Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Aer Lingus | AerClub
Reload this Page >

Resorting to court action over EC.261

Resorting to court action over EC.261

Old Dec 14, 2023, 8:55 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Based out of MAN; LON/NYC regular
Programs: BAEC Gold, IHG Platinum Amb, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 214
Resorting to court action over EC.261

Hi all, I'm stuck with a slightly unfamiliar situation to which I can't find an answer and so I'm resorting to asking the great FT hive mind.
2 of my friends were caught in the UK NATS failure earlier this year. Obviously this is all "circumstances outside the airline's reasonable control" so compensation is fully off the cards here, but they're both finding that EI are rejecting the duty of care reimbursements and also the reimbursement of alternate flights on LCCs when EI were unable to offer any rebooking in a timely manner.
The 2 journeys were that 1 was returning to MAN from DUB, and the other returning to BER from DUB.
My question is: assuming that they continue to face intransigence here, in which jurisdiction can they start court proceedings given that EI isn't a member of an ADR scheme from what I've been able to see?
Can the MAN based passenger sue in the UK under EC.261 because the original ticket was purchased in GBP, presumably from a UK entity? Or does that need to be done in the Irish courts? If so, how?
Similarly, does the BER based passenger sue in Germany or in Ireland? They've subsequently moved to Dublin: does that make things easier or harder?
Is this the kind of edge case where the answer becomes "take it up with your travel insurer or one of the ambulance chasing claims agencies, and let them jump through the hoops"?
Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.
Joeykins is offline  
Old Dec 14, 2023, 11:00 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Programs: AerClub - Concierge, Hotels.com - Gold
Posts: 927
I stand to be corrected on all of this.

Obviously no compensation payable.

So. It’s reroute or refund. Did you take a refund? If so that’s where the airline’s commitment to you ends. The phrase ‘timely manner’ is nebulous at best.

Even in cases where compensation is payable and rerouting is required case law is not clear on whether airlines must put you on another airline’s flight or if they are responsible for paying for it. In this instance I suspect they would not be.

Other expenses? Again. What are they? How much? Being that this is outside EI’s control I’m thinking they won’t be paying for hotels.

Ultimately to me it sounds like a job for travel insurance.

Or you could try small claims court in Dublin. Ultimately that’s where the company is based. Not sure what your chances would be though.
irishguy28 likes this.

Last edited by alserire; Dec 14, 2023 at 11:37 am
alserire is online now  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 2:07 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: KL Platinum; A3 Gold
Posts: 28,698
Originally Posted by Joeykins
but they're both finding that EI are rejecting the duty of care reimbursements and also the reimbursement of alternate flights on LCCs when EI were unable to offer any rebooking in a timely manner.
What, precisely, were EI offering?

And what, exactly, did your friends do? Did they cancel their EI tickets? Did they seek/obtain a refund for those tickets?

Or did they keep these tickets "alive", and what did Aer Lingus eventually offer as regards a return flight home, even if this only occurred after they had already got home via other means?

We need to know the precise sequence of who did/said/offered/requested/obtained what, and at which time point.
alserire likes this.
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 5:05 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Based out of MAN; LON/NYC regular
Programs: BAEC Gold, IHG Platinum Amb, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 214
I'm pretty au fait with the rules around EC.261 itself, and although I don't have the full picture seeing as I wasn't there I've not heard anything that's given me any pause at all.

My understanding is that they didn't actually claim for a hotel and basically ended up sleeping on the floor in the new apartment that 1 of them had gone over to pick up the keys for. As far as getting home once things had begun to settle, EI weren't offering anything that didn't involve a multi-day wait and so they booked on to FR which did have some seats. Since then though EI have been refusing both reimbursement of those FR tickets ("we don't refund alternate flights") but also refusing refunds of their own ticket segments ("you are not entitled to a refund for a flight which you took").

