What Should I Do If The Airline Says I Only Have Two Years To Claim Flight Compensation?

UK passengers enjoy the same rights as before. Except now, depending on where they are flying from and to, they are protected by either the UK law or the existing EU version.

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In the past we have seen airlines turn down flight compensation claims that were over two years old. Airlines often argued that The Montreal Convention 1999 meant passengers had just two years to bring an EU261 flight delay claim in England and Wales.

Bott and Co represented client James Dawson all the way to the Supreme Court in a test case around this issue. We argued that consumers actually have six years to bring a flight compensation claim, in accordance with Section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980.

After several rounds of appeal, in October 2014 a binding decision was made in the case of Dawson V Thomson Airways Judges ruled against the airlines and agreed with Bott and Co that consumers in England and Wales have six years to bring a flight delay claim.

The case of Dawson V Thomson Airways Judges ruled against the airlines and agreed with Bott and Co that consumers in England and Wales have six years to bring a flight delay claim.

It was hoped that this would bring the much-needed clarity to the matter and that airlines would start to pay out on flight delay cases over two years old without further dispute. Unfortunately this has not been the case.

The airlines have stopped running the Montreal Convention argument since the Supreme Court decision in 2014. However, some carriers are now arguing that their Terms & Conditions state passengers only have two years from the date of the flight to bring a claim for delay compensation.

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What Are The Terms And Conditions Arguments That The Airlines Are Running Now?

Some airlines’ terms and conditions specify that their passengers only have two years to make “any claim for damages”. They are using this clause in their terms and conditions to attempt to avoid paying out delayed flight compensation under EU261.

We fundamentally disagree with this position and run several arguments to counteract the airlines’ defence when we encounter this on behalf of our clients.

What Should I Do?

If you are handling your flight compensation claim yourself and have received a defence (before October 31st 2014) from the airlines stating you only have two years to bring a claim, we recommend you write to the airline and resubmit your claim, asking them to reconsider your case in light of the Dawson V Thomson Airways judgment.

If you are handling your claim yourself and have received a defence (after October 31st 2014) from the airlines stating you only have two years to bring a claim due to their Terms and conditions then we recommend you issue court proceedings as soon as possible.

If you are not comfortable in doing so yourself, then one of the specialist flight delay compensation solicitors at Bott and Co will be happy to handle your case on a no-win no-fee basis.

If you’re in doubt over whether you have a valid flight delay claim, our handy online flight compensation checker gives you an instant answer. All you need to do is enter your flight date and number.

Meet the team
Coby Benson Head Of Flight Compensation Team At Bott and Co

Coby Benson

A member of The Law Society, Coby helped establish the flight delay compensation sector in the UK.

His work has been recognised throughout the industry, winning numerous awards, including The Manchester Law Society Associate of the Year. Coby has been a key speaker on Flight Compensation, appearing on Sky News, BBC Radio and national newspapers as a flight delay expert.


*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.