Christmas Air Travel Nightmares – Are You Entitled to Compensation?

Christmas is almost here and thousands of people will be looking forward to skiing, sunning or family reunions, sometimes all three. By now you’ve booked your flights but of course there are any number of factors that can keep you ‘celebrating’ Christmas Day in a crowded airport lounge full of grumpy passengers and screaming hungry children. Snow, strikes, birds, storms or the ever present ‘technical problems’ that can ruin so many holiday and business trips.

For a long time all the cards seem to have been in the hands of the airlines. Now at last, there have been new rulings which can fairly shift the balance. Delayed holidaymakers who have experienced long flight delays will finally be able to receive compensation from the airlines following a recent decision in the Supreme Court.

In the summer we reported that that if a passenger’s flight was delayed for more than three hours or if they missed a connecting flight and arrived at their destination more than three hours later than scheduled, then they would be entitled to compensation of between 250 – 600 Euros depending on the length of flight and the delay under EU Regulations.

The airlines had tried to argue that technical problems should be treated as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ which would have been a defence against any claim. However, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument and advised “difficult technical problems arise as a matter of course in the normal exercise of the carrier’s activity”.
Thomson and Jet2, the airlines involved in the court case, appealed the court’s decision.

Whilst waiting for the appeals to be heard many airlines refused to pay the compensation until the matter was finally decided by the Supreme Court.

Following submissions by the parties involved, the Supreme Court Judges rejected the appeals made by the airlines. This has now cleared the way for passengers who have already made legitimate claims to receive their compensation. Clearly this decision could potentially open the floodgates for any passenger who has suffered a flight delay over last 6 years.

So, if you are delayed due to “technical problems” in a UK airport or in fact any EU airport on the day you are hoping to fly off at least you know you may well be entitled to compensation from the airlines.

Happy Holidays!

If you believe you are entitled to flight delay compensation or are stuck in a fight with an airline and want to take it further contact Julian Ireland, Commercial Litigation Solicitor on 0845 263 7505 or email him by clicking here

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