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Passenger rights are safe in the European Union…

Good news air travelers! Your rights to delay compensation have just been upheld by the Supreme Court. In fact, you may now be entitled to flight delay compensation, even if your claim was previously denied by an airline. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has just won a crucial, long standing battle against Emirates, which challenged European Union rules for delay compensation. The Court of Justice in the European Union and Supreme Court have upheld the position of the CAA and EU261 laws, forcing Emirates to pay passengers millions in compensation.

a large airplane flying in the skyBackstory

If your flight from the European Union is delayed more than three hours from scheduled landing time at your final destination – you may be owed EU261 compensation. This applies when the delay is due to circumstances within the airlines control – and not weather or an extraordinary event. In recent years however, five airlines refused to pay compensation for certain delays. The airlines claimed that when onward connecting flights outside of the European Union were delayed, missed or cancelled – they were not eligible for compensation. That claim was in stark contrast to the actual EU261 delay rights, which stated that the final destination was the mark.

For Example

Lets say you were flying from London to Cape Town on Emirates, with a connection in Dubai. Your flight from London lands in Dubai just an hour late, but that delay caused you to miss your flight to Cape Town and you arrive in Cape Town more than three hours late. Since the flight from the European Union was only an hour late, Emirates was refusing to pay compensation, even though your final delay was more than three hours. The EU261 delay law specifically stated that delays are based on arrival in final destination, not just the first connection. Therefore, the compensation laws should’ve applied. Alas, Emirates and four other airlines refused. Their position was that if the flight from within the European Union wasn’t three hours late, it was none of their business what happened afterward. The CAA has now held Emirates accountable.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:“Emirates priority should be looking after its passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers accessing their rights. They have failed in their attempts to overturn the Court of Appeal Judgement, which now means that millions of pounds worth of compensation is due to its customers. It is time for Emirates to pay what is owed.

Passengers Won

Emirates appealed the CAA’s decision to enforce compensation and protect passengers facing onward connection delays. They’ve now lost that case. The four other airlines have fallen in line with legally required compensation procedures, but Emirates took this appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. The court has ruled with finality that Emirates failed to provide an arguable point of law, and are therefore duly bound to pay out rightful compensation. It’s the arrival delay at the final destination that matters, not just when the flight landed outside the European Union. This ruling applies to retroactive claims. If Emirates or any other airline delayed you more than three hours to your final destination in the last six years – you’re entitled to reopen your claim.

Millions In Compensation

Companies like AirHelp, Bott & Co and others have been chomping at the bit for this ruling. For years, Emirates has refused to honor thousands of claims, all of which are now legally entitled to compensation of €600 per passenger in cash – not vouchers. It’s hard to estimate how many millions Emirates now owes via this ruling, but it’s quite a lot. If you’ve been delayed at your final destination by Emirates or any other airline, we highly suggest pursuing a claim for rightfully due compensation. Any flight which departed the European Union and was delayed by airline fault for more than three hours at your final destination will now be enforced for compensation. At €600 per passenger for a long haul flight delay, that’s plenty of reason to get excited.

Our congratulations and thanks go to the UK’s CAA for fighting to uphold these important passenger rights. This ruling applies for all flights departing the European Union, and those arriving on European airlines.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. And now the last profitable ME airline begins its downfall.

    Soon the radio waves in the UK will be shouting out ‘don’t delay: claim today!’ no win no fee. Lol

  2. It’s now April, 2020. My niece is stuck in Cape Town with no flights back with Emirates. If UK Government sends a plane for her and others, what is she likely to have to pay and and can she claim the unused portion of her return ticket back from Emirates?

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