Compensation For Flight Delays
Probably Sturgeon versus Condor and Bock & Others versus Air France isn’t on your bedtime reading list but if you fly you should be aware of them. A European Court of Justice ruling on Thursday confirmed that if your flight is delayed 3 hours or more you are entitled to compensation. Although there are 73 clauses in the judgement it can be summarised fairly easily. But the interpretation wrapped around the words still requires you to probably seek expert guidance.
Up until now, you were allowed compensation if a flight had been cancelled. This ruling now also means that if the flight is delayed by more than 2 or 3 hours you will have the right to
2 free telephone calls,
free meals and refreshments that are appropriate to the delay length, (so don’t necessarily expect a full dinner if you’re just delayed in the morning for example.)
free hotel stay if the delay occurs during the night
a refund if it lasts more than 5 hours.
In certain cases, compensation will be paid after 2 hours provide the flight is under 1,500 kilometres
There is also another feature of the ruling that is important. Compensation is only payable if it is not caused by extraordinary circumstances. Some airlines have said in the past that a technical problem is just that. The court has said this cannot be the case provided that the technical fault is almost an inherent one. So a faulty light causing the pilot to stay on the ground will result in compensation if it takes longer than 2 or 3 hours (depending on the distance of the flight) to repair.