Travellers are rejoicing at a ruling made by the European Court of Justice that airlines must compensate passengers for flight delays of more than three hours.
According to BBC News the judgement upholds the court’s earlier 2009 ruling, which was challenged by a group of airlines including – surprise, surprise – British Airways and Easyjet.
It means that passengers will be able to claim compensation of between 250 euros ($324US) and 600 euros ($777US), depending on the distance of the flight.
It’s great news for travellers – like myself – who have been left stranded for hours at airports due to delayed flights without so much as a complimentary cup of coffee for our troubles.
In fact, prior to 2009 passengers on European flights were only able to claim for meals and refreshments, two telephone calls and, if the flight was delayed overnight, hotel accommodation as well as transfers to and from the airport.
That’s a bit stingy; I hope they were long-distance phone calls at least.
To be honest, I can’t think of too many flights when I was living in London that ever departed on time. Sure, they were mostly delays of one hour or less, but still the frequency at which I was delayed was eerily consistent.
It was almost as if the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair didn’t give a crap when the flights left.
I remember one time I was on a Ryanair flight to Dublin, Ireland, and we were delayed because there were too many passengers on the flight; someone had actually boarded the flight without a ticket, so we had to sit there as the flight attendants went through the plane to check everyone’s tickets again.
“If someone is on this flight who’s not supposed to be, can you please make yourself known,” said the clueless flight attendant.
Or maybe I’m being unduly harsh.
The only flights that I’ve been on to be delayed three hours or more were in Australia (a Qantas flight from Sydney to Bangkok, Thailand) and Hong Kong (a Qantas flight to Auckland, New Zealand – not the airlines’ fault).
Oh sure, I know I’ve been lucky in the grand scheme of things. I have one friend in particular who seems to never be able to catch a break with flights being delayed or cancelled due to extreme weather (toxic ash cloud over Iceland/snow in the UK) or social upheaval (Egypt).
And despite repetitive delays I almost always travel with Easyjet and Ryanair just because it’s cheaper to do so than with other airlines – but that’s where they get us. They know they can treat us like crap and we’ll still keep coming back.
At least now they’ll have to cough up for long flight delays.
What’s the longest you’ve ever been delayed and what was the situation?