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EU 261/2004 Denied Boarding Regulation.


proudfoot

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If you have been denied boarding by a EU airline since 2004 and still have the booking and flight details you may now be able to claim compensation under EU regulation 261/2004. the EU court has ruled recently in favour of delayed passengers.

There is an article in the Daily Telegraph Travel News section dated 27th October which makes interesting reading.

My wife and I were delayed for over 6 hours at Manchester Airport in January 2011 with only a £5.00 voucher each which barely covered a cup of coffee.

Tomorrow we will be resubmitting our ongoing claim for the Sterling equivalent of 600 euros each

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Forum Editor

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This is more suitable for Tech Consumer Advice, and I'm moving it across from Speakers Corner.

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Forum Editor

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The regulation does make provision for an airline to claim a defence of 'extraordinary circumstances'.

That's a suitably vague phrase, but it's one that is typical of legislation that deals with situations where there's a potential for all kinds of different scenarios.

Presumably you know the reason for the delay in your case?

An interesting (and important) provision contained in the regulation is the one that allows passengers to abort their journey after a delay of more than five hours, and to subsequently claim a full refund of their ticket payment.

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proudfoot

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We have been advised the plane developed a fault shortly after leaving a US airport and was then diverted to an airport in Florida.

For it to arrive at Manchester for the early afternoon flight we were booked on, it must have been due to fly to the UK from the US overnight.

We checked in around noon to be told there would be a short delay. in fact we were abandoned "Air Side" at Manchester and were unable to speak to anyone in authority or any one else who could let us know what was happening. Aborting the journey wasn't an option as we had no way of contacting anyone, it was a Package Holiday and we were not sure of our legal rights. he delay we suffered was 6 and a half hours.

We understand "Extraordinary Circumstances" can not be claimed when a plane has developed a fault.

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Forum Editor

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Thanks for the explanation - that makes things a lot clearer. I'm not sure who told you that a fault on an aircraft after tale-off could not be claimed as being an extraordinary circumstance. I believe that it could, if the fault developed without warning, and if it threatened the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.

Please understand that I'm playing Devil's advocate here - I hope your claim is successful. In know only too well how infuriating and inconvenient a long delay can be. Not too long ago my wife attended a conference in India. One hour into the return flight over the Indian ocean a chunk fell off the aircraft, and it turned back. She spent twenty four hours in a Mumbai hotel, waiting for an alternative flight, and ended up flying home on the same aircraft.

If your flight was delayed for six and a half hours you should have been offered two phone calls and two emails, free of charge, so you could notify people at the other end, or whatever - did that happen?

I note that you were off on a package holiday - does that mean your flight was a charter?

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proudfoot

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I think you misunderstand. The flight No. we were due to take was a separate flight No. to the one that broke down. It just happened that the aircraft we were due to board was previously scheduled to fly from the US.

Regarding phone calls emails etc. we were offered nothing as I stated previously. We should also have been offered a meal each free of charge.

It was a package holiday with flight included. We were and many other passengers some of who we are still in touch with very annoyed at the treatment we received, we still are and are determined not to let the matter rest if we have any say in the matter.

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Forum Editor

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I think you misunderstand.

Obviously I do. What then did you mean when you said "We have been advised the plane developed a fault shortly after leaving a US airport and was then diverted to an airport in Florida"? I assumed that was the aircraft on which you were scheduled to fly, once it had arrived from the US and turned around.

If it was, my earlier comments apply - the airborne fault that warranted a diversion would almost certainly qualify as an extraordinary circumstance.

The lack of a meal is another matter - you should have been provided with food vouchers.

You didn't say whether this was a charter flight - if it was it will complicate the issue somewhat. Presumably, as it was a package deal you are claiming against your tour operator?

I wish you well with your claim, but be prepared for the 'extraordinary circumstance' defence, if it stands up you will not succeed.

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proudfoot

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It was a package holiday with a holiday company who also have their own airline.

We have been advised by Which to re-submit our claim. Should they try to claim "Extraordinary Circumstances", to demand a detailed report. If that is not forthcoming we can then decide whether we wish to resort to the Small Claims Court with the warning that we will be submit a request to the court that the report is submitted with their evidence.

I have no wish to, but have no worries taking this route if required having won a case against a holiday company through ABTA a few years ago.

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James Griffin

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The "Forum Editor" of this thread obviously does not understand the regulation. An extraordinary circumstance affecting one flight does not affect another flight, even if the airplane suffering it was intended to be utilized for the subsequent flight. I had the same experience with Delta, and they eventually paid my claim.

The "extraordinary circumstance" would not even negate claims for the first flight, arriving in an EU country, if the operating carrier was an EU one. Only if it were a non-EU airline would Regulation 261 2004 not apply (to the incoming flight)

J K Griffin

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Forum Editor

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James Griffin

As someone who has been flying on a frequent basis for many years I understand the regulation very well.

The reason I warned about the 'extraordinary circumstances' defence in this case was because in Britain, all such claims have been on hold since August 2010, pending the outcome of a legal challenge by airlines including BA and easyJet.

Last week's ruling in the European Court of Justice confirmed that passengers are entitled to cash compensation for long delays, unless those delays are caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. Industry experts know that airlines will continue to use the defence however, and it will continue to be the case that passengers find it very difficult indeed to get information as to what exactly caused the delay. Airlines are theoretically liable if the delay was caused by a technical fault, but so much obfuscation occurs that it was right and proper that I should sound a cautionary note in this case - that's what we're here for.

It's one thing to be in the right technically, but it can be another thing altogether when it comes to getting the fact recognised and compensation paid. Around 95% of all claims of this type are routinely contested by the airlines.

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James Griffin

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Now the Forum Editor is obfuscating! He clearly stated previously, "If it was, my earlier comments apply - the airborne fault that warranted a diversion would almost certainly qualify as an extraordinary circumstance."

His revised comments, "It's one thing to be in the right technically, but it can be another thing altogether when it comes to getting the fact recognised and compensation paid. Around 95% of all claims of this type are routinely contested by the airlines." is true, but that's not what he wrote stated previously.

Having flown "on a frequent basis for many years" is not adequate for understanding the intricacies of Regulation 261 2004. Hours and hours of studying the subject and communicating with those who have been involved with it, including aggrieved passengers, lawyers, airline personnel, national enforcement boards, small claims courts, claims assistance website personnel; and then successfully obtaining compensation are necessary to become expert. I know, I had to do so.

J K Griffin

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