Normally at this point I'd go to an ADR scheme but since EI isn't a member of one it leaves the courts, but I'm not familiar with whether it's possible for the UK-based passenger to file this through MCOL since the return ticket was purchased in GBP and there's presumably a UK entity to file against, or whether he'd also have to file this through courts.ie
Joeykins is offline  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 5:09 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Programs: AerClub - Concierge, Hotels.com - Gold
Posts: 927
Originally Posted by Joeykins
I'm pretty au fait with the rules around EC.261 itself, and although I don't have the full picture seeing as I wasn't there I've not heard anything that's given me any pause at all.

My understanding is that they didn't actually claim for a hotel and basically ended up sleeping on the floor in the new apartment that 1 of them had gone over to pick up the keys for. As far as getting home once things had begun to settle, EI weren't offering anything that didn't involve a multi-day wait and so they booked on to FR which did have some seats. Since then though EI have been refusing both reimbursement of those FR tickets ("we don't refund alternate flights") but also refusing refunds of their own ticket segments ("you are not entitled to a refund for a flight which you took").

Normally at this point I'd go to an ADR scheme but since EI isn't a member of one it leaves the courts, but I'm not familiar with whether it's possible for the UK-based passenger to file this through MCOL since the return ticket was purchased in GBP and there's presumably a UK entity to file against, or whether he'd also have to file this through courts.ie
Seems to me your friends are entitled to a refund for the flight sector they didn’t take. But not anything more.
irishguy28 likes this.
alserire is online now  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 5:26 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: KL Platinum; A3 Gold
Posts: 28,698
Originally Posted by Joeykins
Ibut also refusing refunds of their own ticket segments ("you are not entitled to a refund for a flight which you took")
Obviously the outbound flights - which were used - wouldn't be refunded. I'm surprised to read that particular comment - "you are not entitled to a refund for a flight which you took" - does that mean both pax sought a FULL refund of their partially-used EI tickets?

But the issue is the inbound flights. I'm still not clear about what actually happened to the inbound sectors on both tickets. EI must have proposed a new flight (MAN-DUB, BER-DUB) several days later....but is this so? Or does Aer Lingus make some kind of proposal which you then have to actively "accept"?

The fate of their tickets is still completely unclear to me....and it is highly relevant. I can't figure out if these 2 pax ended up being "no-shows" for the replacement flights provided; whether EI ever actually updated the tickets to add new inbound flights at all; or whether the the 2 pax cancelled the tickets before the departure of the new flights or before any such new flights were added to their tickets.

It's crucial to understand the fate of the EI tickets, because everything else rests upon this. If the pax clearly requested the inbound flights to be cancelled, then EI's responsibility for the pax ends. The fact that EI responds by saying "not entitled to a refund for a flight which you took" seems to indicate that the pax requested some form of refund. We need to know when in the sequence such a request was lodged, and what the specific request was - refund the entire ticket? refund the unused inbound part only (seems unlikely, given EI's response about nor refunding the outbound)? A request for a refund would most likely be interpreted as a voluntary cancellation, which further means that the pax may have (perhaps unwittingly) talked themselves out of any further recourse.

It also seems that the pax asked for both a refund (of some sort; what kind of refund is still not clear) AND reimbursement for the new tickets. You can't have both; though again, without details of the sequence of events, I can't figure out if these were sequential requests (i.e. "they refused to reimburse the new tickets, so now instead let's try getting a refund for our EI ticket instead") or simultaneous requests.
alserire likes this.

Last edited by irishguy28; Dec 15, 2023 at 5:35 am
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 6:32 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: EIDW
Programs: Aer Lingus Concierge, Radisson Rewards Platinum, BW Diamond, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,967
The NATS failure was exceptional circumstance thats accepted

All flights here were operated under Aer Lingus Ltd or Emerald Airlines (Ireland) Limited in Dublin (if flight was EI32xx) so the venue for any claim legally would be Dublin.

The courts will take a very dim view if all reasonable avenues of complaint have not been followed first. So if EI won't refund hotel or food then its off to the IAA, https://secure.aviationreg.ie/eserie...746/car450.xsp to file a complaint.

Refund is available if any cancelled flight was not rebooked or moved to another carrier. Given every airline is flying in the same sky there isn't really any rerouting option from BER to DUB or MAN to DUB which doesn't pass through NATS ATC. Aer Lingus will rebook to other carriers, I've seen rebookings onto BA, LH, AF, AA etc.

