Monday 18 December 2017

What am I due if my flight gets delayed?

Q How do I claim for a flight delay?

A With some airlines, you can claim via their websites - but others reject this. They maintain, incorrectly, that a delayed flight does not qualify for compensation. If you are having trouble send a recorded delivery letter outlining your claim to the airline's head office. Some may ignore your request or invent excuses such as an imaginary 28-day limit on claims.

If you make no progress, approach the "national enforcement body" of the country where the delay took place; see bit.ly/261claim.

There are a few get-out clauses. If an airport is closed because of snow, then the airline is excused compensation.

Airlines have claimed the "exceptional circumstances" exemption for technical problems, weather and strikes, but have lost ground on all three in the courts.

The EU261 code lays down lays down a tariff of cash compensation due to passengers of €250 for flights of up to 1,500km (Dublin-Berlin or shorter), €400 for a flight between 1,500 and 3,500km (eg Dublin-Athens) and €600 for over 3,500km.

Case law has taken interesting turns. One in 2009 held that delays over three hours qualify for the same payments as a cancelled flight. For three years, claims were "stayed" while this was tested by the European Court of Justice

Remember, the journey must have begun in the EU, or been on an airline based in the EU.

Code-share flights operated by a non-European airline don't count.

Send questions to ecorry@herald.ie

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