Airline told it can’t keep passengers waiting for compensation.
Judge rules in passenger’s favour in test case of Allen V Jet2.com: ‘…a line should now be drawn. Justice delayed is justice denied.’
- Airline had applied to put case on hold until decision announced in Dutch case of van der Lans V KLM
- Other major airlines have made similar applications and were waiting for today’s decision
- Judge said air passengers feel they are ‘on an airline driven merry-go-round that shows no sign of stopping’
- Tens of thousands of passengers with flight delay compensation claims stand to benefit from today’s decision
A Judge at Liverpool County Court today ruled in passengers’ favour in the test flight compensation case of Allen V Jet2.com, in a decision that could benefit tens of thousands of consumers.
The Judge said Allen V Jet2.com cannot be stayed (put on hold) pending the outcome of Dutch case van der Lans V KLM, as had been requested by Jet2. In his judgment he said ‘…a line should now been drawn. Justice delayed is justice denied.’
Five airlines (Jet2, Thomas Cook, Ryanair, FlyBe, WizzAir) had made similar applications to put their passengers’ flight delay compensation claims on hold. As a test case, it is likely that all other flight compensation claims in England and Wales across all airlines will now follow the decision made in Allen V Jet2.com.
Today’s decision, following a full-day hearing yesterday (Wednesday 25th February), stands to impact tens of thousands of passengers with flight delay compensation claims, across a number of airlines where they had requested similar stays.
Kim Allen’s case was originally stayed pending last year’s Huzar V Jet2.com case in which Court of Appeal judges ruled that technical problems are not an extraordinary circumstance under EU Regulation 261/2004. The stay on her case was initially lifted after Mr Huzar’s victory but Jet2 soon made an application to stay Ms Allen’s claim yet again. This time they wanted to put the case on hold pending the outcome of a Dutch case, which has been referred to the European Court of Justice.
The van der Lans case will mainly look at whether a technical problem that arises spontaneously (as opposed to one which is detected during routine maintenance) is an extraordinary circumstance under EU Regulation 261/2004. Extraordinary circumstances are the airline’s only defence to paying out flight delay compensation.
Kim Allen is claiming €400 in flight compensation after a delay flying from Manchester to Malaga on 26th March 2012. Her Jet2 flight LS809 was delayed by just under seven hours due to a technical problem, a Flap Slat fault, which occurred just prior to take off, meaning she missed her daughter’s performance with the band Bobby & Jemima.
Kim Allen, 54 from Lancashire, said:
“When I first heard about flight compensation I thought it would be easy to claim and that I’d just need to send the airline a letter. I’d done my research online and understood that, by law, I was entitled to €400 so I just presumed they would pay out without any problems.
“I’m delighted with today’s victory. As far as I know, the Huzar case had already answered any questions about technical problems being classed as extraordinary circumstances. For the airline to try to put cases on hold yet again over the same issue just seemed wrong.
“I know that today isn’t just important for me but for thousands of other people who are in the same position as me. We’ve all been kept waiting for so long but I’m really happy with today’s decision. Hopefully now it’s time for the airlines to pay us what the law says they should.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Lawyer at Bott and Co Solicitors who represented Kim Allen, said:
“We’re delighted that once again the court has rebuffed the airline’s attempts to continue delaying legitimate passenger claims. Bott and Co alone have over 8,000 clients with claims against the five airlines who had requested stays similar to that in Ms Allen’s case.
“We’ve seen continual legal challenges to the finer details of flight delay Regulation by the airlines since it was first introduced and it’s pleasing the court is now taking a firm line against them.
“We would hope that the airlines will now finally face up to their obligations to passengers and to settle the hundreds of thousands of legitimate claims outstanding. Sadly the history of their conduct over the last decade would tell us to expect yet another legal challenge, but Bott and Co is firmly committed to enforcing air passenger rights.”
EU261 entitles passengers to claim flight compensation of up to €600 per person if they reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time. The flight in question must be leaving an EU country or landing in an EU country on an EU airline. Consumers have up to six years from the date of the flight to make a claim.
The free flight claim calculator tells you instantly if you have a valid flight claim, using just your flight date and flight number.
Notes to Editors
Flight delay Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations, or long flight delays. Passengers are entitled to up to €600 per passenger on qualifying flights. The regulation covers flights departing an EU state, or landing in an EU state on board an EU airline.
Bott and Co
Bott and Co is a specialist consumer rights law firm founded in 2001 by David Bott, Paul Hinchliffe and Gary Froggatt. It was one of the first firms to be granted Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status. Based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, the business had a turnover of £8.35m in 2013/14.
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- 2014 Manchester Legal Awards – Small firm of the year.
- 2014 Law Society Excellence Awards – Excellence in Client Services (highly commended)
- 2014 Law Society Excellence Awards – Excellence in Marketing & Communications (finalist)
- 2013 Law Society Excellence Awards 2013 (Excellence in Business Development & Innovation and shortlisted for Junior Lawyer of the Year and Excellence in Marketing & Communications)
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