling claims pertaining to delays caused by ‘technical faults’, the decision made in the courts ruled this out as not an extraordinary circumstance. The second part of the study was done to find out if the six year claim window was enforced. The UK courts had made it possible for passengers to file European flight delay claims on their past travels stretching out to six years. According to the flight delay reports the only airlines that are yet to bring the new updates to practice are Wizz Air and Jet2, Ryanair on the other hand is in the process of staying a few claims.
- Extraordinary circumstances cannot be completely written off, they should be considered to exist, but the delays should happen only after the operator has taken every reasonable measure to avoid the delay.
- If the flights get delayed because of extraordinary circumstances, it is the duty of the operator to clarify and prove the existence and justify the extraordinary nature of the circumstance.
- A number of case laws were also mentioned, both in the UK as well as in the rest of Europe, these cases are meant to and can be used as legal precedents.
- Extraordinary circumstance only means that the situation is out of the ordinary, a technical problem, though unforeseeable, is not out of the ordinary or unexpected. (Jet2 v Huzar)
A right to know: Compliance report (CAP1227)
The Compliance report CAP1227 was centred around the rights of passengers to information. The ‘information’ here will be how well informed the airline keeps their customers in the situation that leads to a delay, cancellation or overbooking. According to the EC 261/2004 regulations, access to information is a fundamental right of every passenger. Airlines were tasked with two key things to do as part of providing information to their passengers. First, display some sort of notice, at every check in desk that information is available, it is a legal right for them to obtain it if they so please, and in case of a disruption of service, the airline should come forward and be proactive in supplying their passengers with the information. The report covered 15 airlines, the largest companies flying in and out of the UK. They were quizzed on whether or not they were in line with the two to-do points and ranked between Very Good, Good, Taking Steps to Improve and Below standard. Only three carriers were marked Very Good- Easy Jet, Ryanair and Wizz Air. Aer Lingus and Jet2 were found Below Standard Compliance.