Your rights under EU Regulation 261/2004 explained

Denied boarding, delays and cancellations are an unavoidable parts of air travel and can be caused by a variety of factors both within and outside the airline’s control.

At best, they can be a minor inconvenience. At worst, they can have serious consequences for passengers and airlines alike.

In 2004, the European Union, fulfilling its policy of uniformly protecting consumer rights, passed EU Regulation 261/2004 (the “Regulation”). The Regulation sets out the entitlements available to eligible passengers in the event their flight is delayed, cancelled or where they are denied boarding due to overselling.

gatwick-delays_3091889b


To whom does the Regulation apply?

The Regulation applies to “passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a [European] Member State to which the Treaty applies”.

It also applies to “passengers departing from an airport located in a third country [ie, a non EU country] to an airport situated in the territory of a [European] Member State to which the Treaty applies unless the passenger received benefits or compensation and were given assistance in that third country, if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is a Community carrier“.

In other words, you are covered when the flight departs from an airport in an EU country, or a flight into the EU where that flight is operated by an EU based airline.

For example, if you’re travelling on British Airways from London to New York return, you would be covered for both the outbound and inbound flight.

However, if you’re travelling on American Airlines, you’d only be covered for the outbound flight but not the sector into London because American Airlines is not a “community carrier” as defined in the Regulation vis a vis “an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a [EU] Member State”.

To get protection under the Regulation you must be holding a confirmed reservation for the flight and have presented at check-in no later than 45 minutes prior to the published departure time (unless a revised departure time is communicated to you by the airline).


What’s covered?

Denied Boarding

Where a flight is oversold, the airline must first look for volunteers willing to give up their confirmed seat on that flight in return for what’s usually an offer of a free flight, a voucher, frequent flyer miles or any other mutually agreed settlement.

While volunteers are still eligible to apply for compensation under the Regulation, most airlines will seek to exclude this in any settlement agreed to at the time the seat is given up.

Where the airline has no luck finding volunteers, it will then offload passengers from the flight involuntarily. Such passengers are usually those that haven’t checked-in online or haven’t arrived early at the airport but, importantly, still arrived at check-in before it closes (keeping in mind the 45 minutes before departure condition).

While these passengers, known as “involuntary offloads”, won’t get on that flight, they should be able to seek compensation for any resulting delays caused by the fact they were unable to travel on the flight on which they were booked and confirmed.

Flight Delay

Where an applicable flight is delayed for more than two hours, under the Regulation the airline is obliged to provide, first up, assistance in the form of meals, refreshments or accommodation that are reasonable in relation to the waiting time.

These usually come in the form of vouchers and are especially important for those travellers without lounge access although passengers with lounge access may still be eligible to receive such vouchers.

The extent to which an airline is obliged to provide assistance and compensation depends on the length of the flight and the amount of delay. The breakdown is as follows [1]:

  • Assistance must be provided for delays of 2 hours or more in the case of flights up to 1500km.
  • Assistance must be provided for delays of 3 hours or more in the case of all intra-EU flights more than 1500km and all other flights between 1500km and 3000km.
  • Assistance must be provided for delays of 4 hours or more which are not covered above.

In addition to providing assistance, airlines are obliged to provide the following compensation:

  • For flights 1500km or less that are more than 3 hours delayed at the destination: €250
  • For flights within the EU more than 1500km or for all other flights between 1501-3500km where the delay is greater than 3 hours at the destination: €400
  • For flights over 3500km where the delay is more than ?3 hours at the destination: €600.

Importantly, compensation and assistance (such as food and refreshments) are provided separately. So where a passenger is given a €15 food voucher during a 3.5 hour delay, ordinarily this shouldn’t be taken off the compensation the airline might also be obliged to provide.

Hotel accommodation (including transfers to and from the airport) must be provided where the delay requires an overnight stay, although this depends on the length of the delay. Providing accommodation for a three hour delay to a flight scheduled to depart at 2am may not be deemed reasonably necessary.

The Regulation also ensures affected travellers have the ability to contact those waiting for them by obliging airlines to provide “free of charge, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails”. [2]

Where the flight is delayed by five hours or more, passengers are normally entitled to abandon their journey and receive a refund for all unused tickets, a refund on tickets used already if the flight no longer serves any purpose to their original travel plan, and, if relevant, a flight back to their original point of departure at the earliest opportunity.

Cumulative delays caused by missed connections

What about cumulative delays where one delay leads to a missed connection causing an even longer delay?

In the German case of Folkert [3], the passengers were travelling from Bremen in Germany to Asuncion in Paraguay via Paris and Sao Palo. The first flight was delayed by 2.5 hours.

However, as a result of missed connections caused by the first delay, the claimants arrived in Asuncion 11.5 hours later than scheduled. Air France claimed they weren’t liable, given the initial delay was only 2.5 hours, but the German Federal Court found in favor of the passengers.

The case highlights that delays can be measured both as departure delays and arrival delays, such that a short delay at the beginning of a multi-sector journey can nevertheless result in a much longer delay on arrival at the final destination.

The claimants were therefore able to claim for the whole 11.5 hour delay even though the first flight was only delayed 2.5 hours.

Cancelled flight

Where an applicable flight is cancelled, airlines are obliged to keep “trouble and inconvenience to passengers” [4] to a minimum.

