EU261/2004 is becoming a headache to the Airlines as people become aware of their rights. The Airlines do all they can to resist such such claims.
Airlines are obliged by EU261/2004 to pay compensation when a flight is delayed by more than three hours or the flight is cancelled or the passenger is denied boarding. Unless they can claim the delay/cancellation was due to circumstances out of their control. The Civil Aviation authority has laid down circumstances where the extraordinary circumstance defence is applicable. These include Air Traffic Control restrictions, often claiming extraordinary circumstances.
The amounts laid down by EU Regulations stipulate payments per passenger of:
- Eur 250 for journeys under 1500 kms
- EUR400 for journeys under 1500 kms
- Eur 600 for journeys above 3,500 kms*
*for these journeys compensation will be reduced by 50% where the delay is over 3 hours but under 4 hours.
Now many of the Airlines that serve the UK have imposed contractual conditions that restriction the passenger’s rights under the EU regulation. The condition says that the passenger must first bring the claim themselves and allow 28 days for it to be processed before engaging a third party for help.
This they say ensures all of the compensation goes to the passengers. However, this regulation is a complicated area of law and many passengers do not understand what is and what is not a valid claim. They are uncertain whether extraordinary circumstances apply or whether they apply when the previous flight was delayed.
The Civil Aviation should step in and protect passengers by outlawing these contractual conditions reinstating passengers’ ability to seek help where necessary.
In my view Passengers may need help for many reasons including
- To understand the regulations and be advised when they have a valid claim
- Where they lack the ability to lodge claims via the Airlines website
- Where they need someone to put together their claim
- Where they want to know why only their flight was cancelled/delayed when the Airline cite Adverse weather
- Where they want access to flight data bases to verify whether the flight was over three hours late
- Where they wish to take legal action on a No Win No Fee basis.
Third parties provide an important service of individually assessing a claim and explaining the merits of a claim to passengers rights together with the likelihood of winning a claim.
Compensation companies do make a charge often 25% on a No win No Fee basis but this is another modern-day service providing expertise and allowing the public to get on with their daily lives.
Passengers are unaware that the terms and conditions of carriage and are unlikely to object at the point of sale believing the airlines are unlikely to change their minds. Unreasonable conditions are usually not allowed in contracts with the general public but so far the courts have failed to protect the flying public. The airlines have stopped short of excluding third parties and solicitors from managing a claim. Instead they exclude this right for the first 28 days where they are able to deal with the public not sophisticated claims companies who know this area of the law well. Once a claim is denied most members of the public accept the response and do not take it further.
What the passenger want is someone who knows the passenger rights regulations to handle their claim so that they can get on with their lives they certainly don’t want to commence a legal actions on their own.
The airlines hope this built in delay will cause many passengers to drop their claims.
The change in the standard terms and conditions was first used by Ryanair but has now been followed by Norwegian, easyjet and British Airways. Unless the Civil Aviation Authority act other airlines will follow suit reducing the possibility of pursuing a claim effectively.
These contractual conditions should be prohibited so the public right to seek help is restored.
Flight Delay Pay is a team of travel and legal professionals with vast knowledge and many years of experience working with European Passenger Rights. We work with airlines and passengers all over the world and take on claims up to 6 years back. If you think your claim fits within the eu261 regulations then claim with us now! Let us take the strain and handle your claim. No win, no fee!