Flight Delayed 3+ Hours? EU passengers now get refunds

According to last Friday’s Irish Times newspaper, the European Court of Justice has ruled airline passengers are entitled to a REFUND if their flights have been delayed for 3 or more hours. Good news for travelers in the European Union, but passengers here in the U.S.A. should not expect to receive similar judgments for their delayed flights anytime soon.

It was reported “The Luxembourg-based court said it would be unfair to treat passengers suffering delays of more than three hours differently to those who had flights canceled.

Under existing EU rules, passengers on canceled flights can seek as much as €600 in compensation and/or expenses incurred, as well as a ticket refund, depending on traveling distance when their flight is canceled or delayed by over five hours

Airlines frequently do their utmost to avoid paying compensation, particularly to passengers who experience for long delays.

The European Court said airlines were only exempt from paying compensation if they could prove the delay was “due to exceptional circumstances” outside of the company’s control. It stressed that a technical problem could not be considered as an exceptional circumstance unless it followed an incident unconnected with the normal running of an airline, such as an aircraft being sabotaged.

“Passengers on a flight which is canceled at short notice have a right to compensation, even when they are rerouted by the airline on another flight, if they lose three hours or more in relation to the duration originally planned,” the ruling said. “There is no justification for treating passengers whose flight is delayed any differently when they reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time.”

The ruling has been welcomed by Ireland’s representative on the European Parliament transport committee, Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins. He said the ruling “was a victory for the ordinary traveling public.”

For more information on your rights and remedies as an airline passenger, please contact us through our website: www.bdhlaw.net

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Reinhard von Hennigs