A county court has refused to let an airline put compensation for a late flight on hold pending the outcome of a case in the Netherlands.
District Judge Lee Jenkinson, sitting in Liverpool, said Jet2.com should pay €400 compensation to passenger Kim Allen after a 'spontaneous' fault with an aircraft caused her flight to be delayed, rather than wait for the outcome of the Dutch case Van der Lans v KLM.
The judge added that passengers feel they are on an ‘airline-driven merry-go-round that shows no signs of stopping’.
Other airlines had delayed paying compensation to passengers until the outcome of the Allen case, but they are likely to accept it as a test case and will now start to reimburse claimants.
North-west firm Bott & Co, which is representing Allen, says it had 8,000 similar cases waiting on the decision, although it expects another legal challenge from the airline.
Kevin Clarke, flight delay lawyer, said: ‘We’ve seen continual legal challenges to the finer details of flight delay regulation by the airlines since it was first introduced and it’s pleasing the court is now taking a firm line against them.
‘We would hope that the airlines will now finally face up to their obligations to passengers and to settle the hundreds of thousands of legitimate claims outstanding.’
A European Union regulation entitles passengers to claim flight compensation of up to €600 per person if they reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time.
The flight in question must be leaving an EU country or landing in an EU country on an EU airline. Consumers have up to six years from the date of the flight to make a claim.
The Allen case was a continuation of a long battle between claimant firms and airlines over compensation payments.
Allen’s case was originally stayed pending last year’s Huzar v Jet2.com case in which Court of Appeal judges ruled that technical problems were not an extraordinary circumstance and should be subject to compensation. The stay on her case was initially lifted after Ron Huzar’s victory but Jet2 made an application to stay Allen’s claim again.
This time it wanted to put the case on hold pending the outcome of the Dutch hearing Van der Lans, which has been referred to the European Court of Justice.
A spokesman for Jet2.com said the company is considering its response.