A Judge at Chelmsford County Court mistakenly struck out Christine and Christopher’s court proceedings, telling them they were out of time to claim for a delayed flight.
Christine and husband Christopher, from Chelmsford, received a letter from the court saying: “It is ordered that the claim be struck out, the action not having been brought within two years of arrival at destination of the flight referred to in the statement of the case, the right to damages for delays having therefore been extinguished.”
- Couple issued Small Claims Court proceedings against Thomson Airways after flight delay
- Judge said claim was invalid because flight was over two years old, not knowing you have six years to claim
- Bott & Co took on claim and overturned ruling
- The couple were finally awarded £920 in compensation for delay
The husband and wife said “We knew you had six years to claim, or at least we thought we knew you did. We’d read up about the law online, but suddenly we had a judge telling us we’d got it wrong.”
At that point the couple said they felt out of their depth so handed over their case to us here at Bott and Co. We took on Christine and Christopher’s case and secured the £920 (€1200) compensation they were rightfully owed under EU Regulation 261.
The husband and wife decided to pursue flight compensation following a long delay on Thomson Airways flight TOM54 from London Gatwick to Malé, Maldives in November 2010.
The couple wrote to the airline in November 2012 but received a reply telling them the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and therefore no compensation was due. They then contacted the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for help with their case but found the official body to be of little use.
I contacted the CAA but they didn’t get back to me. They didn’t really seem to be that interested. To be honest they didn’t really help at all so we decided to issue the court proceedings ourselves.
Christine said: “I contacted the CAA but they didn’t get back to me. They didn’t really seem to be that interested. I did give them a call but they said they just had so many people claiming. To be honest they didn’t really help at all so we decided to issue the court proceedings ourselves.
There was no court hearing, the couple simply received the letter telling them their claim had been struck out: Not only had they lost their case, they had also lost the money they paid to issue court proceedings.
After researching their options online, Christine and Christopher realised their only option was to start legal proceedings against Thomson Airways. They issued court proceedings on 11th November 2013 via the Money Claims Online service at a cost of £70.
If I had to do it all again I would go to Bott and Co straight away. For the amount of time that it’s taken to do I wish I hadn’t bothered trying to claim myself.
Asked for her advice for other people with a flight delay compensation claim, Christine said: “If I had to do it all again I would go to Bott and Co straight away. For the amount of time that it’s taken to do I wish I hadn’t bothered trying to claim myself. You write another letter and go to the Post Office again and again. It’s supposed to be a simple process but it certainly wasn’t for us. I think the airlines are more likely to fob people off who are doing it themselves.
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Solicitor at Bott and Co said: “This case is proof that there is often a lot of uncertainty and misinformation out there for passengers who are trying to claim themselves, in some cases even from the courts themselves. The result is confusion amongst consumers with people often missing out on the compensation that they are rightfully owed under European Law.
“We’ve seen thousands of clients who were in a similar position to Christine and Christopher, having been told they couldn’t claim because their flight was more than two years ago. Last year we took one of our client’s cases to the Court of Appeal and a binding precedent was set, provided absolute clarity that passengers in England and Wales have six years to bring a flight claim. There really should be no doubt around this issue from now on.”
Regulation EU 261/2004 law entitles passengers to claim up to €600 each for long flight delays, flight cancellations and denied boarding. Use our free flight compensation calculator for an instant decision on whether you have a valid flight claim.
If you are thinking of handling your flight compensation claim yourself, read our guide on how to avoid the most common pitfalls.