What were you doing six whole years ago? Who was the Prime Minister back then? Did you go on holiday… and if you did, was your flight delayed? If it was, we have great news – you can claim up to 600 Euros in flight delay compensation for a flight disruption that occurred up to six years ago.
It’s common knowledge that airlines can sometimes try their utmost to get out of paying due compensation. They can delay communications, hide behind convoluted and ever-changing excuses stating why a flight disruption isn’t claimable, and sometimes just ignore people all together.
Bott and Co recently conducted the largest ever passenger survey by a law firm, which gathered answers from nearly 2,000 clients that have successfully claimed with us in the past two years. Participants’ answers were a glaring nod to the obstructive methods often used by airlines to shirk away from paying flight delay compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.
One person, when recalling the airline’s defence for the delay says, “They claimed ‘extraordinary circumstances’, but said they could not divulge the circumstances. It was bizarre, like something out of Catch 22.” However, if passengers are equipped with the correct knowledge to fight for their rights and recover flight delay compensation, there will be greater chances of success against the airlines.
Another passenger went to the airline to seek compensation, but was ignored – she then came to Bott and Co four years later.
Let’s talk about the six year limitation period when it comes to claiming flight delay compensation.
Dawson v Thomson outlined that passengers have six years to claim
Bott and Co was heavily involved in a landmark case, Dawson v Thomson in May 2014, that centred on how long a passenger has to take a flight delay claim to court. Around the time of the case, many airlines were attempting to argue that a passenger has just two years to claim, relying on The Montreal Convention’s limitation period for backup, which deals with other claim types such as lost baggage.
Of course, it would be preferable from an airline’s perspective if the window of opportunity for claiming against them was smaller. But Bott and Co disagreed with the airline’s stance, believing that passengers actually had six years to make a claim to court, as stated in S9 of the Limitation Act 1980.
Mr Dawson experienced a 6 hour 26 minute delay travelling to the Dominican Republic on Christmas Day 2006. He filed his claim in court just two days before the six year limitation period was due to expire. Thomson originally refused compensation on the grounds of “extraordinary circumstances” but later changed their excuse, arguing that Mr Dawson was not owed compensation as he was too late in taking his claim to court.
The Judge found in favour of Mr Dawson, explaining that the two year limitation period of the Montreal Convention did not apply. The Judge also recognised how significant this decision could be regarding the future of flight delay compensation, so gave Thomson Airways permission to appeal.
Here’s where Bott and Co stepped in; Mr Dawson instructed us to represent him at the Court of Appeal, where the airline’s appeal was rejected. Dawson v Thomson created binding case law for all future flight delay compensation claims, paving the way for millions upon millions of Euros to be paid out by the airlines.
The limitation period doesn’t start until the passenger is aged 18
Bott and Co secured 600 Euros under EU Regulation 261/2004 for Daisy Stephens after she was fobbed off by the airline for five years. Daisy was aged 17 and on a school trip when she and a teacher were told that the flight was overbooked by the airline, whereas Daisy’s twin sister and classmates were able to board. Daisy found the experience upsetting, especially as she had no previous experience of travelling without her parents.
In a final attempt to claim flight delay compensation before her case reached the six year mark, she came to us and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the limitation period doesn’t actually come into play until the passenger turns 18; so she had more time left to make a claim than she thought.
Daisy says, “After five years of unsuccessfully trying to claim compensation from the airline and having them repeatedly tell me I wasn’t entitled to compensation Bott and Co settled my claim in about three months.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co said,, “We often find that passengers only find out about their rights several years after a flight took place. Passengers should be aware that they have 6 years to make a claim and this period can be extended further by issuing court proceedings. Passengers can either issue those court proceedings themselves or instruct a no-win-no-fee lawyer to do it for them.”