The High Court has issued a second ruling extending air passengers’ rights to compensation for flight delays, this time on how long a passenger has to bring a claim.
The Court ruled this morning in favour of a claim brought by James Dawson against Thomson Airways, confirming delay claims can go back six years.
Dawson submitted a claim for compensation in December 2012 for a delay on a Thomson flight from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic almost six years earlier.
A Cambridge County Court found in his favour and awarded him £975. The airline appealed, arguing the Montreal Convention, an international agreement which covers carriers’ liability for injuries or lost baggage, limits claims to two years and should override the European regulation.
The ruling will further extend airlines’ liabilities under the European air passenger rights regulation (EC 261/2004) following the recent judgment against Jet2.com and extend the backlog of claims carriers face.
Thomson Airlines expressed surprise at the ruling and said it would appeal.
In a statement, the carrier said: “We believe it is reasonable to expect those who perceive they have suffered a real loss as a result of an unfortunate delay should be able to make their claim within two years.
“We also continue to believe that the law stipulates this and we are therefore surprised by today’s judgment.
“If unchallenged, this judgment could have a significant impact on the entire airline industry and specifically upon the price that all air travellers would need to pay for their flights.
“We therefore confirm that it is our intention to seek an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
In the Huzar v Jet2 earlier this month the Court of Appeal ruled a technical fault which causes a delay could not be classed as an “extraordinary circumstance” and carriers would still have to pay compensation.
Lawyers for both consumers and carriers agree the judgments will “open the floodgates” for air passengers to seek compensation for delays.
Law firm Bott and Co described the Jet2 judgment alone as “worth an estimated £4 billion to air passengers”.
Wilmslow-based law firm Bott & Co represented the claimants in both cases.
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