The problem is the LCC's, Ryanair, Easyjet etc are NOT members of IATA so the industry booking tools cannot easily move a booking. EI has a (very) long list of Eticketing/Interline agreements which facilitate rebooking onto a broad range of carriers and that comes in part through the umbrella of IATA
Joeykins likes this.
ROKNA is online now  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 8:30 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Based out of MAN; LON/NYC regular
Programs: BAEC Gold, IHG Platinum Amb, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 214
Originally Posted by irishguy28
It also seems that the pax asked for both a refund (of some sort; what kind of refund is still not clear) AND reimbursement for the new tickets. You can't have both; though again, without details of the sequence of events, I can't figure out if these were sequential requests (i.e. "they refused to reimburse the new tickets, so now instead let's try getting a refund for our EI ticket instead") or simultaneous requests.
It was sequential, otherwise I'd have already told them that what they were asking for was unreasonable. They're also both sensible people who wouldn't have tried that one in the first place.

Originally Posted by ROKNA
The courts will take a very dim view if all reasonable avenues of complaint have not been followed first. So if EI won't refund hotel or food then its off to the IAA, https://secure.aviationreg.ie/eserie...746/car450.xsp to file a complaint.
This is what I've thus far been completely unable to find, thank you! I'll pass that one on and bookmark it myself in case I do ever butt heads with EI; I did have my own slightly frustrating experience with them recently where Emerald cancelled MAN-BHD and back, and I managed to get the compensation both ways and all reimbursements related to EI rerouting us to DUB, but then coming home because they couldn't offer us anything reasonable I booked on to U2 to LPL, and even though EI refunded us the related bus & train fares the replacement flight itself was conspicuously absent and I had a similar "we don't reimburse other flights you purchased". In my case though they were prepared to issue the refund for the unused segment, and said refund ended up being ~£20 higher than what I paid for the alternate flights so their intransigence ended up being more expensive in the end.
Joeykins is offline  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 2:36 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2,016
As a rule, you get a choice of suing in the country of origin and the country of destination. For MAN-DUB, you can sue in either the UK or Ireland, your choice. Obviously it is easier to sue in your country of residence.

Duty of care: EI had to offer accommodation and transportation to the place of accommodation. It seems that the cost for the accommodation itself was zero, but there may have been transportation costs which are then claimable. Note that food costs also are claimable.

EI had to rebook you as soon as possible, but it seems that the earlier offered flight was several days into the future, so EI didn't comply with this requirement. As EI didn't offer this, you had to rebook yourself instead, so the cost of this rebooking should be claimable. Alternatively, you could choose to have your original tickets refunded. Here you choose the most economical option.

As EI didn't offer rebooking on the LCC flight, EI didn't take all reasonable measures to reduce the delay. This means that EI no longer has the option to claim extraordinary circumstances, so it would seem that the passengers are entitled to delay compensation.
Joeykins likes this.
Im a new user is offline  
Old Dec 15, 2023, 2:59 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Programs: AerClub - Concierge, Hotels.com - Gold
Posts: 927
Originally Posted by Im a new user
As a rule, you get a choice of suing in the country of origin and the country of destination. For MAN-DUB, you can sue in either the UK or Ireland, your choice. Obviously it is easier to sue in your country of residence.

Duty of care: EI had to offer accommodation and transportation to the place of accommodation. It seems that the cost for the accommodation itself was zero, but there may have been transportation costs which are then claimable. Note that food costs also are claimable.

EI had to rebook you as soon as possible, but it seems that the earlier offered flight was several days into the future, so EI didn't comply with this requirement. As EI didn't offer this, you had to rebook yourself instead, so the cost of this rebooking should be claimable. Alternatively, you could choose to have your original tickets refunded. Here you choose the most economical option.

As EI didn't offer rebooking on the LCC flight, EI didn't take all reasonable measures to reduce the delay. This means that EI no longer has the option to claim extraordinary circumstances, so it would seem that the passengers are entitled to delay compensation.
Have to say I’m somewhat confused by this.

How can EI be responsible for accommodation for something totally outside their control?

And surely as soon as possible means when seats are available?

