Yesterday, the English Court reached a verdict in the Huzar vs. Jet2.com case. The judgement in the case about compensation for a 27-hour flight delay, could open the flood gates for thousands if not millions of passengers who have been denied compensation in the past. In recent years, many airlines including Jet2.com have refused to pay out claims, saying technical errors constitute force majeure. This may come to an end with this verdict.
Symbolic victory on airlines: technical defects not extraordinary
The UK Court of Appeal determined yesterday that Jet2.com has to compensate passenger Ronald Huzar. In 2011, Huzar experienced a delay of 27 hours on a flight from Malaga to Manchester. When he submitted a claim with the carrier, it was rejected. Huzar took his case to the county court in Manchester, which ruled in his favour. However, Jet2.com continued to refuse to pay, arguing that the verdict was in conflict with other legislation. The case was processed to the higher court, where the judgement was finally passed yesterday, in favour of Huzar. Ronald Huzar will now receive £526. However, the verdict also very much represents a symbolic victory of air passengers over airlines.
According to lawyers, this judgement means nearly 20 million air passengers who have experienced delays or cancellations resulting from technical problems in the past 6 years may now be able to claim compensation. Jet2.com initally argued that Huzar couldn't rightfully claim as his delay was the result of a technical error and this constitutes an 'extraordinary circumstance', meaning there is no requirement to pay compensation. This term, however, refers only to circumstances such as adverse weather or political unrest, the court clarified. This was not the case in the Huzar delay. The lawyer who represented Huzar indicated that about 90% of delay claims are rejected on the basis of technical defects.
Jet2.com may take case to Supreme Court
Jet2.com has indicated it is disappointed by the judgement. According to the airline, the ruling could "have a significant impact on the entire airline industry." A spokesman said it would take the dispute to the supreme court: "We will continue to seek clarity and consistency by appealing directly to a higher court." He added that the airline regretted any inconvenience to passengers.
Specialists in the claim business commented on the verdict and shed some light on what passengers should do. Guy Anker of MoneySavingExpert.com stated: "We haven't got all the ins and outs, but anyone that was previously rejected should re-submit their claim to get the ball rolling.." Which? director Richard Lloyd, commented: "This ruling shows that airlines cannot avoid ducking their responsibilities by claiming that routine technical problems are extraordinary circumstances. "
Written by: Team Flight-Delayed.co.uk