On 13 January 2016 TUI Fly Belgium flight JAF304 from Punta Cana (via Montego Bay) arrived at Brussels Airport with a delay of over 4 hours. After the flight 54 passengers filed a lawsuit against the holiday airline and claimed a compensation of €600 per passenger.
In court, the airline defended itself by invoking force majeure: “an unexpected security check by customs at Punta Cana airport forced us to delay the flight, we want to intervene in all costs passengers incurred such as drinks, food and phone calls“, the airline replied. The judge did not agree with the explanation of TUI Fly Belgium and condemned the company to pay a compensation due under EU Regulation 261/20041 of 54 times €600 (€32,400) and all costs related to the verdict: €8,022.95.
Ralph Pais, from Claim It, explains: “Airlines quickly invoke ‘force majeure‘ in order not to pay compensations which passengers are always entitled to in case of delay. The cause of the delays are rather ‘normal business risks and inherent in the execution of the flights‘.
“Some airlines will not automatically pay out compensation after a delayed flight, unless those passengers go to court. On this particular flight only 54 from 250 passengers joined the Claim It-lawsuit“, Ralph Pais continued, “This means that 198 other passengers on that flight have missed their compensation of €600, a grand total of €118,800 that the airline would normally have had to pay.”
Have your say on the EU Regulation 261/2004 law in this forum-topic: EC Regulation 261/2004: news & court verdicts.
1 Compensation due under EU Regulation 261/2004 in case of flight cancellation, delay of 3 hours or more, or boarding denial.