TravelTek

Published on Thursday, October 12, 2017

Emirates loses court case over missed flight delay compensation




A court has ruled that Emirates must pay compensation to a customer who missed a connecting flight outside of the EU and was delayed by more than three hours.

The Court of Appeal ruling came after intervention by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which said it was a 'victory for consumers' and provides clarity for both consumers and airlines.

It means passengers of non-EU airlines, who are delayed on the first leg of a flight, which causes them to miss a connecting flight and, as a result, arrive at their final destination at least three hours late, can claim compensation of up to €600, even if the final destination is outside the EU.

The decision opens the floodgates to thousands of passengers who might have previously had their claim refused.

The CAA estimates around 200,000 passengers a year are affected, but not all non-EU airlines are paying out.

"If a passenger has already had a claim rejected, we advise them to contact their airline and ask for the case to be reassessed," said a spokesman.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: "The Court of Appeal's ruling could not be clearer and is fantastic news for passengers, who can now demand airlines pay them the compensation they are entitled to when they miss a connecting flight.

"This ruling sends a clear message to Emirates and the other airlines that have used protracted legal processes to prolong their refusal to give consumers their legal entitlement.

"Any flight disruption is frustrating but delays that cause passengers to miss a connecting flight have a particularly damaging effect on people's travel plans.

"For a family of four this compensation could be worth as much as €2,400 and we will not hesitate to take further action if airlines fail to comply."

CAA has now written to Emirates urging it to accept the judgment.

A statement for Emirates said it was 'very disappointed' by the decision and is currently seeking legal advice on its options.

"As one of the world's largest airlines, we have always complied rigorously with all legal requirements and regulations as set by the relevant authorities and these findings today will not impact this commitment," it said.

Emirates was one of five airlines subjected to CAA enforcement action earlier this year over their failure to comply with missed connections.

Turkish Airlines has since begun to comply and is now compensating passengers for missed connections.

The CAA has also written to the other three airlines - American Airlines, Etihad and Singapore Airlines - to ensure they comply with the ruling immediately.

The Court of Appeal reached its judgment in the joined cases of Gahan v Emirates and Buckley v Emirates.

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