Right to compensation for delayed flight

A couple of months ago my other half arrived at 6am at Toulouse to fly Easyjet to Gatwick. The flight was delayed and at one point staff assumed it would be cancelled. As he flies each week for work and Easyjet could not say how long the flight delay would be (though as it was a technical issue it would be more than a couple of hours at least...)he decided to switch to the BA flight which cost a small fortune but at least he was able to get to work that day.

The Easyjet flight finally took off and landed almost 6 hours late (which would have cost him a whole days work and cancelled meetings) and therefore I believe he should be entitled to EU compensation of 250 euro. However Easyjet are offering only 42 euro the cost of the single flight.

Our costs for the change of hire car (due to arriving at Heathrow, cost of BA flight and loss of half a days revenue) amount to significantly more than the 250 euro so we are not easily settling for 42 euro!

Easyjet have now come back saying that because he didn't actually take the delayed flight and chose to switch to an alternative airline he is not entitled to EU compensation. They are offering a very woolly (all airlines have this policy) statement but have not demonstrated where in the conditions this is actually stated - nor can I find evidence of this on the passenger rights pages.

Does anyone else have experience of this or can point me in the direction of what law I should be stating to fight the case with Easyjet. We are significantly out of pocket and I want to try to reclaim the full compensation amount. Alternatively If it's a hopeless cause then I'd be grateful if you are able to help me see this so I don't waste too much of my life on it...

One to bear in mind next week if the French ATC go on strike again!

So I've challenged Easyjet with a number of attempts, letters and emails. As my hubby didn't wait and fly he is only entitled to the refund. We also tried his travel insurance but they only cover if it is actually cancelled which it wasn't in the end (despite saying it was a possibility).

So the moral of the story, one which we have learnt to our expense is that it is better to sit and wait so that as a minimum you are entitled to the EU compensation. The fact that he booked an alternative flight and did not actually fly with Easyjet on the delayed flight meant that they were no longer required to pay him the EU required compensation and his travel insurance were also able to steer clear of a payout.

Another important point to note is to check the updated terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy - we hadn't bothered reading the last couple of years updates (yes I know but with 3 small children and busy lives there are other priority things to do). He thought it was covered as it had been a few years previously but then found it wasn't.

So we ended up in the worst scenario...late and having paid on the day for an expensive BA flight and a change of hire car pick up. He should have just twiddled his thumbs and apologised to work!

I still think you may find things easier if you have travel insurance and make claims for the other flight and car hire via them.

It is worth noting that as the flight was delayed more than FIVE hours, EasyJet should have offered rerouting pursuant to section 8.1 of EU 261.

If it was the UK, if insurance didn't pay up, then a claim via small claims court would be the answer. Does that exist in France?


Suzanne here is what I found in the news today it is in French (sorry)

Pour aider les voyageurs, l’association UFC Que Choisir a donc mis en place lundi un site internet, Indemnit’Air, afin de faire valoir leurs droits. Le service en ligne prend ainsi en charge les démarches des consommateurs qui voudraient se faire dédommager. "Le consommateur s’inscrit en quelques minutes seulement sur le site quechoisir.org et renseigne les éléments sur le vol concerné. Après examen de la recevabilité de son dossier, il est invité à transmettre ses pièces à l’UFC-Que Choisir, qui assure pour son compte les démarches amiables, et éventuellement contentieuses, en vue d’obtenir le dédommagement qui lui est dû", précise l’association.

Une indemnisation prévue par l’Union européenne

Ce service est accessible gratuitement à tous les consommateurs qui auraient connu un problème de vol depuis moins de deux ans pour les retards ou moins de cinq ans pour les annulations ou surréservations. A noter également qu’en cas de remboursement, une participation de 25% du prix sera reversée pour les frais de l’association.

"L’Union européenne prévoit une indemnisation comprise entre 250 et 600 euros en cas de retards de vol, surbooking ou annulation. L’indemnité varie en fonction de la distance et de la durée du retard", rappelle l’UFC Que Choisir. A ce prix-là, ça peut valoir le coup !

