Ruling opens floodgates for delayed-flight claims

2013-01-31 12:04
London - Families who have their holidays ruined by long flight delays are now able to claim compensation.

The Daily Mail reports a landmark case involving Britons Jeff Halsall and his wife, who had been delayed on flight from Tenerife to East Midlands, has seen a judge award them a £680 (R9 737 at R14.32/£) payout from Thomas Cook. The Halsalls had to wait 22 hours for their flight.

The ruling opens the flood gates for hundreds of thousands of claims ranging from £200 and £480 for delays of over three hours - if the delay is fault of the airline.

In October 2012 the European Court of Justice ruled that delays caused by airline failures, such as technical faults or a lack of flight crew, merited compensation and this week a judge in Staffordshire implemented that decision for the first time in the case of the Halsall’s delay.

The ruling has been seen as a blow to the airlines but hopefully one that will see them treating travellers more fairly. Airlines will still be able to deny payouts where delays are outside their control, such as during bad weather or strikes.

 "It doesn’t matter how much people pay for their flight, everyone is entitled to this. People probably think they have to go to court to do this but they don’t, all they need to do is write to their airline," Said Halsall.

The Civil Aviation Authority said Mr Halsall’s legal victory appears to be the first in Britain since the European ruling.

Thomas Cook said it had offered Mr Halsall more money than the figure eventually awarded by the court and a spokesperson said,  "We appreciate how frustrating flight delays can be and we’ve reiterated our apology to Mr Halsall for the lengthy wait he and his wife experienced."

Locally travellers have no recourse when it comes to domestic delays per say or the actual closure of an airline such as 1time other than to wait for payment, if any,  at the end of the liquidation process. But it is interesting to note that grounds for compensation apply to any flight into the European Union on an EU-based airline.

Travellers can apply for compensation in the UK, based on the landmark Halsall case...

-    If your flight is delayed by more than three hours, cancelled or overbooked, you may be able to claim.
-    Compensation is £199 for inter-EU flights of 930 miles or less, £320 for flights between 930 and 1,860 miles and £480 for other journeys.
-     It applies to any flight leaving an EU airport and any flight into the EU on an EU-based airline
-    Passengers can claim by telling the airline their flight number, names and reason for the delay. If rejected, the case can go to county court.

Source:; Daily Mail

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