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Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

Birmingham, United...
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Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

Hi all,

I flew a year ago to Mexico from the UK. My flight was delayed by over 24 hours. I sought compensation from the airline. After one year and 3 weeks they replied with this. What should be my next step? I don't care about the flight delay compensation, as much as recovering money that I lost by making a second booking for an internal flight in Mexico and losing one night at my hotel. Any advice would be appreciated. This is their response -

Now that we've received your correspondence, we've looked in detail at the circumstances that surround your experience. So let's look at the specific cause of your delay.

We've looked in detail at the circumstances that surround your experience and I can see from our internal airline reports that the aircraft experienced unforeseen technical issues with the engine. The aircraft was on the ground due to a flap slat Electrical defect. Despite multiple attempts from the engineering team the aircraft remained unserviceable for the majority of the day. At 12.00 the decision was made to move the flight to a non-premium B763 aircraft. This meant a complete re-cater and an estimated departure of 16.30. Due to the length of delay, however, this required a new crew and despite best endeavours we could not get another crew to operate the flight. The decision was therefore made to night stop the flight and operate the following day.

As confirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") in the judgment on Nelson v Lufthansa and C629/10 TUI, British Airways, EasyJet and IATA v United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, the question whether a specific delay triggers an obligation to pay a proscribed amount of compensation pursuant to Article 7 of the Regulation requires consideration as to whether the long delay is a result of extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. It's important to note that the "all reasonable measures" test applies to the occurrence of the EC not the delay that may have been its effect.

Plainly speaking, a small number of passengers may be entitled to compensation for a delay that results in those passengers reaching their destination airport in excess of three hours after their ticketed arrival time. However, if the cause of the delay was not the airline's fault (i.e. the result of Extraordinary Circumstances), there is no requirement to pay that compensation.

The definition of what amounts to "Extraordinary Circumstances" is given in paragraph 14 of the preamble of the Regulation, which states:

".obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier."

In case of your flight, the cause of the delay an "unexpected flight safety shortcoming" arising from the discovery of a technical defect or failure of a part.

Maintenance of the fleet of aircraft is conducted to some of the highest standards in the world. It's another area that we take extremely seriously as it affects safety, cost and on-time performance. Our approach is to have a regime that results in a schedule of assessment, service and part replacement which is significantly better than the manufacturer's recommendations.

It is clear that failure of a part outside of its life expectancy is not inherent in the operation of an air carrier and is actually quite unusual.

As a result of this part failure, repairs had to be made to aircraft before it could leave the hangar, and this resulted in an unexpected delay to your flight.

As these circumstances were entirely unexpected and outside of our control, there is no entitlement for compensation for the delay.

UK
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1. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

You will need to do some research... but I believe there have been rulings that technical problems with the aircraft do not come under "extraordinary circumstances".

I am having a similar issue at the moment and have been advised (by a relative with a law degree) that I should sue the airline in my local county court (using what is known as the Small Claims Track)

uk
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2. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

It seems to me that they have already put together a firm case that the delay was due to an extraordinary fault - and therefore you are not entitled to compensation.

If you wish you could go to the small claims court and try to prove that the part failure was not extraordinary.

One of the issues with buying flight tickets seperately is that the 'connecting' flight is not covered if the incoming flight is delayed. Had you purchased a single, through ticket, then the airline would have moved you to a later internal flight free of charge. As you had two seperate tickets, the late airline has no responsibility for you missing your internal flight. I assume you booked seperate tickets to save some money and have now found the potential problem with that.

You may have some coverage in your travel insurance policy for the unused hotel night.

London, United...
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3. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

Which airline was it please?

I would recommend simply filing in a small claims court case, it's on line, it does not cost much, and usually that gets the airlines to pay up. Technical is not considered extraordinary, but many will claim it is in the hope you will go away,

If you go to small claims, you just file on line and the burden of proof is on the airline, not you.

Liverpool, UK
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4. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

"Any advice would be appreciated" - The EU has ruled that technical issues are not generally considered extraordinary circumstances but the airline is citing extraordinary circumstances as grounds for denying compensation.

You could CAA who will give an opinion on the issues but they cannot force the airline to pay compensation and the stance taken by the airline is fairly common - you'll probably have to instigate a claim with the Small Claims Court to get any compensation.

The airline is not liable for your additional costs for a separately ticketed flight but if you were to win the claim for compensation this would offset your extra costs - the judge could of course rule in the airlines favour.

UK
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5. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

It is clear that failure of a part outside of its life expectancy is not inherent in the operation of an air carrier and is actually quite unusual.

=====

From what I've read nearly every delay caused by a faulty part is not regarded as "exceptional" its only if there is a manufacturing defect that causes lots of planes to be affected, like the Dreamliner. . Send them a letter saying you will take them to court unless you receive the EU261 compensation due. Go down the route explained here moneysavingexpert.com/travel/…howget

London, United...
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6. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

>>If you wish you could go to the small claims court and try to prove that the part failure was not extraordinary.<<

Geordie engineer, in the uk, the burden of proof is on the airline, not the pax. The airline would have to prove it was extraordinary, the op would simply have to file and provide documents to say they were ticketed to fly on that flight.

Watford, United...
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7. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

If you are not fussed on the EU compensation you should have claimed on your travel insurance at the time for the associated costs (if your policy allowed), though you probably believed you'd get this from the airline. Not sure the insurance company would appreciate a claim over a year old now though.

A court action may be the only way of any recompense here.

London, United...
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8. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

I would not write to them again, it took a year for them to respond in the first place. Raise a claim in small claims court for the eu comp you are due if not extraordinary. All you have to lose is about 35 gbp or whatever the cost is.

uk
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9. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

It does make sense to me, as an engineer, that a part failing before it's normal end of life, should be considered extra ordinary.

Providing of course that the maintenance records show these are changed routinely on a frequency in line with normal end of life and that failures before this are abnormal.

Kabul, Afghanistan
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10. Re: Flight delayed 24 hours, response from airline, what next?

Yes - Froggy is right. You need to raise a claim in the small claims court.

This letter is a cut 'n' paste template. Which is how I am able to identify your airline as Thomson. The airline sends out this letter to everyone.

The key judgement ruling on whether technical faults can be deemed extraordinary is "Wallentin", which sets a (reasonably) clear legal test. However, there is a judgement currently going before the Court of Appeal in May - called "Huzar" - that will, if it goes the "right" way, remove any ambiguity on this score. You might therefore want to wait until May before starting your small claim.

The MSE flight delay forum website is the place to get lots of good advice, IMHO.