EC261/2004 on ET? Anyone with experience?

Old Aug 23, 18, 6:41 am
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EC261/2004 on ET? Anyone with experience?

Hi all,
I did my own research to see if I have any right to claim EC261/2004 compensation with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) but I'm still confused after reading case studies.

My situation: One ticket, MAD->ADD->KUL (via SIN one hour ground stop). Final arrival time was delayed by 9 hours in KUL.

Details: The MAD flight was one hour delayed, and there was a 17 hour or so layover in Addis Abeba, so it did not matter.
However, the ADD->SIN->KUL flight (one flight number) was delayed. We took off about 1-2 hours later, however, 1 hour in the air, the flight lost one engine, a boom causing shaking in the cabin and an electrical reset caused the captain to turn back to Addis.

This flight which was scheduled for 11:20pm departure (ET638) was delayed one hour+ on takeoff, then when we returned to the gate, we were rescheduled for 8am the following day, then the flight really took off at 9am. In the end, I was about 9 hours delayed on arrival at final destination in KUL (scheduled arrival time was 5pm in KUL, but we really landed at 2am). They offered overnight accommodation but I accepted to remain in the business class lounge instead. I have photos of the flightscanner and other trackings. I also received a letter from ET at Addis that details the delay as "operational issue" but "without accepting liability". ​​​​​​I missed a flight (separately booked) after and also one night of hotel at final destination so to recoup any costs would be quite nice (though I understand they are not responsible for it.)

Do I have any right to claim 600 euros on this flight delay of over 9 hours?
I am basing this on the fact the flights were on one ticket, exiting EU, (though not community carrier). Also, it was technical problem (I have photos of technicians opening up the left engine casing when we landed and were still kept onboard.)
The great circle mapper indicates the following distances: ADD-SIN is 7,267 KM, SIN to KUL is 296km, totals 7,564 KM.

I read contradictory explanations:
https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/services/air-travel_en -> "The situation regarding connecting flights was clarified further in the case of Air France SA v Heinz-Gerke Folkerts and Luz-Tereza Folkerts C-11/11. Here, the case concerned a delay in arrival at the final destination. The Court of Justice of the EU decided that a passenger on directly connecting flights must be compensated when he has been delayed at departure for a period below the limits specified in the Regulation but has arrived at his final destination at least three hours later than the scheduled arrival time. Compensation is not conditional upon having been delayed for a minimum period at departure."

https://www.lexology.com/library/det...6-61ada1624bdf -> "In awarding the full amount of EC261 compensation available to the claimants, the Court of Appeal took the directly connecting flights together to determine whether the delay to the passengers in reaching their flight destination (upon arrival of the last flight) triggered the airline’s liability under EC261. This was particularly relevant to the Buckley family’s claim. Although their Manchester-Dubai flight was delayed by less than three hours (just over two hours in fact), they arrived at their final destination (Sydney) over 16 hours late. This is consistent with the decision in C-11/11 Air France -v- Folkerts [2013] and the EC261 Interpretative Guidelines. Whether the carrier is EU or non-EU registered is irrelevant if the first flight departs from an airport located in a member state."

I have emailed ET in Madrid office (contracted out apparently to a third party company) and also the MAD Airport Office. No replies and it has been 15 days since the flight and email.
Has anyone succeeded in getting a claim? I am hoping not to use any lawyer services for this.

If any one can provide any advice, I'd be most grateful. I feel like I am up against a wall not knowing how to proceed and whether my screenshots of flightradar-style sites would be accepted.

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Old Aug 23, 18, 8:17 am
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You have way over-complicated this.

The sole determinants here are whether you were delayed 3+ (EUR 300) or 4+ (EUR 600) at your final ticketed destination, e.g. KUL. In your case, you were delayed by 9 hours and are thus due the compensation unless the reasons for the delay were an "extraordinary circumstance." Generally speaking, a mechanical delay such as yours would not be an "extraordinary circumstance" and thus this ought to be a fairly easy claim.

Additionally, you are due a "duty of care" for your time waiting the eventual departure. If proper food was not provided, you may submit receipts for reasonable sustenance.

