Court cases could mean payouts for delayed airline passengers

 
Marion Dakers
A PAIR of appeals due in the next few weeks could cement new rights for passengers to claim compensation when their flights are delayed.

A customer of Thomson Airways is going to the Court of Appeal in the hope of setting a precedent for other passengers who bring a claim more than two years after they suffer delays or cancellations.

James Dawson has already been awarded almost £1,000 for a six-and-a-half hour delay on a Christmas Day 2006 flight to the Dominican Republic. He won a case last summer, and the county court sent the matter to the Court of Appeal as a test case.

Bott & Co, the law firm acting for Dawson, argues that passengers should by law have up to six years to apply for compensation, in line with most airlines’ policies.

The firm estimates that this would enable more than 13m customers to file a historical claim – potentially costing airlines £4bn.

Thomson, meanwhile, contends that the international Montreal Convention only allows compensation for flights if a claim is brought within two years. The convention, intended to unify airline liability rules around the world, chiefly covers lost baggage and air disasters.

In a separate case, Jet2.com is appealing a case from last year, which found that airlines must pay out for delays caused by technical faults on a plane.

Ronald Huzar’s flight from Malaga to Manchester was delayed for 27 hours, when faulty wiring on the plane interfered with a fuel circuit.

He lost his initial case in June 2013, but won on appeal. Jet2 is now fighting that decision, with a hearing due at the end of May. The airline argues that the fault should be considered an “exceptional circumstance”, for which it is not liable under European rules.