Liverpool County Court has rebuffed an attempt by Jet2 to delay passenger claims after ruling that the airline could not put a case on hold in the UK in order to wait for the result of one being held in the Netherlands.
The judge in the case said that the case of Allen v Jet2.com could not be postponed as a line needed to be drawn. Bott & Co, the firm who represented Kim Allen in the case, said that tens of thousands of passengers with flight delay compensation claims now stood to benefit from the decision.
Four other airlines – Thomas Cook, Ryanair, FlyBe and WizzAir – had made similar applications to put their passengers’ flight delay compensation claims on hold. As a test case, Bott & Co said that it was likely that all other flight compensation claims in England and Wales across all airlines would now follow the decision made in Allen V Jet2.com. Allen’s case was originally stayed pending last year’s Huzar V Jet2.com case in which Court of Appeal judges ruled that technical problems are not an extraordinary circumstance under EU Regulation 261/2004. The stay on her case was initially lifted after Huzar’s victory but Jet2 soon made an application to stay Allen’s claim yet again. This time they wanted to put the case on hold pending the outcome of a Dutch case, which has been referred to the European Court of Justice.
The van der Lans Dutch case will mainly look at whether a technical problem that arises spontaneously (as opposed to one which is detected during routine maintenance) is an extraordinary circumstance under EU Regulation 261/2004. Extraordinary circumstances are the airline’s only defence to paying out flight delay compensation.
Kim Allen is claiming €400 in flight compensation after a delay flying from Manchester to Malaga on 26 March 2012. Her Jet2 flight LS809 was delayed by just under seven hours due to a technical problem which occurred just prior to take off.
Kevin Clarke, a flight delay lawyer at Bott & Co Solicitors who represented Kim Allen, said that it was pleasing that the court had taken a firm line against Jet2.
“We’ve seen continual legal challenges to the finer details of flight delay Regulation by the airlines since it was first introduced,” said Clarke.
“We would hope that the airlines will now finally face up to their obligations to passengers and to settle the hundreds of thousands of legitimate claims outstanding. Sadly the history of their conduct over the last decade would tell us to expect yet another legal challenge, but Bott & Co is firmly committed to enforcing air passenger rights.”