Flight delays are one of the most frustrating elements of either setting off on holiday or when you are about to head home after a trip. Previously British travellers were afforded protection under EU law; fortunately, under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 UK travellers continue to benefit from these protections. The current legislation, known as UK261, requires airlines inform their customers about cancellations and, under certain circumstances, allow customers to claim compensation for cancellations or delays.
UK261 applies where a passenger is:-
- departing from a UK airport; or
- departing from an airport outside the UK to an airport situated in:
- the UK if the airline is either an EU or UK carrier; or
- the EU if the airline is a UK air carrier.
Additionally UK261 requires:
- There is a confirmed reservation on the flight,
- The passenger has checked in at the correct time, or no later than 45 minutes before the published departure time,
- The passenger was not travelling for free, or on reduced fares not available to the public (frequent flyer passengers will however qualify)
Where flights are cancelled the level of compensation will vary according to the length of the flight, with greater distances attracting larger financial awards.
Compensation for delays can be separated into the following categories:-
- Short-haul flights under 1500km will result in compensation of £220 for delays over 3 hours,
- Medium haul flights between 1500km and 3500km equals £350 for delays over 3 hours, and
- Long-haul flights over 3500km, , delayed over 4 hours will result in compensation of £520
Airlines can of course defend themselves against claims but crucially, they cannot avoid paying compensation by reason of staff sickness – including Covid. In the case of Lipton v BA City Flyer (Court of Appeal) the court commented that “staff illness, and the need to accommodate such illness on a daily basis, is commonplace for any business. It is a mundane fact of commercial life: it is in no way out of the ordinary.”
If you are eligible for compensation you must make your claim against the airline you travelled with. If you are not satisfied with their response the matter can be reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.
As a Scots law firm with experience in handling compensation claims Jackson Boyd is well placed to support those travellers whose flight to or from Scotland has been delayed or cancelled.. If you would like to discuss a claim further, call us today and we can discuss your eligibility for a claim and the likely award you may be entitled to receive.