Court Of Appeal Rules In Favour Of Passenger In Jet2 Flight Delay Dispute

Decision Clarifies Law On Definition Of ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’

12.06.2014

A passenger has won a legal battle with Jet2 regarding a delayed flight, with the Court of Appeal’s decision on the case providing clarity regarding what airlines can regard as ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

Ron Hazar brought the legal action after a flight from Manchester to Malaga was delayed for 27 hours following the discovery of a wiring defect in the aircraft.

The airline appealed an original decision made in the Manchester County Court in favour of the passenger, stating that no compensation should be due as the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ in line with regulations.

However, the Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal, stating that the technical problem did not meet the definition as it was one which was “inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier”.

Commentators have suggested the ruling could have a significant impact and could allow many passengers affected by similar delays to also bring claims.

Expert Opinion
This is an interest ruling which could potentially have major consequences for airlines, putting an emphasis on their responsibilities in terms of aircraft maintenance and what regular checks are expected of them.

"It also provides more clarity around when airlines can use and point to the issue of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ as a factor in flight delays. It may have been the case that the defect discovered – which was essentially regarded as wear and tear – had previously fallen into this definition.

"However, this ruling has changed the landscape in that sense and it will be interesting to see whether it does lead to the suggested increase in claims from passengers who are disgruntled by problems with their flights."
Steven Beahan, Partner