Court of Appeal ruling clarifies air passenger rights on claiming compensation for disrupted flights

Published on : Friday, June 20, 2014

download-221The UK Civil Aviation Authority  welcomes the clarification today’s  Court of Appeal ruling brings to the issue of how far back passengers can go when claiming compensation for disrupted flights.The judgment in the Thomson v Dawson case means that passengers have a maximum of six years to take their compensation case to court.


Thomson had argued that a two year limitation on claims should apply, based on the limits included in the Montreal Convention.


However, the Court of Appeal ruled that EC261/2004[2] – the European regulation covering passenger rights during disruption – is separate from the Montreal Convention. This means that passengers can refer compensation claims to the courts for flights going back six years, which is the maximum length of time that courts in England and Wales will allow before cases are barred from being brought.

The judgment reaffirms the CAA’s view that passengers can pursue compensation claims through the courts for flights from up to six years ago. However, the CAA generally advises passengers that do wish to claim compensation for a disrupted flight to lodge their claim as soon after the flight as possible. This means both the passenger and airline will be able to access the information about the flight they need more easily.

Thomson has indicated it will seek permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, so there may be further developments on this issue. Passengers should be aware that this might lead to a delay in airlines processing their claims.

Today’s judgment follows a Court of Appeal ruling in the Jet2 v Huzar case on Wednesday 11 June that meant ordinary technical faults should not be considered as extraordinary circumstances.



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