In practice, this obliges an airline to inform affected passengers of cancellation before the scheduled time of departure, offer a reasonable re-routing at the “earliest opportunity” or a full refund (including a return flight to the point of departure) at the “earliest opportunity” where the cancellation is part of a multi-sector journey.

So, for example, when a passenger is travelling from London to Athens via Frankfurt on two separate flights and the Frankfurt to Athens sector is cancelled, the passenger should be entitled to a full refund of the fare as well as the right to be flown back to London to avoid being stranded in Frankfurt halfway through their journey.

In relation to flight cancellations or denied boarding the following compensation applies:

  • For all flights 1 500 km or less: €250
  • For all intra EU flights of more than 1500 km, and all other flights between 1500-3500 km: €400
  • For all flights of 3,500km or more: €600

Where the airline are able to re-route a passenger on an alternative flight to their final destination and where the arrival time does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked by:

  • Two hours, in respect of all flights of 1500 km or less; or
  • Three hours in respect to intra-EU flights of more than 1500 km and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km; or
  • By four hours, in respect of all flights of 3500km or more

then the amount of compensation payable by the airline reduces by 50%.


Extraordinary circumstances

The airlines’ first line of defence is claiming that the delay or cancellation was caused by “extraordinary circumstances“. [5]

The point of this provision is to protect airlines from delays or cancellations caused by the unpredictable and uncertain conditions under which airlines operate. These might include: political or civil unrest, security risks, hidden manufacturing defects in the aircraft or extreme weather.

A recent example is the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Iceland. The resulting ash-cloud shut down much of Europe’s airspace for days stranding passengers in airports worldwide.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [6] subsequently held that natural disasters with the severity of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption do constitute “extraordinary circumstances“, thereby releasing airlines from an obligation to pay compensation.

However, the ECJ pointed out that no such category as “super-extraordinary circumstances” exists that would free airlines from their obligation to provide basic care to their passengers such as refreshments, accommodation and telephone calls referred to above.

What about planes “going tech”?

Where does the law leave airlines when their aircraft become non-operational causing the the delay or cancellation of a flight?

This issue was dealt with recently by the English Court of Appeal [7] which ruled that “ordinary technical problems that cause flight disruption, such as component failure and general wear and tear, should not be considered ‘extraordinary circumstances’“.

Whilst this is good news for consumers, the decision will have significant financial consequences on the airline industry. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently reported that a record 84% of scheduled flights in the UK departed ‘on-time’ for Q1 2014, but of the 16% that were delayed, a significant number arose due to technical problems with the aircraft. [11] Without the protection of this defence, airlines will now be forced to consider the financial impact of compensating passengers when deciding whether to cancel a flight in these circumstances.

Strikes

What about strikes, as many passengers recently affected by industrial action in Europe will no doubt be wondering.

Strikes ordinarily fall under the “extraordinary circumstances” exception (see above) although a European court ruled in 2012 [8] that events like strikes may not exempt an airline from paying compensation for denied boarding if a passenger’s remaining flights are affected by airline schedule changes due to an industrial dispute.

Nevertheless, even where an airline is freed from their obligation to pay compensation due to strike action, they’re still invariably bound to provide meals, transport and accommodation as required under Article 9 of the Regulation.


What does this mean for travellers?

Passengers travelling into, within, or from the EU are some of the best protected consumers of air travel.

ICAO, the United Nations agency responsible for international civil aviation is currently examining ways, in conjunction with industry bodies such as IATA, to achieve global uniformity in how consumers are protected when inevitable delays and cancellations occur.

Consumer advocate bodies such as the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) have also proposed amendments to the existing Regulation which include scrapping the “extraordinary circumstances” defence in the case of bad weather where it can be foreseen and predicted [9].

But any law is useless unless it’s upheld. So we ask the question: how well is the Regulation enforced and how many airlines pay up when the inevitable delays and cancellations occur?

Article 14 of the Regulation obliges airlines to inform passengers of their rights where they have been denied boarding, delayed or their flight’s been cancelled.

Yet a survey carried out by Germany’s Verbraucherzentrale Brandenburg, the Danish Consumer Council and the UK Civil Aviation Authority [10] showed that while 75 per cent of passengers suffering delays or cancellations were re-routed and therefore able to maintain their travel plans, only 50 per cent were offered meals, refreshments and accommodation to which they were otherwise eligible.

In the Danish survey, only 2 to 4 per cent reportedly received monetary compensation. In the German survey, only 20 per cent of complainants reportedly received a response to their claim from the airline.

Consumers might therefore find it useful to be aware of their rights before, during and subsequent to taking a flight.

Most European airlines provide a copy of the Regulation on their websites. A savvy business traveller might consider having a copy handy. This may assist in reducing confusion as to what the passenger is entitled to therefore resulting in assistance being provided faster and more effectively. It might even help you get on the next available flight a little quicker so you can enjoy that gin and tonic sooner rather than later.

