Flight Delay Compensation

Updates on flight delay compensation: On 23rd October 2012, the European Court of Justice upheld the Sturgeon ruling, which entitles passengers who suffer delays of over three hours to compensation, despite a legal challenge from a number of airlines. Compensation claims put on hold since the challenge began in August 2010 will now have to be looked at by the airlines, as customers' rights to compensation in these circumstances have been verified.

In March 2012, the European Parliament passed a motion proposing a raft of updates to the current air travel regulations, which will grant new rights to passengers and clarify issues which, under the current rules, have led to legal disputes and quibbles by airlines.

The updated regulations, which are expected to come into force next year, clearly establish that flight delay compensation should be awarded to affected air travellers, in line with the precedent which has been set in recent European Court cases. It will also clear up the controversy around 'exceptional circumstances', stating that routine technical faults do not fall under this definition and therefore cannot serve as a defence for the airline.

Claim flight delay and cancellation compensation

Experiencing a delay to your flight, whether you are travelling for business or for leisure, can have a ruinous effect on your trip. Luckily, there is EU legislation in place which enables those who have suffered significant delays or cancellations to claim compensation for their losses.

When you can claim

While it has always been possible to claim compensation for cancelled flights, the rules on compensation for long delays were, for a long time, far less clear. There were certainly rules in place which require the airline in question to offer assistance for passengers with delayed flights, but the actual legislation was unclear on the issue of compensation for flight delays – no matter how lengthy they turned out to be.

However, despite the absence of clear laws on the issue, many such cases were brought to court, as it was evident in a number of these situations that failings on the part of the airline have caused financial loss and/or inconvenience to passengers. These cases eventually ended up setting a precedent in the European Court of Justice which entitled customers to compensation when their flight was delayed for more than three hours.

How to make a claim

There are a number of steps to be taken in attempting to claim for flight delay compensation. You will often need to bring the flight delay regulations to bear in making your case against the airline, and it is advisable to be well-informed on these. If the airline should refuse to offer compensation, then you may need to get the enforcement body involved to take them on.

Under the current regulations, the only defence available to an airline for a flight which was delayed for over 3 hours is if they are able to show that it was the result of “exceptional circumstances” – they are otherwise obliged to pay out.

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