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Danish supreme court rule in favour of SK in EU compensation case

Danish supreme court rule in favour of SK in EU compensation case

Old Jun 2, 17, 7:01 am
  #1  
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Danish supreme court rule in favour of SK in EU compensation case

The Danish supreme court has ruled in favour of SK in a EU compensation case.

A flight to Washington diverted to Philadelphia due to weather in IAD and caused a 3h 45m delay on the following day's departure from Copenhagen. The court found that it was extraordinary circumstances and SK does not have to pay compensation.

Link in Danish.
http://www.hoejesteret.dk/hoejestere...rsinkelse.aspx

Interesting outcome. Probably the most in favour of the airline ruling I have seen.
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Old Jun 3, 17, 10:41 am
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Not having bothered to translate the article, did SK get away with a delayed departure the next day from CPH blaming it on weather affecting the IAD inbound the day before?

As in, do airlines not need to keep spare equipment for these kind of situations? This would set a bizar precedent for airlines blaming delays on historic events.

I understand how with SK's aircraft schedule it affects the flight the next day but this is why LN-RKP is still around.
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Old Jun 3, 17, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
I understand how with SK's aircraft schedule it affects the flight the next day but this is why LN-RKP is still around.
LN-RKP is also operating quite frequently - amazing that they are not bothering to refurb it...

I'm thinking of buying an SK biz ticket in July - but do not wish to pay the same $$ for a flight on that bird! (Seems to be substituting for EWR flights very often)
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Old Jun 3, 17, 11:19 am
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Short resume in English

Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
Not having bothered to translate the article, did SK get away with a delayed departure the next day from CPH blaming it on weather affecting the IAD inbound the day before?

As in, do airlines not need to keep spare equipment for these kind of situations? This would set a bizar precedent for airlines blaming delays on historic events.

I understand how with SK's aircraft schedule it affects the flight the next day but this is why LN-RKP is still around.
Yes they did. They had to pay in the lower courts, but they did get off with it in the Danish Supreme court.

As I read the judgement, it is not a general "get-out-of-jail"-card (even though SAS didn't get the court costs refunded by the losing customers, as this was a judgement that would be a precedent for SAS, and thus of economical benefit to SAS).

SAS got off, because the delay next day was relatively minor (3 h 45 min), SAS had done everything to reduce the delay: less than two hours turnaround time in CPH; taxiing the flight crew from IAD to PHL, any alternatives (rebooking to other airlines) would have meant a later arrival to IAD for the delayed passengers than the 3 h 45 min experienced.

The extraordinary circumstances were weather closing IAD (for a short time), and - with the designated alternate - BWI - also closed meant that SAS only had fuel for 15 minutes holding at IAD before having to head to the second alternate (PHL). After a attempt to approach IAD after 12 minutes had to be abandoned, the captain (an experienced pilot, but with only 6 months on the A340) decided to go to PHL. As SAS does not have a handling agreement there (unlike at BWI), they suffered a long delay there before unloading passengers/luggage/cargo. As the return crew timed out in flight due to the taxi cab shuttle to PHL, they also had to stop at OSL to change flight crews.
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Old Jun 3, 17, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by ksu View Post
Yes they did. They had to pay in the lower courts, but they did get off with it in the Danish Supreme court.

As I read the judgement, it is not a general "get-out-of-jail"-card (even though SAS didn't get the court costs refunded by the losing customers, as this was a judgement that would be a precedent for SAS, and thus of economical benefit to SAS).

SAS got off, because the delay next day was relatively minor (3 h 45 min), SAS had done everything to reduce the delay: less than two hours turnaround time in CPH; taxiing the flight crew from IAD to PHL, any alternatives (rebooking to other airlines) would have meant a later arrival to IAD for the delayed passengers than the 3 h 45 min experienced.

The extraordinary circumstances were weather closing IAD (for a short time), and - with the designated alternate - BWI - also closed meant that SAS only had fuel for 15 minutes holding at IAD before having to head to the second alternate (PHL). After a attempt to approach IAD after 12 minutes had to be abandoned, the captain (an experienced pilot, but with only 6 months on the A340) decided to go to PHL. As SAS does not have a handling agreement there (unlike at BWI), they suffered a long delay there before unloading passengers/luggage/cargo. As the return crew timed out in flight due to the taxi cab shuttle to PHL, they also had to stop at OSL to change flight crews.
It is not a blank check for any situation, but considering there are rulings that a lightning strike is not an extraordinary circumstance for subsequent departures from an airlines hub (can't remember the airline or jurisdiction right now), it is a pretty wide reaching verdict.

I do believe the EU261 has its merits, and has been necessary. But also think at times that the vagueness and very broad interpretation has not been reasonable.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 5:03 am
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
It is not a blank check for any situation, but considering there are rulings that a lightning strike is not an extraordinary circumstance for subsequent departures from an airlines hub (can't remember the airline or jurisdiction right now), it is a pretty wide reaching verdict.

I do believe the EU261 has its merits, and has been necessary. But also think at times that the vagueness and very broad interpretation has not been reasonable.
It certainly is not a blank check for the airline.

As I - as a non-lawyer - read the judgement is that the accumulated unexpected circumstances (both destination and alternate closed, attempted landing had to be abandoned, leading to even less fuel, best secondary alternate (EWR) not accessible due to fuel and weather there, exceptionally long wait for handling at alternate finally chosen (PHL)) combined with SK doing its best to reduce the delay (cabbing crew IAD-PHL, flying substitute crew to OSL, cutting down turn-around time at CPH) meant that the airline had done as much as could be expected to reduce the delay for the passengers next day.

The question of not being able to get a substitute aircraft is thoroughly covered in the judgement.

I would dare to suggest that this judgement actually puts up a rather high hurdle for the airlines when it comes to allowing delays on incoming aircraft to delay later flights without paying out.

What might be important for non-European readers to note, is that the Danish Supreme Court decision does not affect the question of Duty of Care (i.e. getting the customer to the final destination as soon as realistically possible, offering room/food where necessary).
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Old Jun 4, 17, 12:50 pm
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The Supreme Court judgment is a landmark decision in the sense that it also exempts the carrier from paying compensation for delays/cancellation of the following fliht(s), i.e. for the so called "knock-on" effects of a delay/cancellation. The arguments of pax/claims agencies have always been that the carrier needs to have aircraft and crew available even at outstations and therefore the carrier is liable to pay compensation if also the subsequent flight(s) is delayed/cancelled even if the initial flight may be delayed/cancelled due to "extraordinary circumstances".

The Supreme Court states that it would be an "ureasonable burden on SAS to have contingency plans/equipment available for situations like this where..." [and the Supreme Court refers the particulars of the delay in question].

I'm quite sure that this judgment will be relied on by carriers in the many cases where pax of the subsequent flights file claims for compensation and where the carriers previously have faced the argument that the carrier should have arranged for an alternative aircraft, crew etc. when the incoming aircraft is delayed/cancelled.

Last edited by SK AAR; Jun 4, 17 at 12:56 pm
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Old Jun 4, 17, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
I'm quite sure that this judgment will be relied on by carriers in the many cases where pax of the subsequent flights file claims for compensation and where the carriers previously have faced the argument that the carrier should have arranged for an alternative aircraft, crew etc. when the incoming aircraft is delayed/cancelled.
It is only the Danish supreme court so this is now only valid in Denmark. Let's see if there will be another ruling in this case which will be binding throughout Europe.
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