Haha, yes good point. I was once kept waiting nearly 40 hours at Kuala Lumpur. They said that compensation would be given against evidence of lost earnings or seriously affected health. They also added that hotel rooms are given only when a second night without a flight is ascertained. That was Quantas who in those days had a reputation for being one of the most generous and friendly airlines. Could have fooled me. The piece of paper they handed out with that information was legally watertight. Anybody demanding an alternative flight with another company lost every entitlement to any kind of claim even if they lost money, etc. I doubt much of that has changed, if anything it is all probably far more watertight.

Maybe. Probably not, as you would need a lawyer to show how much damage the airline has caused to you, additionally the law very conveniently fails to state a) how long the airline has to supply the replacement transportation, b) what kind of transportation it should be c) what happens when you decide to take another flight.

Please read between the lines:-)

Maybe I am naïve, but I do not think the government would impose the rules just because it can. Please read the preamble. Besides there are two things at play here:
(1) frequency and quality of aircraft maintenance is under full airline control - this means maintenance issues during operation are due to lack of proper maintenance;
(2) those who make money on economic activity should pay for damages caused by their activity failures;
(3) the airline many a time has the choice to supply replacement transportation and it is their choice, based on their economic calculus, to fail to perform and inconvenience their clients because it benefits them - the Reg 261 is ment that alter that calculus on many fronts.

For what it's worth, the aeroport staff I've worked with say that Easy Jet and Ryan Air compensate according to the contract you sign with them (the little box you tick when buying your ticket online) and NO more. It's the reason why they never use either carrier for business, or if they have a connecting flight.

In your husband's case it appears that a refund is all he's entitled to http://assistance.easyjet.com/case-4839

An airline is only responsible for a delay caused to you IF you fly with them. Like I said previously you can contact the CAA, as I did once, but do not hold your breath.

I am not a lawyer but I can read and understand some. I agree with you that the airline is responsible for damages in general. It means that their delay did cause you damages they are liable. In general one is expected to minimize their damages IF POSSIBLE. You did just that by purchasing the alternate transportation. You minimized the cost of business disruptions. This is under general law principles. If you get the EU Commission flyer titled: Passenger Rights - it does state that airline is responsible for damages.
The Reg. 261 compensation does not replace airlines general liability for damages. As stated in the preamble to the rules Reg. 261 is generally to encourage the airlines to stop its behavior of treating passengers as cash cows. On the other hand please look at the Section 12 of the preamble – it clearly suggests an argument that the airline should have arranged for the alternate transport (which you were forced to do yourself).
It appears that the Reg 261 does not require a passenger to continue being delayed by waiting for the flight to actually take off. Arguably the airlines statement that it will cancel the flight is sufficient to trigger the Art 7 payment without actually waiting until it is too late to take another flight. The fact that the airline changed its mind and the original flight did take off, but some hours latter, is immaterial; or at best the actual delay can be utilized to determine the amount of compensation.
Continue your effort and write to both national enforcement agencies:
in France (http://www.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/)
Direction générale de l’aviation civile
Direction du transport aérien
Mission du Droit des passagers
Bureau des passagers aériens
50 rue Henry Farman
FR- 75720 Paris cedex 15.

One of them might take up the case.
and in UK (http://www.auc.org.uk/) ([Enforcement]
Civil Aviation Authority
CAA House
45-59 Kingsway
Tel. : +44 20 7379 7311
Fax : +44 20 7944 2190

If I were to bet - I would go with UK - as the spirit of law is interpreted in this common law country. In France letter of the law is enforced and not its spirit. I am not putting down France - I know much worst between EU countries in that respect.

I think you did well to get compensation as from what you say the problem was not directly under the control of the airline.

Do you have a travel insurance policy? You might be able to claim the car hire change on that one.

A couple of years back, I was on a Thomas Cook flight from Gambia back to the UK.