By Alexander Freeman is an aviation lawyer, journalist and travel writer

Published on www.businesstraveller.com November 8, 2014

  1. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32004R0261.
  2. Article 9 of the Regulation.
  3. http://eutopialaw.com/2013/03/18/sturgeon-revisited-yet-again-case-c-1111-air-france-v-folkerts/.
  4. Subsection (2) of the Regulation’s preamble.
  5. Article 5 of the Regulation.
  6. http://eutopialaw.com/2013/02/04/case-c-1211-denise-mcdonagh-v-ryanair-volcanic-ash-and-super-extraordinary-circumstances/.
  7. Jet2 vs. Huzar http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?appid=7&mode=detail&nid=2370.
  8. C-22/11, Finnair Oyj v Timy Lassooy, 4 October 2012.
  9. http://www.beuc.org/publications/2013-00505-01-e.pdf.
  10. http://www.parliament.bg/pub/ECD/128092SWD_2013_62_EN_DOCUMENTDETRAVAIL_f.pdf.
  11. http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=14&pagetype=65&appid=7&mode=detail&nid=2377?

Swedish family is asking the Swedish Supreme Court to answer the question whether technical failure constitutes extraordinary circumstances when determining passengers right to compensation for flight delay

The UK Supreme Court decided October 31 in the case “Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar ” the question whether technical problems with aircraft constitutes extraordinary circumstances defending Airlines from passengers claims for flight delays.

Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar regards an unexpected problem with an electrical wire in one of the fuel filters to one of the Aircraft engines. The fault was neither discovered nor discoverable by a reasonable regime of maintenance or on reasonable inspection and therefore was unforeseen and unforeseeable.

jet2com

In the notable “Charlotta-case” in Attunda district Court of Stockholm regarding a Swedish family’s claim for flight delay compensation for a 12 hour delayed flight from Stockholm to Bangkok the Airline Norwegian has argued that the fuel leak in one of the wing tank doors was unpredicted and very unsuspected and therefore constituted extraordinary circumstances.

Trial is set for February 12 next year. Irrespective of the outcome the case will probably be appealed to Court of Appeals and from there to The Swedish Supreme Court. In order to save time and money for both parties and to establish proper law regarding the Huzar case in Sweden the family has asked the district Court to direct the following question to Supreme Court for their determination:

“Would a technical problem with an Aircraft which was neather discovered nor discovarable by a reasonable regime of maintenance or on reasonable inspection and therefore was unforeseen and unforeseeable constitute extraordinary circumstances according to EU Regulation 261/2004.”     

If the Supreme Court would answer the question affirmative the Charlotta-case is decided and Airlines can no longer defend themselves with unexpected technical faults constituting extraordinary circumstances. If the Court instead would consider answering the question in the negative the Court is obliged to take the matter to the EU Court. This could lead to the EU Court revisiting the land mark Wallentin-Hermann case re Airlines liability for technical problems (Friederike Wallentin-Hermann vs Alitalia in the case C-549/07 from December 2008).

In order to take a legal question straight to Supreme Court the parties have to agree.

So question is will Norwegian be willing to contribute to this important matter of law beeing clarified?

 

Great victory for airpassengers in the UK Supreme Court re compensation for flight delay

The UK Supreme Court October 31 decided the case “Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar” which means that technical problems with aircraft no longer can constitute Extraordinary Circumstances when Airlines are defending themselves against airpassengers’ right to flight delay compensation

gatwick-delays_3091889b

 

In the UK Court of Appeals case “Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar” regarding a passenger’s right to flight delay compensation according to EU Regulation 261/2004 the factual circumstances were described as follows:

“The claim arises out of the delay to flight number LS 0810 from Malaga to Manchester on which the claimant was booked travel on 26th October 2011. The flight was scheduled to depart from Malaga at 18.25 (local time) and to arrive in Manchester at 20.25 (local time). The aircraft, a Boeing 737-33A, experienced an unexpected technical problem during its inbound flight to Malaga when the left engine fuel advisory light became illuminated indicating a possible defect in the fuel shut-off valve.

When the plane landed the defendant arranged for a spare valve to be fitted but the problem remained. Despite further investigations it was not possible to identify the cause of the problem before the airport closed for the evening. The following day further investigations revealed a wiring defect in the fuel valve circuit such that the wiring needed replacement. As a result it was necessary to send a specialist engineer and spare wiring from the defendant’s hangar at Leeds Bradford airport.

Having reviewed the options the defendant decided to bring in another aircraft from Glasgow to take passengers from Malaga to Manchester. The flight eventually departed at 21.09 (local time) on 27th October 2011 and arrived in Manchester at 23.28 (local time), some 27 hours late. It is conceded that the claimant and his family were provided with appropriate transport, accommodation and refreshments free of charge during the delay. The claim before the District Judge was for compensation pursuant to Article 7(1)(b) of the Regulations.

For the purposes of the appeal the appellant accepted the implicit findings of the learned District Judge namely that this technical fault was unexpected and could not have been predicted by a regular system of inspection or maintenance and, further, that the wire which failed or was defective was within its expected lifespan. Thus the fault was neither discovered nor discoverable by a reasonable regime of maintenance or on reasonable inspection and therefore was unforeseen and unforeseeable.”

Despite the fact that the fault was neither discovered nor discoverable by a reasonable regime of maintenance or on reasonable inspection and therefore was unforeseen and unforeseeable Court of Appeals ruled that these circumstances did not constitute Extraordinary Circumstances and therefore awarded the passengers compensation for flight delay.

The UK Supreme Court has now decided to not take the case why the verdict from Court of Appeals stands. The Supreme Courts states in its ruling that “Jet2.com vs Huzar” is in accordance with EU Case Law why there was no reason to take the question to the European Court of Justice.

