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Delays and compensation.

Old 14th Sep 2010, 12:28
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: slightly left of you
Age: 39
Posts: 362
Delays and compensation.

Just thought i'd dabble in a forum i've never been to before but i'm sure there must be some knowledgeable people who can help me out.

Flew back from france the other day. On check in I was told that there would be a delay to the flight of approx 45 mins as the flight was late inbound from the UK (Uk operator and the return portion of an out and return booking). Fine delays happen.

When we go to the gate for the expected boarding time a PA is made saying that the aircraft had arrived however there would be a further 30 min delay as the aircraft needed a technical inspection. This is an hour after the original scheduled departure time.

30 mins after the annoucement is made the gate staff just walk off (so approx 1 hr 30 mins after original scheduled departure time) . No representative of the ground handling agent to be found anywhere in the terminal until approx 3hrs30 mins after original scheduled departure time. This time one person turns up and says plane's been fixed, we'll be boarding in 15 mins. Which we do.

So from original departure time to boarding the a/c was 3hrs45 mins.

Then eventually captain comes on apologizes for delay explains the reason of the technical problem all fixed etc etc and we would be getting going asap.

After departure cabin crew start service and say everyone would be entitled to a free soft drink. (yay)

Anyhoo here's the question.

Reading the european regulations i'm lead to believe that for a delay of this kind we would be entitled to meals, 2 free phone calls drinks and compensation of 250 euros. We were offered nothing apart from the 1 free soft drink onboard, and no representatives of the ground handling company anywhere to be found to ask questions.

However I'ver also heard that the UK high court has refered the case of compensation back to the european court of justice.

But i'm also lead to believe if i get know joy from the airline then i'm likely to need to persue it in country of departure (france)

Anyone have any suggestions pointers and a french equivalant of the air transport users council.

Like i said i'll be writing to the airline involved but i doubt i'll get any joy. so just trying to work out what to do after.

Cheers for the info.
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Old 14th Sep 2010, 16:45
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Confoederatio Helvetica
Age: 64
Posts: 2,846
It's complicated


I don't have a copy of EC261 at my fingertips but I can say the following;

As written the regulation does NOT provide for compensation in case of delays, regardless of the length. It does require the airline provide 'care' in the form of food, beverages and hotac (if an overnight stay is required).

The regulation provides that compensation is payable only for 'denied-boarding' and cancellation of the flight.

If you bought any food/drinks, (and kept your receipts) the airline could refund you - but there is a small 'get-out-of-gaol-free' card here - they don't have to provide food/beverages if doing so would exacerbate the delay (by everyone leaving the gate area to find food/drinks).

Now, I said it was complicated.

A couple of passengers on LONG delayed flights sued their airlines and lost, they appealed and lost and kept on appealing and losing (as I said, the regulation clearly does not provide for compensation in case of delays) but finally the highest court, the European Court of Justice ruled that following the principle of consistent treatment they interpreted the regulation as providing for compensation in some cases. As I mentioned these two cases involved delays of more than 24 hours and the court said they had suffered as much as they would have, had their flight been cancelled.

But the court did not 'rewrite' the regulation, they only interpreted it, and nobody actually knows when/how/under what circumstances compensation is now payable for delays.

A number of UK airlines took the CAA (the UK's regulator) to the UK high court arguing that the legislators (i.e. The EC, the EP and the Council) had considered compensation for delays and rejected it. They argued that the role of the ECJ is not to create legislation, but to interpret it. (Had the ECJ found the regulation to be faulty they should have sent it back to the regulators to amend it)

The High Court decided that there was enough grounds to send this back to the ECJ and has suspended the CAA (and AUC which is part of the CAA) from applying the ECJ's ruling until they reconsider their original ruling.

Sorry for such a long story but I would say that in your case the delay was not significant enough to qualify under the ECJ's vague ruling. However if you want a go you can find all of the NEBs, including France's here.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

Last edited by ExXB; 14th Sep 2010 at 17:25. Reason: typo
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