Virgin Atlantic forced to pay compensationDelayed passengers are awarded £47,000 after court ruling

08 July 2014

Passengers facing delayed at airports

Virgin Atlantic has been forced to pay a group of delayed passengers almost £50,000 in compensation following a landmark court ruling.

The airline made the payout to 101 passengers following last month’s Huzar ruling at the Court of Appeal.

This ruling stated that airlines can’t reject claims for delays caused by technical defects.

Industry experts now hope that consumers will find it much easier to claim flight delay compensation.

You can check your rights for delayed and cancelled flights on the Which?consumer rights website.

Paving the way for consumer compensation 

The Virgin Atlantic holidaymakers were delayed for 26 hours when their flight, which was travelling from Orlando, Florida to London Gatwick in October 2012, developed a technical fault.  

The airline had refused to pay compensation but yesterday the Court of Appeal ordered Virgin Atlantic to pay each passenger €600 (£476).

The Court of Appeal decisions follow the European Commission’s publishing last year of a list of when airlines do, and do not, have to compensate customers for delays and cancellations.

Technical fault is not an extraordinary circumstance

Airlines are required to pay compensation for cancellations and lengthy delays by the European Denied Boarding Regulation

However, they do not have to pay if they can show the cancellation or delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances that were beyond the airline's control.

In 2011 Mr Huzar was delayed for 27 hours on a Manchester to Malaga Jet2 flight and was told the flight delay was caused by faulty wiring.  

The airline claimed this was an unforeseen extraordinary circumstance and was therefore not liable for compensation.

However, the court ruled that the defective wiring was faulty due to wear and tear, rather than anything more extraordinary. 

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