We have recently celebrated a landmark figure: issuing the 100,000th court proceeding on behalf of a passenger who had previously been denied flight delay compensation. In total, we have issued court proceedings against 150 airlines.
The Flight Delay Compensation Department was founded back in 2013, and since then has grown from strength to strength, taking airlines to task after passengers have previously been denied their rightful compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004. Our success rate is over 90%, and is the result of tireless efforts against airlines’ incessant excuses, for example by citing “extraordinary circumstances.”
Bott and Co’s Coby Benson At The Forefront Of The Law
We’re responsible for EU Regulation 261/2004 being applicable in the UK, due to our Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor Coby Benson playing a huge role in establishing the regulation. After he was affected by a flight delay when returning home to Manchester in 2011, he was twice ignored by the airline, even after writing to them as a solicitor.
This experience in claiming drove Coby to realise that other passengers must also be unaware of their rights and that Bott and Co could help raise awareness of those rights. He says: “Our latest figures show that the airlines have ignored or said ‘no’ to passengers on 100,000 occasions. Airlines are aware of their obligations and there would be no need for solicitor intervention if the airlines adhered to the law. In the meantime, we remain passionate about fighting the airlines on behalf of aggrieved passengers.”
The Regulation means passengers who have suffered a flight cancellation or been delayed over three hours could be entitled to up to 600 Euros each in compensation, providing the airline was found responsible for the delay or cancellation. This Regulation covers flights departing the UK or arriving back into the UK on an EU airline.
An instrumental case that we were involved with was Huzar v Jet2, in which we fought for our client Ron Huzar against the airline on the matter of “technical problems”. Mr Huzar was travelling home to Manchester from Spain with his wife and granddaughter when a technical problem with the aircraft resulted in a lengthy 27 hour delay.
When the family returned home, Ron wrote to Jet2 requesting the €400 in compensation that he and his family were legally to under EU Regulation 261/2004. However, Jet2 denied his request, so the matter went to Court. Initially, the Judge found in the airline’s favour and dismissed Mr Huzar’s claim.
After this, Mr Huzar turned to Bott and Co for legal expertise in rebuffing the judgment. We filed an appeal on the grounds of a mistake in the application of the law and undue prejudice.
Eventually, the Supreme Court favoured Mr Huzar in rejecting the airline’s request to appeal, and set a precedent that technical problems are not an extraordinary circumstance when it comes to claiming flight delay compensation.
Our appeal was based on the case of Friederike Wallentin-Hermann v Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane SpA. In this case they said that an extraordinary circumstances was something “Not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and is beyond the actual control of that carrier on account of its nature or origin.” Mr Huzar’s appeal was successful and the Judge found in the passenger’s favour.
This crucial, legally-binding decision has ultimately helped millions of others claim when a flight delay was caused by a technical problem, boosting passenger rights.
Another significant Supreme Court victory that Bott and Co was involved in, resulting in another legally binding case law is Dawson vs Thomson Airways. The case dealt with issues around limitation for flight compensation claims under EU Regulation 261/2004 and the timescales of when a passenger can bring a claim.
Bott and Co believed passengers have six years to bring a claim before court, in accordance with Section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980. The Supreme Court ruled in passengers’ favour and the law currently stipulates that passengers can make a claim for delays and cancellations within the last six years, providing they are not extraordinary.
Explaining his frustration over airlines not fulfilling their obligations, Coby says: “We frequently handle calls from stressed passengers complaining of mistreatment and we see the airlines routinely fobbing passengers off with lies and mixed messages in a bid to avoid or delay payment. Our success rate of winning these cases for passengers shows airlines are not accepting responsibility in the fair treatment of passengers. They are simply not abiding by the law.”
We’re committed to familiarising passengers with their rights, especially as millions of people across the UK affected by a flight delay or cancellation aren’t aware that they can claim for flights going back up to six years.
Family Compensated After Horrendous Flight Delay Experience
David Mason from Wales is just one of the thousands to have suffered a major disruption by a large airline. He and his wife had spent years saving up to take their disabled son Leon on a holiday of a lifetime to Disneyland Orlando, Florida. Their TUI flight home was delayed after it was forced to make a U-turn due to a technical fault and they were left to sleep on an airport floor.
In 2014, judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers can claim compensation for such technical faults and airlines cannot use it to get out of paying compensation. This applies where the plane has either departed from England or Wales, arrived in England or Wales, or was operated by an airline registered in England or Wales.
They contacted the airline numerous times citing the regulation but when his plight fell on deaf ears, he turned to solicitors to fight his corner. Bott and Co issued court proceedings against TUI and the family finally received £1,500 in compensation.
Mr Mason said: “Not understanding the law thoroughly myself, I was happy to have someone to deal with the claim on my behalf after reaching a brick wall! It put me at ease knowing they were there and helping me by issuing court proceedings on my behalf.”
The Best Placed To Help You With Your Flight Delay Claim
Coby continues: “We’d advise passengers to look further and question the validity of an airlines’ response when monetary compensation has been refused. We’ve got the time, resources and legal knowledge to help passengers receive the compensation that they are entitled to. Airlines are aware of their legal obligations and there would be no need for solicitor intervention if the airlines adhered to the law.”
We continue to invest heavily in major cases against some of the world’s biggest airlines in a bid to force transparency from the airlines and to secure passengers with the compensation which is rightfully theirs.