The UK Supreme Court ruling means that it is no longer possible for an Airline to deny passengers compensation for flight delay arguing technical defects on their aircraft, except for exceptional cases with for example Product liability defects.

The Guardian

The Telegraph

Law Gazette

 

Here you can read the preliminary accident report Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

Preliminary accident report MH17, 140909

The Dutch Safety Board’s (DSB) Preliminary Report of the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 leaves no doubt that the aircraft was struck by multiple high-energy objects which penetrated its skin. This precipitated an in-flight breakup of the aircraft and its ultimate destruction.

Flight path and ATC clearances

The description of the flight path and flight level chosen and directed to be used by the relevant air traffic control authorities for flight MH 17 was uncontroversial, and confirms our earlier reports and those from aeronautical sources (and Malaysia Airlines) that the aircraft was above temporary restricted airspace.  The report also makes it clear that the flight was travelling in unrestricted airspace outside the boundary of temporary restricted airspace delineated by Ukrainian NOTAMs due to hostilities.

Crew and airworthiness of aircraft

The report indicated that the crew’s experience and qualifications was not likely a factor, and nor was the airworthiness of aircraft – which had had major maintenance last done in November, 2013 as well as an “A check”  inspection in April, 2014.

Role of hostilities on the ground and “black boxes”

The report, in notably politically correct terminology and true to the intention of the official investigators to not ascribe legal blame, refers to what the media has called” pro-Russian separatists”, as “armed groups”. It notes that the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were not obtained by the investigation team but were handed by these armed groups to investigators in Ukraine on 22 July 2014. The report confirms that there was no malfunction nor evidence of manipulation of the recorders. The cockpit voice recorder was damaged by the impact, but the recording module was intact and the full 30 minutes of audio available matched the ATC transcripts examined by the DSB.

No distress nor aural warnings were observed from the cockpit voice recorder, and the recording was noted to have ended abruptly.

The flight data recorder also was unremarkable and disclosed no engine or other issues. Further it confirmed the last known flight path, altitude and engine cruise settings proceeded as expected without malfunction.

Pattern of debris location and holes in wreckage

Analysis by satellite photo at the locations of wreckage, confirmed that the fore section of the fuselage (cockpit) landed some 2.3 km after the FDR stopped recording, and centre and tail sections came to rest thereafter along the aircraft’s last known flight path. Photographs taken of the cockpit section show indentations and small holes on the outside skin of the aircraft consistent with penetration by external objects entering with high-energy.

Importantly, the Dutch safety board confirms that it has not yet examined the aircraft wreckage nor the sight of the debris locations, but only examined photographs. Examination of the cockpit floor parts which were found indicated that the penetration of objects from outside was potentially from above as holes in the cockpit floor showed a splay downwards.

The aft parts of the fuselage were a subject to post-crash fire, and were found some eight also kilometres from the location of the cockpit and front fuselage sections.

In some ways, the pattern of debris and location of significant identifiable portions were located indicate the aircraft broke up in midair with the front part landing first with the remainder continuingly continuing along the trajectory downwards.

A helpful diagram (Figure 7 from the DSB report) is reproduced below, and identifies the major sections of the aircraft which have been found, and confirms the fact that large sections have not been discovered, or were completely destroyed, or consumed by the post crash fire.

Shine-Lawyers-MH17-Lawyers

Conclusions as to the probable links in the chain of causation

The predictable conclusion was that a large number of high-energy objects penetrated the aircraft causing an in-flight breakup, which is consistent with the pattern of wreckage as located over the spread of debris on the ground. There were no technical malfunctions or deficiencies know which could cause this pattern of damage.

Roadmap to final report release

The investigation (formal) report is expected within a year or so, and will, in part, require investigation authorities to reach the site safely where wreckage from the aircraft can be recovered and examined more closely.

Specifically, the ongoing investigation will touch on the following points are set out in the report:

  • Further analysis of data recorded onboard the aircraft (including cockpit voice recorder, and flight data recorder);
  • Analysis of recorded ATC surveillance data and radio communications;
  • Analysis of weather circumstances;
  • Forensic examination of the wreckage (if recovered, and possible foreign objects, if found);
  • Results of pathological investigation;
  • Analysis of the in-flight break up sequence;
  • Assessment of Malaysia Airlines’ and Ukraine’s management of flight safety over a region of conflict or high security risk; and
  • Any other areas as identified during the ongoing investigation.

Background on aviation accident investigations under international law and custom

Chapter 3 of Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention (Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation), opens as follows:

The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents.  It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability.

Preliminary Reports, as released by the DSB yesterday, are typically only factual accounts of the events of an aircraft accident or other events, with little analysis of contributing causes.

The State of Occurrence, here Ukraine was originally responsible for the investigation of the incident, but by its written request to ICAO the responsibility for the investigation was delegated to the Dutch Safety Board and an international team of accredited representatives and technical advisers formed under them.  This was agreed on 23 July 2014. The other members of the international team include representatives of the State of Occurrence (Ukraine), State of Registry and Operator (Malaysia), State of Design and Manufacture (United States), State that provided information on request (Russian Federation), State of Design and Manufacture of the Engines (United Kingdom), State that provided information on request (Australia).

