Technical defects no longer considered “extraordinary circumstances”

  • 14 Jul, 2014
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opened aircraft engine in the hangar

You could be forgiven for assuming that if your flight is delayed because of a technical hitch you will be entitled to free food and drink, accommodation and even financial compensation. However, as readers of our blog post on compensation will know, airlines have, up until now, been able to wriggle out of paying up if there have been “extraordinary circumstances”.

These had until very recently been deemed to include technical problems unless they had arisen due to lack of maintenance. In other words, if the cause of the delay could be proved to be out of the airline’s control, no compensation was due to the flying public, no matter how long the delay and despite the fact that the situation in other European countries was far more favourable for the passenger.

Now, however, Ronald Huzar, a passenger whose Jet2 flight from Malaga to Manchester in Oct 2011 was delayed by 27 hours, has sniffed victory, having seen the airline fail to sway the judge in the Court of Appeal.

Mr Huzar had initially had his claim for compensation turned down in Stockport County Court but was subsequently successful in his appeal at Manchester County Court. It was against this decision that Jet2 fought in the Appeal Court. This hearing concluded Mr Huzar’s lengthy battle for compensation and opened the floodgates for other passengers who have had their claims for compensation refused on the grounds of “extraordinary circumstances”.

Mr. Huzar’s flight had been delayed by a wiring defect in the fuel valve circuit which, according to Jet2, “could not have been prevented by prior maintenance or prior visual inspection. It was unexpected, unforeseen and unforeseeable and as such amounted to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.” Read More

Must-be-charged gadget advice is issued by UK airports

  • 08 Jul, 2014
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man hands touching smartphone bright background, closeup

Update (10 July 2014): The extra security checks are now extended to all passengers flying into or out of the UK, not just the passengers boarding the US flights. It is advised that all electronic and electrical devices in hand luggage must be sufficiently charged to be switched on.

8 July 2014: Two major UK airports – Heathrow and Manchester – are advising the passengers to make sure all electronic devices they carry as hand baggage are charged before travel if they are taking a flight to the United States, as a result of a request from the US to implement enhanced security measures.

The new rules for those flying to the US state that “if your device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.”

This check – just before boarding the plane – will be carried out by airline staff at boarding gates.

If you are flying with BA, you may be made to rebook if you happen to carry an uncharged device. Click here to read the full update from British Airways.

According to the BBC, passengers flying to the US may be advised to remove relevant chargers from their hold luggage at check-in so that they can top up carried-on gadgets if necessary.

Having an uncharged electronic device (such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, e-book reader, etc.) could leave thousands of travellers with the dilemma of leaving their device behind or not being allowed on board their flight.

Airports are in the process of getting plans in place to deal with this new policy; therefore, delays and longer waiting times at security checks are expected.

We strongly recommend that all passengers travelling to America ensure their phones are fully charged and keep their chargers with them at all times.

A Guide to Sleeping at the Airport

  • 07 May, 2014
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Man sleeping at the airport

It is not only budget-conscious backpackers who find themselves having to sleep at the airport. Recent storms, the volcanic ash crisis of 2010 and the UK air traffic computer malfunction late last year have all left travellers in the lurch, wondering how on earth they were going to manage to sleep.

It is against the law in some countries, frowned upon by many airports and could be downright dangerous in some places so the following advice comes with a strong caveat: sleep at the airport at your own risk, particularly if you are a lone female!

Some airports have a supply of camp beds for stranded travellers, but they are limited in number so be prepared for the worst case scenario if you know the weather is bad or there are other extenuating circumstances that mean you may have to rough it for the night. Read More

Know Your Rights: When Your Flight is Delayed

  • 28 Feb, 2014
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International Airport Board Close-Up displaying flight is delayed

There is nothing more annoying than arriving at the airport to discover that your flight has been significantly delayed. Don’t take it lying down: read on to see whether you are entitled to assistance such as free calls, free food and free accommodation or even a cash sum in compensation.

In practice anyone flying out of the UK will be protected by the Denied Boarding Regulations. This is because these regulations apply to anyone flying on an EU-based airline (including budget carriers) OR anyone flying with a non-EU-based airline from an EU airport (i.e. all UK airports). Anyone flying from a non-EU airport on a non-EU carrier is not entitled to the same level of assistance and you will have to look at the airline’s Condition of Carriage to see what their duty of care is.

Requirements

Whether or not you are entitled to anything depends on the length of your flight and the length of your delay. You must fall within one of the following categories:

– A flight of 932 miles or less with a delay of at least 2 hours
– A flight of more than 932 miles within the EU with a delay of at least 3 hours
– A flight outside the EU of between 932 and 2,174 miles with a delay of at least 3 hours
– Any other flight with a delay of at least 4 hours

So long as you fall into one of the above categories you are entitled to:

– Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes
– Free food and drink depending on the time of day
– Free hotel accommodation and transport between there and the airport if the flight is delayed to the following day

Read More

A List of UK Airports Arrivals / Departures Boards

  • 19 Dec, 2013
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International Airport Board Close-Up with Delayed Flights at UK Airports

With the busiest travel period approaching and severe weather forecasts suggesting there might be trouble, we thought it might be useful to provide our users with a full list of UK’s leading airports arrivals / departures boards. Come rain or shine, always check the arrivals / departures information before heading off to the airport, whether collecting an arriving guest or taking a flight yourself.

A-Z list of UK’s airport live flight information links

Aberdeen Airport Arrivals | Departures

Belfast International Live Flight Information

Birmingham Airport Arrivals | Departures

Blackpool Airport Live Flight Information 

Bournemouth Airport Live Flight Information

Bristol Airport Arrivals | Departures

Cardiff Airport Live Flight Information

East Midlands Airport Live Flight Information

Edinburgh Airport Arrivals | Departures

Exeter Airport Arrivals | Departures Read More