A PIECE of legislation has been passed which will have a severe knock-on effect on the European aviation industry, a Portsmouth lawyer has warned.
Daniel Scognamiglio, of Blake Lapthorn solicitors, said the new legislation means airline passengers are now entitled to be reimbursed for hotels and meals ‘within reason’ if they are delayed for more than three hours.
But the crucial part of the new law, he added, was a rule passed last year which allows retrospective compensation claims.
That means thousands of airline passengers left stranded during the Icelandic ash cloud could now go back to their airline and ask to be reimbursed.
He said: ‘Just before Christmas there was a ruling that compensation claims had to be lodged within six years for England and Wales, and five for Scotland.’
Airlines have always had to pay compensation for flights that have been delayed, but this was capped at 600 Euros (£511) and did not include accommodation and food.
After hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano eruption, airlines faced calls to reimburse passengers stranded in far-flung places, and paid millions in compensation.
But budget airline Ryanair escalated a compensation claim from Denise McDonagh, from Ireland, all the way to the European Court in the hope that a ruling would be made that no airline need pay for board and lodging in such cases. She had been stranded at Faro in Portugal, and asked for the airline to pay her hotel costs.
Daniel added: ‘Ryanair was arguing that this was a super-extraordinary event and they shouldn’t have to pay.
‘But the European Court didn’t like that and it gave a customer-focused judgement allowing costs of hotels, sustenance to be paid, and because of the previous judgement, that goes back six years.’
Daniel added that many of the airlines were already paying compensation claims.
He added: ‘The best thing to do now is find your receipts and contact your airline if you think you have a claim.’