The Court of Appeal have granted permission in the case of Lipton & Lipton v BA City Flyer to decide whether an airline has to pay compensation to passengers when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to a crew member going sick.
Under European Regulation EC 261/2004 passenger are entitled compensation of up to 600 euros depending on the distance of the flight if the flight was delayed over 3 hours or cancelled altogether. The airlines however do not have to pay compensation where the delay was caused by “extraordinary circumstances that no reasonable measures could have avoided”. This has been the subject of much litigation over the years. Typically normal technical faults with the aircraft means that airlines have to pay compensation. Whereas if the plane is hit by a bird and the airline can show that they used all reasonable measures, such as having adequate contingency planning, then they can escape having to pay the compensation. However there has been no binding ruling on whether a crew member going sick provides an escape clause for the airlines.
Hayward Baker are representing Mr and Mrs Lipton in the appeal arising out of a flight they took in 2018 which was delayed. The appeal will provide a binding decision in England and Wales on the issue. Managing Director Keith Hayward commented that; “We have been fighting the airlines for years to make sure that they take their consumer responsibilities seriously. It is our experience that they will try and use as many tricks as they can to try and get out of paying compensation to consumers who have suffered inconvenience which can sometimes be quite stressful for the passengers involved. We have defeated the arguments raised on this issue many times however the airlines never seem to want to appeal the decisions which go against them. One can only surmise why this is but it is most likely because the airlines know that if they appeal a decision to a court that gives a binding authority on the issue it will cost them more in the long run. This forces consumers to have to keep fighting the same old battles at court time and time again and is not a good use of the Court’s time either. Luckily enough we were in a position to appeal this decision which went against the passenger and so will now able to put this issue to bed for all consumers”.
No hearing date has been set yet but it is likely to be in early 2021.
If you have had a flight delayed over 3 hours or your flight cancelled in the past 6 years then please visit our Flight Compensation page to see if you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation. It is always recommended that you first request this from the airline however many times you will simply be ignored or told that they are not paying. If this happens then it is always worth enquiring as we work on a no win no fee agreement.
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