Remember that less is more.
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Old Aug 23, 18, 10:01 am
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I agree that the OP has way over-complicated this, but in reality there is zero chance of ET paying up on this (I think that they will argue an inflight problem is de facto exceptional, and I'm minded to agree with them) and thus - does the OP have the will to take this up legally, in Ethiopia?

I'd say 'move on'.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 7:35 am
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I agree that the OP has way over-complicated this, but in reality there is zero chance of ET paying up on this (I think that they will argue an inflight problem is de facto exceptional, and I'm minded to agree with them) and thus - does the OP have the will to take this up legally, in Ethiopia?
I am sorry, but I must honestly say that I very much dislike this comment.

It doesn't matter at all whether the airline is willing to pay or not. A court will decide that.
A technical problem is most likely not considered to be extraordinary.
Moreover, the OP doesn't have to sue ET in Ethiopia. He can do that in Spanish court, which has jurisdiction over MAD. This has been established from a legal perspective.

The problem I see is if the delay on the ADD-SIN segment is covered by EC261/2004. Yes, I've noticed the court verdicts, but I haven't read them in full.
A. If MAD-ADD is just delayed by an hour, but it causes a misconnect in ADD, which puts the delay at the final destination (KUL) at more than 4 hours -> EC261/2004 def. applies;
B. If the MAD-ADD segment did not cause the delay of more than 4 hours in KUL, I am not sure about EC261/2004 cover.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 8:07 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
I am sorry, but I must honestly say that I very much dislike this comment.

It doesn't matter at all whether the airline is willing to pay or not. A court will decide that.
A technical problem is most likely not considered to be extraordinary.
Moreover, the OP doesn't have to sue ET in Ethiopia. He can do that in Spanish court, which has jurisdiction over MAD. This has been established from a legal perspective.

The problem I see is if the delay on the ADD-SIN segment is covered by EC261/2004. Yes, I've noticed the court verdicts, but I haven't read them in full.
A. If MAD-ADD is just delayed by an hour, but it causes a misconnect in ADD, which puts the delay at the final destination (KUL) at more than 4 hours -> EC261/2004 def. applies;
B. If the MAD-ADD segment did not cause the delay of more than 4 hours in KUL, I am not sure about EC261/2004 cover.
The question of whether and one may sue skips over the fact that many people dislike litigation and also have other commitments and priorities in life than using the courts for small sums.

It is also highly dependent on where one lives. While the UK is very "friendly" because it provides its MCOL process for UK residents and "small claims" proceedings may be conducted telephonically. Not quite so easy in other jurisdictions and many people find the concept of contingency fees used by claims agencies, distasteful.
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Old Aug 24, 18, 10:23 am
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Hey, had a case with Ethiopian, flew ARN - ADD - COO and they cancelled the ADD - COO flight and instead routed me via LFW with Asky on the last leg. The LFW - COO leg was delayed by over 3 hours. I contacted ET via email, first response was, no compensation, they are not responsible for the Asky delay. I said, no, they are, my ticket is with Ethiopian and they rerouted me. I also said that if they do not respect the regulation, I will file an official complaint with the Swedish regulator. They checked again, confirmed the right to compensation and two months later I had the money on my German account.

So yeah, I also think you have a right to it. And yes, less is more. If you send Ethiopian an email like your post, they will be confused and automatic reaction is to avoid dealing with it. good luck!
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Old Aug 31, 18, 1:54 am
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Originally Posted by rava.stuff View Post
Hey, had a case with Ethiopian, flew ARN - ADD - COO and they cancelled the ADD - COO flight and instead routed me via LFW with Asky on the last leg. The LFW - COO leg was delayed by over 3 hours. I contacted ET via email, first response was, no compensation, they are not responsible for the Asky delay. I said, no, they are, my ticket is with Ethiopian and they rerouted me. I also said that if they do not respect the regulation, I will file an official complaint with the Swedish regulator. They checked again, confirmed the right to compensation and two months later I had the money on my German account.

