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Thomson Airways loses compensation appeal

Court backs passengers over delay claim time limit


A second court judgement in two weeks has backed consumers’ rights over air delays and paved the way for even more successful claims.

Judges at the Appeal Court today ordered Thomson Airways to pay James Dawson €1,200 for an eight-hour delay experienced on a flight to the Dominican Republic in 2006. 

He made his claim in 2012, but Thomson refused to pay compensation because he did not claim within two years of the flight.

Go further: find out more about your rights when your flight is delayed

However, the judges upheld an earlier ruling confirming that the time limit for bringing a compensation claim under European Union law is six years. 

Delay claim time limits

Thomson had argued that all delay claims for compensation are covered by the Montreal Convention, which limits claims to two years after an incident.

But the Court of Appeal judges ruled that the time-limit for bringing a claim must be determined by each individual country in the European Union. In England and Wales this means that claimants can make claims up to six years after their delay under the Limitation Act.

Which? and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have always argued this is the case.

Flight delay rights

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘This decision is a victory for consumers, and will bring some much needed clarity to the confusing process of flight compensation. Airlines should now follow the CAA’s guidelines of a six year limit for claims and stop trying to deny consumers’ rights.’

Today’s ruling follows another Court of Appeal judgement last week that made it harder for airlines to avoid paying compensation by arguing that technical faults causing delays were ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

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