Airline victory for delayed passengers

Delayed flights

Airline passengers hit with long delays could be entitled to compensation following an appeal court ruling.

Passenger Ronald Huzar was delayed for 27 hours on a flight from Malaga to Manchester in 2011, and was told that as there had been a technical problem with the plane the airline didn't have to pay compensation under the "extraordinary circumstances" rule.

The rule - which usually applies to things like poor weather and political unrest – can also allow airlines to avoid paying out if the plane has a mechanical or electrical problem but yesterday the Court of Appeal ruled that Huzar was entitled to compensation and awarded him £526.

The move could open the floodgates for potentially millions of compensation claims dating back six years.


Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said the move was a good one for consumers: "This ruling shows that airlines cannot avoid their responsibilities by claiming that routine technical problems are extraordinary circumstances," he said.

"Airlines must be transparent about the causes of delay and ensure that consumers have sufficient information to exercise their rights."

Under current rules, travellers across the EU can apply for compensation if a flight is delayed for at lest three hours and the airline has no reasonable excuse.

However, the case may not have reached its conclusion just yet. A spokesman for said it would be looking to take the dispute to the Supreme Court.


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