So yeah, I also think you have a right to it. And yes, less is more. If you send Ethiopian an email like your post, they will be confused and automatic reaction is to avoid dealing with it. good luck!
Thank you all so much for your comments. I understand I wrote a lot here, yes. I will try to pursue this in simpler words, despite only being literate in Spanish but not able to write it.
I have emailed ET Airport Office in Madrid and their handling agent in Spain, but have not received a response for one month. Do you know what email I should attempt to contact? Your positive resolution is promising.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 2:58 pm
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If you can't get a response online, try to find their legal entity in Spain (there should be one) and send a letter to the ET Spanish legal entity using a delivery service that requires a signature. Be brief and direct and clearly state that you are claiming under EC261/2004, and explain why your claim is valid. Include printed copies of email that they have not responded to. Give them a fixed number of days to respond (2-3 weeks) after which time you will pursue legal action to recover costs under EC261/2004.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 2, 18, 1:48 am
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Originally Posted by toonomadic View Post
Thank you all so much for your comments. I understand I wrote a lot here, yes. I will try to pursue this in simpler words, despite only being literate in Spanish but not able to write it.
I have emailed ET Airport Office in Madrid and their handling agent in Spain, but have not received a response for one month. Do you know what email I should attempt to contact? Your positive resolution is promising.
I used [email protected]

Good luck.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 7:37 am
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It would be useful if EU amend the EC261 and clear up the transit scenario. UK Supreme court has ruled on it and it's much easier to claim in UK. If this was ex-UK departure ET would definitely be liable to payout 600 Euros.

It would be good if EU accept the UK's judgement and amend the EC261.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 11:19 am
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Just to share my experience with EU reg. 261/04 compensation from ET. Last year my OSL-ADD flight was cancelled and I was rerouted to LH to reach final destination in S. Africa. Arrived with a 20 hours delay. The flight was cancelled due to technical issues with the B787 (we never boarded the aircraft; just waited long time at the gate before the flight was eventually cancelled and all pax received meals, hotels rooms and asked to return to the airport the following morning) and as it was a flight ex EU this was a clear case (in fact the manager at OSL said that we should receive compensation). I wrote to ET customer relations @ the email address provided above. After 8-10 weeks and a reminder to the same email address I received a nice/friendly and apologetic reply that my claim EUR 600 was approved and I was asked to fill out a form with bank account details etc. The payment was processed in EUR from the ET office in Brussels. So first of all you need to be patient.

In your case it may complicate matters that strictly speaking you were not delayed on a flight ex EU. Your itinerary is of course ex EU but I'm not sure ET will accept this a giving rise to EU reg. compensation when the flight itself is not covered by EU reg. 261/04. Secondly, this was an inflight issue and it can not be excluded that it was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Bird strike? Struck by lightning? etc. I'm mentioning examples that would normally be considered extraordinary circumstances and make your claim void. So much will also depend on the exact reason why the aircraft had an engine issue - if unavoidable/outside the control of ET then no comp. is due.

Finally, I'm not sure the Spanish CAA or courts will accept jurisdiction for a flight ex ADD to SIN/KUL. Sorry, but unless ET accepts to pay voluntarily I'm afraid that it may turn out very difficult to pursue your claim. Good luck!
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Old Sep 14, 18, 3:32 pm
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I've sent in a simplified version to the customer service email with a reference to the Wegener v. Royal Air Maroc ruling with the ECJ. I'll report back when I have any response. Fingers crossed.
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Old Dec 28, 18, 7:19 am
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Hi, just wanted to note my experience and result.
I emailed ET in mid September. About 3 weeks after the first email, I sent in a reminder email.
The reminder email was responded to - accepting my claim and with a form for bank acct information attached.
I submitted it. 3-4 weeks later, no response, I sent in another email (and tried fb/twitter avenues to remind). I finally got a payment process number from them.
2.5 months later, this week - I've received my 600 euros. It was not difficult to get their acceptance, but more difficult to wait for the money to be processed and to be followed up.
For me, this case is considered closed.

Thank you to readers here for your previous input. I hope my response here helps someone with their expectation on ET response-time.

Last edited by toonomadic; Dec 28, 18 at 7:20 am Reason: Date change
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Old Jan 3, 19, 11:03 am
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Thanks for reporting back. Your experience with ET mirrors mine. The payment of the compensation can take long time and require reminders (by email), so one needs to be patient (and persistent).
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