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EU Court to Rule on Flight Delay Compensation This Week

The European Court of Justice is expected to hand down ruling on EU flight delay compensation rules this week.

More changes could be coming to European flight delay compensation rules, depending on the ruling of Europe’s highest court. The court is expected to rule this week on the flight compensation rules governing certain flights in the EU at the request of a Dutch court.

The ruling revolves around the idea that flights grounded for technical situations are considered an unforeseen circumstances. In 2014, a lawsuit brought against British carrier Jet2 determined that technical situations qualified for delayed or cancelled flight compensation under EU law.

The ruling was challenged by Netherlands flag carrier KLM, arguing in court that random technical faults should still be considered “extraordinary circumstances,” which would not qualify for delayed flight compensation. The case was referred to the European Court of Justice, as the ruling could have ramifications across Europe.

Under EU law, flyers traveling on airlines registered in the EU or on international flights originating from the EU are all covered by delayed flight compensation rules. However, the law has seen many changes over the last 12 months.

In September 2014, an ECJ ruling determined that total delay is determined by the time flyers are allowed to leave the aircraft, as opposed to an aircraft’s landing time. In April 2015, a British court determined that a delay caused by a bird strike qualifies as an “extraordinary circumstance,” which would require airlines to pay claims for delays resulting from the situation.

If the ECJ rules in favor of the airline, flight compensation attorneys Bott and Company warn that claims could be more difficult to receive, as airlines could claim a technical failure was beyond their control. However, if the ECJ rules for flyers, the attorneys claim those delayed could file a delay compensation claim “for all technical issues (not including hidden manufacturing defects).”

[Photo: iStock]


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cvision September 17, 2015

So ruled in favor of travelers.

ysangkok September 17, 2015

Here is the ruling: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=167942