If you’re right this means that airlines are responsible any time anything goes wrong. Which is hardly true.
alserire is online now  
Old Dec 16, 2023, 9:13 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,835
Originally Posted by alserire
Have to say I’m somewhat confused by this.

How can EI be responsible for accommodation for something totally outside their control?

And surely as soon as possible means when seats are available?

If you’re right this means that airlines are responsible any time anything goes wrong. Which is hardly true.
Duty of care obligations do apply under pretty much all circumstances regardless of fault. That is well trodden path and the obligations are very clear.

The obligation to rebook on alternative carriers is much less clear and can be limited by who the airline has rebooking agreements with, availability and the concept of reasonableness. I certainly wouldn’t say there’s a high degree of confidence in winning a case on this point.
Kgmm77 is offline  
Old Dec 18, 2023, 12:52 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: KL Platinum; A3 Gold
Posts: 28,698
Originally Posted by Im a new user
As EI didn't offer rebooking on the LCC flight, EI didn't take all reasonable measures to reduce the delay. This means that EI no longer has the option to claim extraordinary circumstances, so it would seem that the passengers are entitled to delay compensation.
That's not at all how it works.

The NATS failure was most certainly an "extraordinary circumstance". The airlines were forbidden from putting their planes into the air. It is not something up for debate, or something that depends on whether or not EI can/will book tickets on FR.

Delay compensation will never be payable under such circumstances.
alserire and stifle like this.
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Dec 20, 2023, 5:27 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Isle of Man
Programs: IHG Platinum Elite, BA Pleb
Posts: 347
Originally Posted by alserire
How can EI be responsible for accommodation for something totally outside their control?

And surely as soon as possible means when seats are available?
Under UK/EU261 the duty of care extends to accommodation even if it is outside the airline's control.

Under UK/EU261 "as soon as possible" means within 24 hours or so, and they should use alternative carriers if they cannot accommodate themselves.

It's funny how different airlines deal with this. My flight from Liverpool to IOM was cancelled by EasyJet due to the NATS SNAFU. They could accommodate me the next day, but time was of the essence (and I didn't fancy a hotel in Liverpool when I could get the boat home in three hours), so I took the Steam Packet ferry that evening instead. I stuck the duty of care reimbursement request in as soon as I got home and EasyJet had placed the £95 I'd spent on the ferry ticket back in my bank account within a week. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing EasyJet do not have a rebooking agreement with the Isle of Man Steam Packet, yet they still coughed up.

I don't understand why IAG airlines struggle with basic customer service like this when a low-cost carrier like EasyJet does not.
fairhsa likes this.
Arctic Troll is offline  
Old Dec 28, 2023, 5:21 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 397
Sorry to piggyback on this thread. Earlier this year I had three separate bookings for 3x separate passengers (bookings were all paid for by me) for a one-way Emerald flight UK-DUB, although everything was booked through the EI mainline website.

On the day, the flight was delayed for over 5hrs, for which I believe EU261/UK261 “trip in vain” applies, i.e. we no longer wished to travel and wished to receive a full refund. EI did this fine for one of the bookings, but deducted an “administration fee” from the refunds for the other two bookings. Despite me pointing out the inconsistency with the first booking (fully refunded as expected), EI are now refusing to budge as regards the other two bookings.

I have tried the CAA, but they have told me this is not a UK261 claim (I am also disputing this with them!) so will not take it on. It appears EI do not participate in the CEDR scheme, so I’m led to believe my only remaining option is the small claims court?

1) Can I use the UK version (money claim online) or would I have to use the Irish equivalent?
2) Is my claim against Emerald or EI?
3) Can I add the £35 court fee to the claim should I be successful? (To me it seems a clear cut case and I would be confident of success, unless anyone can spot any potential pitfalls!)

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Nikko5 is offline  
Old Dec 29, 2023, 4:41 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Programs: AerClub - Concierge, Hotels.com - Gold
Posts: 927
Can’t answer 1.
2. Your claim should be against Emerald afaik.
3. Remarkably you do not get the fee back in Ireland even if successful. Don’t know about the UK.
alserire is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.