The Sneaky Way Airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair are Circumventing the Law
Here at AirHelp, we’re in the business of helping travelers. It’s not that we’re against airlines, we just feel that there needs to be added some more transparency to travelers rights. Some airlines are notorious for providing a bad customer service, dodgy terms of service and capricious ticket prices. In those situations, we try our best to make the experience following such circumstances as hassle free as possible. Unfortunately, some carriers try very hard to circumvent the laws that have been instituted by the countries in which they practice.
Recently cases in the UK have been held up because of a unique caveat that airlines like Easyjet, Ryanair and Jet2 have snuck into their contracts of carriage. We’ll present the facts and leave the rest up to you.
What’s the law?
In November 2012, the EUCJ ruled that the compensation measure laid down in Articles 5 and 7 of Regulation No 261/2004 falls “outside the scope of the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions.” Consequently, the two-year limitation referred to in Article 29 of the Warsaw Convention and in Article 35 of the Montreal Convention does not apply. Instead, the time limits ought to be determined by the national laws of each EU member state.
The law governing flight delays in the EU and UK is EC 261. This law outlines passengers rights in the event of a delay, overbooking or cancelled flight. The law leaves one thing up to the handling country to decide. This is the statute of limitations or how long EC 261 covers passengers. In the UK, the statute of limitations states that EC 261 covers passengers for up to 6 years after the occurrence of the aforementioned event. This means that for example if your flight has been delayed for over three hours, was overbooked or cancelled on an airline flying out of or into the UK then you can claim compensation for up to six years after the date of the flight.
How do airlines circumvent the law?
17.3 Limitation of Claims
Any action in court to claim damages and/or compensation must be brought within two years of the date of arrival of the aircraft at its destination, or the date on which the aircraft was scheduled to have arrived, or the date on which Your carriage by easyJet ceased. The method of calculating the period of limitation shall be determined by the law of the court where the case is heard.
15.2 LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Any right to damages and/or compensation shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within two years of the date of arrival at destination, or the date on which the aircraft was scheduled to arrive, or the date on which the carriage stopped. The method of calculating the period of limitation shall be determined by the law of the court where the case is heard.
32. Time limits
Any right to damages and/or compensation and/or any other relief whatsoever in relation to your booking shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within two years of the date of arrival at destination, or the date on which the aircraft was scheduled to arrive, or the date on which the carriage stopped.
This currently means that if you’re flying with airlines like Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2 you can only claim compensation for the last 2 years, and not the 6 year period, based solely on these airlines contract of carriage. This despite the statute of limitations law being six years in the UK.
Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as $680 in compensation if your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last three years.