Somewhere over northern Morocco, the woman in the seat behind me had a "funny turn" and the nurse (passenger) that was summoned, declared that her life was in danger and that she should be immediately hospitalised.

The plane immediately did a 180 degree turn and landed at Casablanca. (I thought that Malaga in Spain would have been a better idea but what do I know!!)

The woman was removed from the plane. But it was then discovered that there was a "technical problem" and the plane could not take off again. Everyone was disembarked into the terminal. 250 very annoyed people were now left milling about in the now deserted building (it was very late).

It was then seen that the crew were being put on a bus to be taken to a city hotel. No plan was made about what to do with the passengers. It was on the verge of getting "ugly".

I spotted that one of the passengers was a Thomas Cook official from the Banjul office. She had sold me my ticket. Eventually, she was persuaded by "the mob" to unload the luggage and organise hotel rooms for the passengers.

Two hours of coach travel around Casablanca then ensued, and eventually everyone was found rooms. A number of single passengers like myself had to forcefully demand SINGLE rooms.

In the morning, the woman who caused all the problems was spotted in a hotel reception, casually smoking a cigarette!

As Casablanca is not a Thomas Cook destination, the "parts" to fix the plane, and the engineers, had to be flown in on a diverted Thomas Cook Canaries flight.

The flight finally left and arrived in the UK 24 hours later. This caused me no end of problems relating to getting home to France.

I was denied any compensation.

In November 2013 I once managed to get the 250 euro compensation from Hop! (Air France). I did have to fight for it, three email exchanges I think. I referred to and quoted the appropriate articles and paragraphs in the EU directive, and politely but firmly insisted.

Background: One hour after scheduled departure time, 07:00, they decided to cancel the early morning flight Aurillac-Orly, because the de-icing machine did not work. They offered three alternatives: bus transport to Brive and 11:00 flight from there to Orly, bus transport to Clermont and flight to CDG, or money back. I took the first alternative, arrival a Orly was, finally, 4 hours later than originally planned arrival time. I did not miss my connection, so that part was ok; no extra costs for me.

I tend to agree with Brian, extremely frustating and the cheapie airlines do seem very good at wiggling out of compensation. I travel on business regulally and no longer use ryanair or easy jet because of their inflexible attitude toflks to have to be somewhere on time, I now use the likes of hob, BMIbaby or stick with AF because at,east they will re-route you

Makes no difference to the airline EU compensation rules just the same.

Over the years I had a couple of these, especially Easyjet delays at Stansted for usually good reasons like heavy fog. However, with an appointment in Geneva the same day twice I found alternatives. Because I did not wait until it left or was cancelled but travelled with another flight I lost my compensation claim. I fight tooth and nail on these things but then got nowhere. However, once at LHR the check in desk diverted me to another company, who I had to pay of course, but having done so the original airline reimbursed me my ticket plus the difference, although no compensation on top of that. I think the chances of getting compensation will be outweighed by the time, effort and possibly cost of pursuing it.

I take on board what you have said. I do not fly anymore because I find it too stressful to have stuff confiscated by idiots and to be treated like an animal. When I go back to Scotland I drive and it is quite expensive to do a 4000 km. round trip including the ferry and cabin. However, when I am in my car I am in total control for most of the time.

With the budget airlines one sacrifices free-will in exchange for a flight that might cost as little as 40 euros. All the budget airlines are operating on very fine margins and that does not allow for generous compensation to delayed passengers. Not having spare aircraft, crews that have gone over their time and all this sort of stuff is why your ticket is so cheap. It is because they are operating very close to the wind.

Your cheap ticket, bought well in advance is possible because these airlines are running very tight.

I feel that one has to accept the occasional disruption as part of the deal. If it were Iberia or Air France involved then I would go for the compensation because the tickets are dear and they will pay if the claim is just.

Thanks Catharine, much appreciated. I think next time it happens I will tell him to twiddle his thumbs , apologise lots to his client and stay at the airport. It's a hassle I could do without, but if there's a chance of getting the 250 back we really could do with it.