When airlines don’t pay out delay and cancellation compensation under European Union law, who can they turn to for help? While some services offer assistance in cashing in on airline compensation claims, some are sending in court bailiffs to get on-the-spot payments from carriers who refuse to pay.
Flyers across the United Kingdom are finding a new way to get airlines to pay out claims for delayed or canceled flights: Send the long arm of the law after them. An investigation by BBC Radio discovered that more and more waylaid passengers are sending in court bailiffs to retrieve claimed funds when they won’t pay – even after court cases order it.
Under European Union law, airlines are forced to pay out claims when flights are unreasonably delayed or outright canceled. Even extreme circumstances – such as bird strikes leading to delays or cancellations – can be used to claim funds.
However, some claims get ignored by airlines. According to the BBC, both EasyJet and TUI Airways (formerly known as Thompson Airways) have hundreds of claims against them that remain outstanding.
So when those claims are not paid in a timely fashion, courts have the option of sending bailiffs to collect those funds on behalf of flyers. In some cases, officers are now turning up at the offices of easyJet and TUI Airways, just to collect payments in the form of debit and credit cards. In an extreme example, bailiffs prevented a flight from taking off by boarding it until the airline paid their judgment.
“The airlines ignore solicitors who present a formal letter for compensation, then ignore the court proceedings and finally they ignore the judgment against them as well,” British solicitor Coby Benson told the BBC. “The airlines think they can bury their heads in the sand thinking that the problem is going to go away, but that’s not the case.”
Under law, companies that do not pay up on due judgments can have their office equipment and furniture confiscated and sold to settle their bills. Both EasyJet and TUI Airways told the BBC in separate statements they would investigate the situations and judgments against them.
Flyers who believe they are owed compensation under EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 have multiple ways of seeing their claim through. Options include turning to an assistance firm to file the claim, or hiring a solicitor to handle claims.