The DSB final official investigation report is expected within about a year.

Our ongoing involvement

Shine Lawyers Aviation Department together with its team of international partners Swedish experts Stephan Eriksson and Urban Olson and Dutch leading lawyer Antoinette Collignion will continue to monitor the investigation for the purpose of assisting the families affected to get answers, and also to help its clients pursue appropriate international legal remedies for the downing of the aircraft and the death of all those onboard.

Stephan Eriksson invited to speak at American Bar Association TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee Program October 23-24

Stephan Eriksson will speak at ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee Program in Washington, D.C. – October 23-24, 2014

Stephan Eriksson is the only foreign speaker invited to ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee Program in Washington, D.C. – October 23-24, 2014. He will speak over EU Reg 261/2004 and the challenges faced by foreign airlines, manufacturers and insurers.

PROGRAM AGENDA

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                               REGISTRATION

8:00 a.m. – 8:25 a.m.                               CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

8:25 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.                                WELCOMING REMARKS AND INTRODUCTIONS

                                                                                      

Tracey E. Campbell, Committee Chair

Global Aerospace, Inc.

Parsippany, NJ

MORNING SESSION #1: Program Co-Chair:  Angela Savino, Global Aerospace, Inc.

 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.              RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN AVIATION AND SPACE LAW

This discussion includes a review and analysis of recent Aviation related decisions presented by plaintiff’s counsel, defense counsel, and counsel for the United States.

 

MODERATOR:

Douglas McQueen

LeClairRyan

Newark, NJ

SPEAKERS:

Paula Knippa                                                            Jane Cherry

Slack & Davis, LLP                                                    Thompson & Knight. LLP

Austin, TX                                                                 Dallas, TX

 

Steven L. Osit

Federal Aviation Administration

Washington, D.C.

 

9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.            EMERGING TECHNOLOGY IN AVIATION AND LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

The case for “improving” technology including blackboxes /CVDR’s and ability to track aircraft after MH Flight 370: will new legislation or regulations be promulgated?

 

MODERATOR:

Michael G. McQuillen

Adler Murphy & McQuillen, LLP

Chicago, IL

SPEAKERS:

Mark A. Dombroff                                                    Kathryn Koorenny

McKenna, Long & Aldridge, LLP                              Associate General Counsel

McLean, VA                                                               American Airlines

                                                                                    Fort Worth, TX

Ian “Buddy” Herzog                                               

The Law Offices of Ian Herzog, PC     

Santa Monica, CA

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.     BREAK

 MORNING SESSION #2:Program Co-Chair:  Jennifer P. Henry, Thompson & Knight, LLP

10:30 a.m. – 11:30a.m.           DRONES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS):  RECENT LITIGATION AND THE CASE FOR AND AGAINST RULEMAKING AND FUTURE USES AS WELL AS INSURABILITY

A discussion of the impact that recent cases related to drone activity will have on existing and proposed federal and state regulation; the potential liability exposure for various drone and UAS-related activities; and the challenges facing insurers for drone-related activity.

MODERATOR:

Daniel O. Rose

Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP

New York, NY

 

SPEAKERS:

Robert E. Spohrer                                                    Thad T. Dameris

Spohrer & Dodd, PL                                                  Arnold & Porter, LLP

Jacksonville, FL                                                         Houston, TX

 

 

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          LEGAL AND PRACTICAL ISSUES ARISING OUT OF RECENT AIRLINE ACCIDENTS THAT HAVE OCCURRED ON U.S. SOIL

This panel of industry experts will discuss various topics arising from recent airline accidents that have occurred in the United States, including the standard of care/preemption defenses, code share liability issues, federal and local governmental liability, and post-accident family assistance

 

MODERATOR:

Christopher R. Christensen

Condon & Forsyth, LLP

New York, NY

 

SPEAKERS:                   

Anthony J. Murphy                                                  Douglas A. Latto

Global Aerospace, Inc.                                              Baumeister & Samuels, PC

Parsippany, NJ                                                          New York, NY

 

Oliver Beiersdorf                                                      Barry F. Benson

Reed Smith                                                                  U.S. Department of Justice

Philadelphia, PA                                                         Washington, DC

 12:45p.m. – 2:00 p.m.                               Lunch

SPEAKER:

Dr. F. Robert van der Linden

Chairman

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, Aeronautics Department

Washington, D.C.

 AFTERNOON SESSION #1:                  Program Co-Chair: Tara Nicola, Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Tucker, Collier, Pagano, Aubert, LLP

 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.                  DOMESTIC ANDINTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS:  WHAT IS THE COST OF OPERATING IN THE NEW ERA OF AVIATION REGULATION?

Our panel of industry experts and practitioners will examine the challenges faced by airlines, manufacturers and insurers due to regulations in the U.S. and abroad including EU261, OFAC, FATCA and emissions regulations.

 

MODERATOR:

Deborah A. Elsasser

Clyde & Co., US, LLP

New York, NY

SPEAKERS:

Stephan Eriksson                                                                             Jonathan M. Epstein  

Liman & Partners                                                                             Holland & Knight, LLP                 

Stockholm, Sweden                                                                         Washington, D.C.

                                                                                  

David J. Brummond

Former Senior Sanctions Advisor –

Office of Foreign Asset Control, U.S. Treasury Department

Of Counsel – DLA Piper LLP (USA)

Washington, D.C.

