plane tickets and passport

Under EU compensation rules, airlines may be liable for compensation if they cancel your flight less than 14 days in advance. Previously this has caused some confusion if your ticket was booked through a travel or booking agent. For example, the airline may inform the travel agent more than 14 days in advance, but due to tardy administration the travel agent may not inform you until less than 14 days before the flight – at which point you would think you may be able to claim compensation due to the flight being cancelled less than 14 days in advance.

However, previously the airline could escape compensation by showing that they had informed the booking agent more than 14 days in advance. But this has all changed due to a recent ruling in the European Court of Justice, which is binding on lower Courts. The ruling states that the airline must inform the travellers affected by the cancellation, not just the agent who booked the ticket.

The ruling, in the case of Krijgsman v SLM, means that travellers who have been caught out like this in the past can go back up to 6 years to re-open their claim. If they have previously claimed and been rejected on the grounds that the airline informed the booking agent over 14 days in advance, they should contact the airline citing this ruling and ask that the compensation claim be reviewed.

Iberia Plane in Flight

A London barrister celebrated a legal win against Iberia Airlines which could change the way airlines behave when people miss or cancel the first leg of a return trip.

Traditionally, airlines often offered cheaper fares for return flights than for single legs. To prevent travellers from booking a return trip and only using one leg, airlines have included in their conditions of carriage an immediate cancellation policy for the return trip if the outbound leg was not taken.

This measure, to prevent ‘fare abuse’, has often caused severe problems for travellers who miss their first leg, then have to re-book the return leg of a flight, usually at greater expense. To make matters worse, airlines have previously claimed that no refund is due for the return leg. This is the rule that James Dove successfully argued against in the Mayor’s and City of London Court.

Mr Dove, a family law barrister, had missed his outbound flight, and had made alternative arrangements to travel. He accepted that the airline should not refund the fare for the outbound flight he had missed. However, he contended that the airline’s rule not to refund the return fare was an unfair condition of carriage, and took the airline to Court to argue for his refund of the return fare.

The airline lost the Court case, and the judge ruled that the airline should refund the fare for the return flight, as well as paying costs and loss of earnings for Mr Dove’s Court appearance. Although this ruling is not legally binding on lower Courts, it does give guidance to other judges ruling on similar cases. Therefore it appears likely that in future, travellers in a similar position can claim back the return fare from the airline. If the airline does not repay the return fare in a reasonable time, travellers can now take the airline to small claims court to recover their fare, and are likely to win if the Court follows the ruling made in this case.

Furthermore, any travellers who have lost fares in this fashion in the past can now try to claim them back, providing the flight was within the statute of limitations for legal action (6 years in the UK, 5 years in Scotland).

If you have lost a fare in a similar situation, you should write to the airline and try to claim the money back, citing unfair conditions of carriage as the reason why they should pay. If they disagree, legal action can then be commenced against the airline. This may not be successful without proper legal counsel, but the recent ruling definitely bolsters the legal arguments for the airline returning the fare, and it is thought that in most cases airlines will cough up instead of exposing themselves to further legal fees if they lose in Court.

coffee

Flying can be rather stressful, but a great cup of coffee can make all the difference. Check out our list (below) to see which airlines serve which brand of coffee. We know not everyone will be influenced by airlines’ choices of coffee, but for some people a decent cup of coffee is a deal-breaker!

 

American Airlines – Java City

Delta Airlines – Starbucks

United Airlines – Illy

Southwest Airlines – Community Coffee

JetBlue – Dunkin’ Donuts

Alaska – Starbucks

Spirit Airlines – Brisk RCR

Frontier Airlines – Boyer’s

Hawaiian airlines – Hawaiian Paradise Coffee

Virgin America – Philz Coffee

British Airways – Java Republic

Jet2 – Starbucks

Flybe – Kenco

Thomas Cook – Kenco

Easyjet – Illy

Virgin Atlantic – Fairtrade Coffee

Virgin Australia – Nespresso (for J class on A330 and 777) / Grinders

Qantas – Vittoria Cinque Stelle (1st class) / Bodum (business international)

Air Canada – Second Cup

Westjet – McDonalds McCafe

Air Transat – Brossard instant coffee

Lufthansa – Nespresso

Eurowings – Dalmayr Gold

Brussels Airlines – Rombouts

Air France – Segrafredo/Illy

Vueling – Illy/Nescafe

Ryanair – Lavazza

KLM – UTZ Certified

Norwegian – Nescafe

TAP Portugal – Delta Coffee

Swiss – Blasercafe/Nespresso

El Al – Nespresso

Emirates – Costa Coffee

FlyDubai – Starbucks (economy) / Nespresso (business class)

Xiamen Air – Nescafe

Air China – Golden Coffee

IndiGo – Nescafe Gold Blend

Cathay Pacific – Illy (1st and business class)

Japan Airlines – JAL Café Lines

Ana – Illy

Singapore Airlines – Illy

Malaysia Airlines – Nespresso

Turkish Airlines – traditional Turkish coffee

Qatar Airlines – Hi Fly Emilio Caffe/Kimbo/Nespresso/Nescafe Gold Blend (1st and business class)

plane interior

There are many benefits to travelling first class. However, if you knew you were safer in economy, would you fork out the extra money for a free glass of champagne and extra leg room? According to many studies your chance of survival in the event of a plane crash is higher if you’re in the back of the plane, which is usually where economy class is situated. Being within 6 rows of an emergency exit also slightly increase your chance of survival, as this gives you an advantage in the case of an emergency evacuation of the plane.

Studies also show that middle seats are generally safer than aisle seats or window seats, so although middle seats are generally regarded as the worst seats, there is a silver lining – but only in the unlikely event of a crash! The chances of dying in a plane crash are only 1 in 3.5 million, so you’re far more likely to die driving to the airport than on the flight itself.

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Big thanks for the £304.70 transferred to my bank account today. My claim related to a three-leg flight from Norwich UK to Phoenix USA via Schiphol. The CAA suggested I had a good case but could do nothing because the delay occurred within Dutch jurisdiction. I twice did battle with KLM/Delta myself but they would not budge. Another claims firm tried but threw in the towel. So congratulations to Claim4Flights for taking it on and winning – and for getting the money transferred into my bank account within two days of notification. Very impressed!

Delta Airlines Flight – Andy, Norfolk from Delta Airlines £304.70 won 11th April 2017
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