Some reflections regarding flight delays and cancelled flights
Finally Christmas Eve and time for some Christmas vacation. It has really been a turbulent year. Travelright started their business in February and the number of delayed flight passengers seeking Travelright help has literally exploded since then. I’m very impressed by Travelrights technical platform with IT systems and data bases. Their CEO Peder Nilsson has a clear vision of how Travelright will be present in all EU countries within end of 2015. It will be very exciting to follow their rapid expansion in Europe.
On behalf of Travelright I have issued law suits against almost all airlines flying to and from Sweden and I have settled with all except one, Norwegian.
Why Norwegian has chosen not to follow EU Regulation 261/2004 I don’t know but I do know in the long run they will fail. There is a fortune at stake for Norwegian. Travelright made an estimate that maybe 90.000 of Norwegian’s long haul passengers have demands of 600 euro after suffering flights delays to and from New York, Ft Lauderdale, Oakland , San Francisco, Los Angeles and Bangkok on more than 308 delayed flights from August 2013 to August 2014. The total claim amounts to 50 million euro or approximately one year’s profit before tax for Norwegian. It will be interesting to see how they will deal with this claim in their annual report for 2014. There was not a single word regarding passengers delay claims in their annual report for 2013 which really surprised me. How can they not deal with claims this size and at least comment upon them? Is that even legal?
A lot of other things have happened during 2014. A new English case from the UK Supreme Court Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar has clarified the ECJ case from 2008, Wallentin Hermann. It has now been established that technical errors not caused by product liability and that the airline did not detect and should not be able to detect are the airline’s responsability. The airlines therefore can no longer defend themselves with technical malfunctions.
The perhaps most well known flight delay case in Sweden, Trued Holmquist vs Norwegian in district Court of Attunda, Stockholm (the Charlotta case) is progressing towards trial in February 2015. Supported by Jet2.com vs Huzar the family in the Charlotta case has motioned for an intermediate verdict based upon the circumstances of the case. Norwegian in their turn has surprisingly motioned for a stay of proceedings awaiting the final outcome of the Dutch case van der Lans in the European Court of Justice. Such a stay would probably delay the Charlotta case for years. I work almost full time with Aviation matters and keep a fairly good track of what is going on in the various national Courts of the EU. I had not even heard of the van der Lans case though. Norwegian has continuously been blaming Boeing for their problems with the Dreamliner. That defense was very weak even before the Jet2.com vs Huzar and now probably totally shot out of the water. So the van der Lans maneouvre made me suspicious. I therefore contacted Travelrights colleagues in Holland, EuClaim. They assist delayed flight passengers in UK and the Netherlands. And Lo and Behold! The van der Lans case was a decision by a single lower Court judge at the Dutch Court Rechtsbank Amsterdam. Not even the judges in the Rechtsbank Amsterdam stayed any cases due to van der Lans. No other Courts in Holland did either, since no one believes that van der Lans will have any effect upon the consequences of the Jet2.com vs Huzar. I have therefore asked the Attunda District Court to disregard van der Lans and immediately rule in the Charlotta case awarding the Holmquist family their flight delay compensation. Soon to be followed…
The EU Commission already back in 2013 came with an amendement proposal to EU Regulation 261/2004 where they want to write in the right to flight delay compensation into the regulation and at the same time prolong the time limits for right to flight delay compensation from 3 hours to 7, 9 and 12 hours. The proposal har been objected in the EU Parliament and the Council. It remains to be seen what will be final outcome during 2015.
Finally I want to wish all flight passengers, delayed or not,
A Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!