Passengers whose flights are delayed by three hours or more should be entitled to compensation from airlines, according to a senior European Court of Justice (ECJ) official.
Passengers are entitled to compensation if their flights
are delayed by three hours or more, but a legal challenge by airlines has seen
claims put on hold
Yves Bot, an ECJ advocate general, has opposed a joint
legal challenge by British Airways, easyJet, Tui Travel and the International
Air Transport Association to compensation rules introduced in November 2009.
Although his statement does not amount to a legal ruling,
the ECJ is expected to make a binding decision on the challenge in the coming
Under current regulations passengers flying to or from an
EU, Swiss, Norwegian or Icelandic airport, or with an EU, Swiss, Norwegian or
Icelandic-based airline, are entitled to meals and refreshments and free
telephone calls or emails if their flight is delayed by three hours or more.
They are also entitled to compensation of between £200 and
£480, depending on the distance of the flights. However, airlines do not have
to pay compensation if they can prove the delay is not their fault, and has
been caused by “extraordinary circumstances”.
A spokesman for BA said: “We are aware of today's
non-binding opinion given by the advocate general and we await the final ruling
in due course.
“The European Court of Justice ruling from November 2009
has come under criticism from many parties and we also believe the ruling was
Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel's consumer correspondent,
suggested that even if the ruling is upheld, a sudden change in what passengers
are entitled to claim is unlikely.
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