                                                                                                       

Mark W. Bury                                                                                                     

Assistant Chief Counsel for International Law,                               

Legislation and Regulations                                                                                 

Federal Aviation Administration                               

Washington, D.C.                               

 

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.              LITIGATING IN FOREIGN VENUES:  PROS AND CONS OF HAVING CASES FILED IN FOREIGN VENUES

Aside from the general choice of law issues raised when litigating in a foreign venue, to what extent is the question made more uncertain by such things as treaties, conventions, public policy, political unrest, and foreign policy considerations?

 

MODERATOR:

Nicholas E. Pantepoulos

Kaplan, Massamillo & Andrews, LLC

New York, NY

 

SPEAKERS:

Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid                        Ann Thornton Field

Podhurst Orseck                                         Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP

Miami, FL                                                    Philadelphia, PA

3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.                               BREAK

AFTERNOON SESSION #2   Committee Chair- Elect: Orla M. Brady, U.S. Department of Justice

 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.              EMERGING LITIGATION ISSUES AND TRENDS:  AIRLINES, PRODUCTS AND GENERAL AVIATION COUNSEL

Attorneys practicing in the areas of airlines, products liability and general aviation discuss emerging issues and trends that they find problematic or interesting. Among other things, this Panel will address how to handle novel legal theories in the context of aviation litigation; and weighing the risk of obtaining bad precedent against the possibility of achieving a great result.

MODERATOR:

Ralph Pagano

Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Tucker, Collier, Pagano, Aubert, LLP

New York, NY

SPEAKERS:

Noreen Brogan                                        Erik H. Beard                                                               

 Allianz Global Corporate                        Wiggin and Dana, LLP

and Specialty                                            Hartford, CT                                              

New York, NY

 

Ilyas Akbari                                                                             Richard P. Campbell         

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, PC                                 Campbell, Campbell & Edwards

Los Angeles, CA                                                                       Boston, MA

 

Chris McDavid

UTC (PWA)

 

5:30 p.m.                                                  RECEPTION

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                               CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

MORNING SESSION #1       Program Co-Chair:  Garrett L. Pendleton, AIG Aerospace

 

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.            MOCK TRIALS

                                                Learn the ins and outs of deciding what type of mock trial works best for your case and budget. Hear from an experienced trial and jury consulting firm and seasoned plaintiffs’ and defense counsel how they prepare for and what they look to learn from jury consultants and mock trials.

 

MODERATOR:

Robert F. Ruckman      

Jackson Walker, LLP

Dallas, TX

 

SPEAKERS:

Marygrace Schaeffer                                                Patrick Bradley

DecisionQuest                                                            Reed Smith, LLP

Minneapolis, MN                                                       Princeton, NJ

 

Michael S.  Krzak

Clifford Law Offices

 Chicago, IL

 

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.     THE CHANGING WORLD OF LEGAL ETHICS

Ethical issues confront us all; learn from a recognized ethics experts and dynamic speakers practical techniques and applications to confront or avoid potential problems in a changing ethical environment. Learn what your ethical duties are outside your jurisdiction and abroad.

                     

SPEAKERS:

Jack Marshall                                                           Justin Green

ProEthics, Ltd.                                                           Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP

Alexandria, VA                                                          New York, NY

                                                                

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.     BREAK   

 MORNING SESSION #2   Program Co-Chair:  Jennifer P. Henry, Thompson & Knight, LLP

 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.          THE INSURED, THE INSURER AND COUNSEL:  HOW TO DEFINE RELATIONSHIPS, ROLES AND REPORTING AFTER A MAJOR ACCIDENT OR OCCURRENCE.

This panel of distinguished industry executives will explore what happens behind the scene at the airline, the manufacturer, and insurer after a major accident and discuss the role of outside counsel, common pitfalls, lessons learned and potential future issues.

 

MODERATOR:

David J. Harrington

Condon & Forsyth, LLP

New York, NY

 

SPEAKERS:

Michael Carbone                                                     

JetBlue                                                                      

Long Island City, NY

 

Allison Kendrick

The Boeing Company

 Seattle, WA

 

12:00p.m. – 12:05 p.m.                            CLOSING REMARKS

Tracey E. Campbell, Committee Chair                   

Global Aerospace, Inc.

Parsippany, NJ

 

Orla M. Brady, Committee Chair-Elect

U.S. Department of Justice

Aviation and Admiralty Section

Washington, D.C.

 

Norwegian Faces Claims Over Dreamliners

Wall Street Journal

Business

Norwegian Faces Claims Over Dreamliners

Claims Run to Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars from Disgruntled Passengers

Updated Aug. 20, 2014 6:41 p.m. ET

Passengers are demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages from  Norwegian Air Shuttle  NAS after suffering lengthy delays due to technical problems with the airline’s new Dreamliner aircraft.

Norwegian Air, Europe’s third-largest discount airline by passengers after  Ryanair Holdings  PLC, is facing an image problem after passenger claims soared following the launch last year of its new long-haul services.

The company, mostly known for its cheap short-haul flights across Europe, bought  Boeings   Dreamliner aircraft to break into the long-haul market with new routes from Europe to the U.S. and Asia. So far, it only has seven Dreamliners serving its long-haul customers, making flights vulnerable to delays should an aircraft be unavailable.

