The Supreme Court in Denmark awarded compensation to twelve airline passengers in a just ruling that set the right precedent for such future cases. It all started when a 2013 flight from Billund to Crete, operated by Primera Air, was delayed for over ten hours because of a technical problem with a wing of the aircraft. A grandmother who was scheduled to take the flight with her grandchild sued the airline company for the delay and the Supreme Court ruled that the airline company must pay flight delay compensation to them for the tune of 400 Euros.
The company was also ordered to pay the same amount to ten other passengers who had also filed for due compensation when their flight on August 2013 to Varna was delayed for over 11 hours due to a faulty and leaking fuel cap. The decisions favoured the passengers at the city as well as the higher courts.
The ruling is sure to pave the way for similar rulings in close to 1500 other cases of flight delays which are currently held up in the lower court system in Denmark. The passengers who have been involved in these incidents number about 4500. Although it might take time for all the passengers to see due monetary relief, there is no denying that this is a step forward in the right direction.
The trade organization for airlines, Dansk Luftfart, disagreed with the ruling, mentioning that the courts had very broadly interpreted the passenger rights which state that flights which are delayed by more than three hours are liable to pay compensation to the passengers, provided the delay was not caused by extraordinary circumstances.
According to the Supreme Court, the technical problems that caused the delay could not be seen as extraordinary. The Court ruled them out as ordinary errors which are to be readily expected in the field of operating carriers and held that the errors were not really outside the control of Primera Air.
However, Dansk Luftfart maintained that the ruling put a lot of undue responsibility on the airline company. The spokesman of the company said that the ruling stuck the airlines with a strict liability for the technical deficiencies even if the company did everything in its power to ensure proper maintenance.
The trade group plans to take the issue up to European policymakers. They insisted that the matter needed to be taken to the politicians to see if they could find a better middle ground between consideration for the rights of the passengers and consideration and compensation for the airlines.
The trade group pointed out that such a ruling can cause a lot of airline companies to take risks and fly planes even if the technical problems are not resolved just so that they could avoid paying compensations for the flight delay. The spokesperson for the trade organisation said that they would be pursuing this issue politically as a lot of the airline companies cannot live with such rules.