Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Compensation: Airlines threatened with legal action

Three of some of the biggest airlines could end up in court if they fail to 'shape up' over flight delay claims. Legal action could soon be taken against the airlines Jet2, Wizz Air and Aer Lingus who are not abiding by consumer law. This threat comes as the above airlines fail in the handling of passengers affected by flight disruption. As well as failing to alter their policies despite extensive discussions, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The CAA, has claimed that both Jet2 and Wizz Air have "failed to satisfy the regulator that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults, despite a Court of Appeal ruling clarifying that airlines must do so."

In addition to this, the CAA has also claimed that the same two airlines are also imposing a 2 year time limit on passengers who wish to take a compensation claim to court. This is despite the Court of Appeal ruling that passengers should receive up to 6 years in order to make a claim in court.

Further failures also exist with Jet2 and Aer Lingus who have failed to give satisfactory evidence that they 'proactively' provide passengers with information regarding their rights when disruption occurs. The information provided to customers regarding flight disruption should be in line with the requirements set out in the European regulation.

If these airlines fail to comply, the CAA will launch enforcement action and will seek a court order against them. However, Jet2 have suggested that these claims are 'materially inaccurate' and that "Jet.com is paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults in line with the landmark Huzar ruling and have already confirmed this to the CAA." Compensation received by passengers is up to 400 euros (£289) per a person, with the average fare equating to £80.

In addition to this a spokeswoman added, "Airlines are entitled to limit to two years the period in which claims can be made by contractual limitations and these have been upheld by the court on a number of occasions. Jet2.com strictly abides by court decisions and is acting in accordance with the law, not contrary to it. No enforcement action has been taken. The CAA is obligated to consult with Jet2.com before considering enforcement action. This process has not started. Given the misapprehensions of the CAA, Jet2.com expects that following the mandatory consultation process the CAA will not wish to take the matter any further."

This failure to comply with consumer law comes as passengers who suffer with long delays bare witness to airlines employing various tactics in order to avoid paying out compensation. Rather than airlines admitting to a technical fault, many passengers will receive a letter stating that the delay was caused by a 'hidden manufacturing defect'. Others have argued that they are simply ignored by airlines who fail to give a response.

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to £465 in compensation if their flights lands more than 3 hours late. However, claims cannot be made due to 'extraordinary circumstances' such as bad weather or crew strikes.

Prior to this change, airlines would refuse to pay out for delays caused by a technical fault. However last year, 2 Supreme Court rulings and a 6 year legal battles opened the floodgates to 2 million holidaymakers to make claims. As a result, the court declared that airlines should pay out when a delay is caused by a technical fault. This change could see airlines fitting a bill of around £3.89 billion for cases dating back 6 years.

If your thinking of making a claim for a delayed or cancelled flight, MTA Solicitors can help you! At MTA Solicitors we have experts in travel compensation who can help put things in motion for you. Know your rights and get refunded. We work on a No Win No Fee basis for flight compensation claims.

To find out more simply visit us online today or call us on 0208 313 7804 to speak with a member of our civil litigation team.

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