Disgruntled customers are now demanding compensation for delays they say could have been prevented. Many are turning to the courts for payment.

Charlotta Holmqvist’s vacation in Thailand with her husband and their three children turned sour when their Dreamliner flight to Bangkok was switched with a much older type of aircraft and then delayed for 12 hours.

“This vacation was supposed give our family some much-needed time to relax, but instead we had to spend an entire day of it in our kitchen worrying about connecting flights and hotel reservations,” she said.

Having received what she felt was very little understanding from Norwegian Air regarding the additional costs and difficulties involved in re-booking connecting flights and arranging hotel rooms for a sudden overnight stay in Bangkok, she decided to take the airline to court.

“It doesn’t feel right that they can operate their business in this manner,” Ms. Holmqvist said. “It’s important that someone puts their foot down.”

TRS Travelright, a Swedish company that has made a business out of assisting air passenger claims, said it has filed 12 separate cases against Norwegian Air to a Swedish court. According to aviation lawyer Stephen Eriksson at Liman & Partners, who represents 1,200 passengers in these cases, Norwegian has to prove that the delays were caused by extraordinary circumstances, such as weather, and not by operational choices, such as short turnaround times between tightly scheduled flights. Norwegian also has to prove the delays couldn’t have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, such as leasing extra aircraft, he said.

“The first week that a technical problem arises, it’s unforeseen and maybe extraordinary. But the second week, it should no longer come as a surprise,” Mr. Eriksson said.

If the court agrees, Norwegian could be forced to pay €720,000 ($956,572) in damages. A first trial is set for Sept. 22. Following claims being made by the initial 1,200 passengers TRS Travelright is preparing lawsuits for an additional 5,000.

“More than 35,000 Norwegian passengers have Dreamliner-related claims amounting to over $28 million” Mr. Eriksson estimated, based on the number of delayed flights.

Airlines are required by EU regulations to compensate their passengers with up to €600 if they can’t prove the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Norwegian Air has so far claimed that the technical issues with its Dreamliner aircraft are beyond its control and that it isn’t obliged to pay damages.

“We always follow EU regulations and, of course, offer our passengers compensation according to EU requirements,” said Norwegian Air spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen. He said that in some cases of long delays, the airline has also compensated its customers even if they weren’t required to do so, but notes that “if we were to pay every unsatisfied passenger, we would not exist.”

In Sweden, Norwegian Air passenger claims have so far jumped more than sixfold in 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, according to the National Board for Consumer Disputes. At its counterpart in Norway, this year’s complaints are already close to last year’s levels, at 397 so far compared with 425 in all of 2013.

Consumer boards issue voluntary recommendations on whether compensation should be awarded. According to the National Board for Consumer Disputes, Norwegian Air has only complied in 15 of the 28 cases that have been completed in Sweden this year.

In Norway, the consumer board has often agreed with Norwegian Air that the technical issues with its planes were beyond the airline’s control. But it has recommended that passengers should get a 10% refund on their ticket if a Dreamliner aircraft was replaced due to maintenance problems with another type of aircraft of a lower standard.

“The Dreamliner has been marketed by Norwegian as a special experience, so we believe [passengers] are entitled to compensation even if they did arrive at their destination,” said Rolf Forsdahl, head of the Norwegian consumer board Transportklagenemnda.

So far Norwegian has not complied with the consumer board’s recommendations in any of these cases. A first case against the airline regarding the so called “Dreamliner experience” will likely be filed in an Oslo court next week, according to the Norwegian lawyer handling the case.

Write to Christina Zander at christina.zander@wsj.com

TRS TRavelright Norwegian 787 Dreamliner

 

Lawsuits loom for Norwegian’s boss

Angry Swedish passengers are taking embattled Norwegian Air to court in a string of looming legal claims over their rights to compensation for delays and cancellations. Norwegian has consistently blamed the travel disruptions hitting its new intercontinental routes on problems with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets, but a Swedish attorney specializing in aviation issues believes Norwegian must assume responsibility as well.

News in English.no July 28, 2014

 

Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos and his fellow executives have consistently refused to compensate passengers for most of the delays on its Dreamliner service. Now Kjos, who continues to plan more route expansion with the Dreamliners, is being challenged in court. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos and his fellow executives have consistently refused to compensate passengers for most of the delays on its Dreamliner service. Now Kjos, who continues to plan more route expansion with the Dreamliners, is being challenged in court. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

“No airline we’ve had anything to do with has treated its passengers so badly as Norwegian,” attorney Stephan Eriksson of the Swedish law firm Liman & Partners told newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend. “We actually have had better experience with the much-criticized Ryanair.”

Aftenposten reported that Eriksson will launch the first of 10 “cases in principle” in a Stockholm city court next month. The cases involve various passengers’ experiences on the long-haul routes Norwegian launched last year using Boeing’s brand-new Dreamliner aircraft. The routes were first hit by delayed delivery of the new Dreamliner jets and since have been plagued by myriad ongoing technical and mechanical problems with the Dreamliners that have left them unable to fly. Passengers have been stranded for many hours and even many days in far-off airports, or been severely delayed in travel from home.

