Mr and Mrs Lipton were flying with BA City flyer when their flight was cancelled. BA City Flyer denied having to pay compensation arguing that the cancellation was because of a pilot calling in sick and so Hayward Baker were instructed to bring a claim for compensation under Regulation EC 261/2004.
Hayward Baker represented the passengers at the first county court hearing where the Deputy District Judge found in favour of the airline and held that the pilot going sick was an extraordinary circumstance. Our firm had won this point numerous other times and the airlines had never once appealed any of those decisions, no doubt because it suited them to continue to litigate the same issue in the lower courts rather than get a binding decision which could open the flood gates to them having to pay out compensation on thousands of cases. As such Hayward Baker appealed the decision all the way to the Court of Appeal.
It is the first case in Europe that has looked at the issue of crew sickness when assessing whether an airline has to pay compensation to inconvenienced passengers under the passenger rights Regulation EC 261/2004 in nearly two decades of case law.
The panel was made up of Lord Justice Coulson, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Lord Justice Green. LJ Coulson gave the lead opinion and held:
“29. […] The non- attendance of the captain due to illness was an inherent part of the respondent’s activity and operations as an air carrier, and could in no way be categorised as extraordinary.
30. Staff illness, and the need to accommodate such illness on a daily basis, is a commonplace for any business. It is a mundane fact of commercial life: it is in no way out of the ordinary.”
The decision paves the way for thousands of cases to be reassessed.
In England and Wales the time frame for bringing a claim is 6 years from the date of the flight so passengers are urged to approach the airlines and seek their compensation. If the airline has previously refused to pay due to a crew related issue then consumers should check again with the airlines and if that fails to seek help from a firm like Hayward Baker who will be able to assist.
Free Eligibility Check
If your flight has been disrupted due to a delay or cancellation you may have the potential to make a claim under the EU Regulation 261/2004 for compensation. This could be upto €600 per person. Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 983 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a claim.
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