10 May 2016

Flight Delay Claims – Legal Landscape Slowly Shifting

Further to our recent post about a claim payout due to passenger damage (http://bit.ly/1Ty0fgI), we have been quoted in a Daily Mail article about the news story: http://dailym.ai/1QXmvML

Whilst we were clear about this case not being a landmark ruling, we were very happy about the success of the Edwards’ case in county court, and would like to see more rulings of this type by district judges.
Over the last few years, although the Regulation itself has not changed, legal interpretations of the Regulation have been shifting, owing to relevant Court cases and legal precedent. As a claims management company, we keep abreast of the way courts interpret the law, and we work with our legal partners to make sure our understanding of Regulation EC261/2004 – and its interpretation – remain current.

The key issue is about the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’, quoted in the Regulation, and what may or not be regarded as extraordinary. This is key to the struggle for consumers claiming compensation, because compensation is not payable in cases of ‘extraordinary circumstances’. In order for a claim to be denied on this basis, the cause of the delay needs to be both outside of the control of the airline, and also not inherent in the ordinary activity of the airline. This issue has understandably been a source of some contention with many claims, with airlines claiming that circumstances are extraordinary, and claimants and their solicitors trying to argue against circumstances meeting these ‘extraordinary’ criteria.

We are now seeing several cases which would have been dismissed under previous interpretations being fought successfully by solicitors in favour of claimants. The Edwards’ case is a good example. Other examples include some delays caused by bird strikes, which our legal partners are now enjoying some success with. While it may appear obvious that birds and planes inhabit the same airspace, so collisions would be somewhat ordinary in the operation of an airline, this is not the way that courts traditionally rule. Thankfully, some district judges are starting to buck the trend and rule in a more common sense fashion on such cases. Our legal partners are also hoping to push the boundaries in some lightning strike cases, which also are traditionally viewed as ‘extraordinary’.

We monitor these developments closely, along with our legal partners, and often re-open claims which would previously not have been successful, with a view to resolving them under current legal interpretations.


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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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