Stories of Dreamliner trips that turned into nightmares have become common, with a Norwegian flight from Los Angeles to London delayed by more than 24 hours as late as Friday. Once again, Norwegian blamed the delays on “technical trouble” with the Boeing Dreamliner. A flight from Florida to Oslo was delayed by a record 44 hours hours in late June and passengers in Stockholm faced more than a full day’s delay a week ago when a Dreamliner bound for Los Angeles was grounded by “technical problems.” Many Norwegians, lured by the airline’s low fares, have faced ruined holidays, not least last Christmas and New Year, and the airline attracted a record number of complaints earlier this year.

Norwegian Air's Kjos, whose name has given rise to the expression "Kjos-stuck" for his airline's delayed passengers in Norway, continues to face challenges on many other fronts, like the legality of using Asian crews on Irish-registered Norwegian aircraft into the US. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

Norwegian Air’s Kjos, whose name has given rise to the expression “Kjos-stuck” to describe his airline’s delayed passengers in Norway, also continues to face challenges on many other fronts, like the legality of using Asian crews on Irish-registered Norwegian aircraft into the US. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

 

Since Norwegian isn’t a member of a major airline alliance, it can’t turn to other airline partners to help get its passengers to their destinations. Norwegian, which launched its ambitious new long-haul routes to Asia and North America with little if any back-up plans, has hired in older replacement aircraft in some cases of severe Dreamliner problems, but that also results in hours of delays or cancellations when replacement aircraft hasn’t been available.

Eriksson estimates that as many as 35,000 passengers have been affected by Norwegian’s failure to run flights as scheduled. Under EU rules, passengers qualify for compensation of as much as EUR 600 (around NOK 5,000) if delays last longer than three hours or flights are cancelled. Norwegian has mostly refused to pay such compensation, and won support for its refusals from an airline complaints board in Norway, claiming that the delays were the result of “extraordinary circumstances,” beyond the airline’s control. That’s what Eriksson intends to challenge in court on behalf of the thousands of passengers hit by severe delays and cancellations that suggest the “extraordinary” has now become ordinary.

“The problems have arisen because Norwegian gambled on launching long-distance service, which they had no experience with, and they set up a brutally tough flight schedule with a completely new type of aircraft that they clearly had not tested enough,” Eriksson told Aftenposten. “When the delays arise, they shove all blame over on Boeing and refuse to grant passengers the rights they can demand. This is really bad, and must be hurting Norwegian’s reputation.”

Eriksson referred to a court verdict against Italian airline Alitalia in 2008 that put strict limits on what kind of reasons airlines can use refuse to pay compensation. The 10 “cases in principle” that Eriksson will prosecute were chosen to reflect various problems, to test the limits of Norwegian’s position.

Norwegian executives led by their once-high-flying chief Bjørn Kjos continue to claim that they’re not obligated to pay compensation to passengers. “The technical problems we have experienced on the new long-distance aircraft have been beyond our control,” information chief Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson told Aftenposten. “Therefore we are not obligated to pay compensation under EU rules.” Jacobsson further said that Boeing is responsible for the maintenance of all of Norwegian’s Dreamliners, which already have hit Norwegian’s profits.

“It’s not correct that we have denied all compensation claims,” Jacobsson added. “We have paid out money to some of the passengers who have been affected and where we have seen that the problems have been tied to what we view as our responsibility.” The airline complaints board in Norway, meanwhile, turned down the vast majority of compensation claims from angry Norwegian passengers earlier this year on the basis that their delays were “unexpected and sudden,” and suggested that passengers on a low-fare carrier must accept that they “get what they pay for.”

Norwegian officials otherwise wouldn’t comment on the upcoming series of lawsuits.The first is due to get underway in the court known as Attunda Tingsrätt in Stockholm on August 29.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

 

Canceled Norwegian Air Shuttle Flight DY 7096 Strands Hundreds at LAX for Days

Canceled Norwegian Air Shuttle Flight Strands Hundreds at LAX for Days

Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 • Updated at 3:33 AM PDT
Hundreds of passengers on a Norwegian Air Shuttle flight DY7096 were forced to sleep in the baggage claim area of LAX both Wednesday and Thursday night as they waited to board a flight that was delayed multiple times and did not takeoff until Friday afternoon.
Passengers tweeted their frustration and one named Kim called NBC4 to describe what had disgruntled her and many others awaiting the Los Angeles to London flight.

20140726-133526-48926846.jpg

Delay with Norwegian DY7006 today July 15

Norwegian flight DY7006 from New York (JFK) July 15 to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) was delayed

 

Norwegian flight DY7006 was scheduled to arrive 11.15 am today. The flight was delayed and landed 3.35 pm, more than 4 hours delayed.

All passengers are entitled to 600 euros in flight delay compensation. 
Have you been affected by flight delays and want compensation?

Contact TRS Travelright and they will help you with your flight delay compensation quickly and easily.

TRS Travelright Norwegian-B787-Dreamliner

Flight delay with United Airlines UA069

United Airlines UA069 from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) to New York (EWR) July 15 was delayed  

 

UA069 was scheduled to depart at 9.05 am but did not depart until 3.55 pm, more than 6 hours delayed. All passengers have right to flight delay compensation with 600 euro.

 

Have you been affected by flight delays and want compensation?

Contact TRS Travelright and they will help you with your flight delay compensation quickly and easily.

 TRS Travelright united-airlines