There has been good news for air travellers this week as the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled in favour of allowing compensation for airline passengers affected by flight delays as well as flight cancellations.
While the ruling doesn’t mean that every airline passenger who is faced with a delayed flight will automatically receive compensation, it does allow those who suffer lengthy delays in particular circumstances to obtain some sort of come back. Airline passengers whose flights arrive more than three hours late will be entitled to claim compensation of up to £488 (equivalent to 600 euros). In terms of the ruling, airlines can avoid paying compensation if the delay to the flight is as a result of unexpected circumstances which can not be controlled by the airline, for instance severe weather.
The Court had previously decided that airline passengers whose flights where cancelled should be compensated. The recent ruling recognised that airline passengers whose flights where delayed by more than three hours could suffer similar hardships and difficulties to those airline passengers whose flights were cancelled. Consequently the Court decided that airline passengers whose flights were delayed ought to receive compensation in a similar way to those whose flights had been cancelled.
The case arose as a result of a challenge by Easyjet to the Civil Aviation Authorities interpretation of due compensation. Both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the airline Easyjet welcomed the clarity, which the ruling provides.
With a reported increase in the number of delayed flights, clarity in relation to the regulations to protect travellers is welcome news. With the threat of paying a full flight worth of passengers hundreds of pounds each in compensation hanging over them there’s a good chance that airlines will do their utmost to avoid those annoying delays we’re all so familiar with.