Airlines Defence To Flight Delay Compensation Claims Fail In Court


Thousands of passengers refused compensation claims for flight delay claims may have had their claims fail on an argument that is likely to fail in Court.

flight delay montreal convention

Passengers who make flight delay claims can have their claims considered dating back 6 years, however many airlines have rejected complaints on the grounds that they can only consider claims dating back 2 years under the Montreal Convention rules.

The Montreal Convention governs claims concerning carriage by air. However, these more specifically relate to baggage claims on board aircrafts and not flight delay claims. As a result, many passengers may have been rejected compensation on a defence argument that is not likely to succeed in Court.

Judge Decides Claims Can Go Back 6 Years

A Court has agreed that where there has been a flight delay claim which was not of extraordinary circumstances, compensation should be permitted within 6 years of the delay. This could open the floodgates to a number of flight delay claims that were previously refused.

Mr James Dawson and his partner travelled to the Dominican Republic and had his flight delayed for 8 hours on Christmas Day 2006. After having brought his claim in Court almost 6 years later, well known tour operator Thomson refused the claim on the grounds that such a claim was subject to the 2 year limitation period.

This argument was rejected by the Judge who allowed the couple compensation and decided that such claims were to be dealt within 6 years of the delay having occurred and not 2 years as argued by a number of airlines.

Mr James Dawson and his partner received back £500 each although Thomson is seeking to appeal the decision made.

A spokesperson from the Civil Aviation Authority said: "Different airlines will have different positions on this, but it is our view and the view of the Courts that passengers will have up to 6 years to make a claim. The Montreal Convention is generally used to settle claims involving baggage, for flight delays the regulation that should be followed is EC 261."

How Much Compensation May I Be Entitled To?

Holiday makers are entitled to compensation where they have suffered a delay for 2 hours or more. The compensation amount is fixed and dependant on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay. Holiday makers may be entitled to sums of up to £500 each.

Further to this, passengers should also be provided with food, refreshments and even accommodation if necessary.

Some Challenges Remain

The meaning of the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ is still a grey area, although the European Commission has published a preliminary list of what may be an extraordinary circumstance in April 2013. These are, however, not binding and passengers may still be able to challenge airlines where claims may be rejected on the grounds of ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

If you have had a flight delay, you can make a complaint to your airline to claim flight delay compensation.

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