Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Time limits determined by law not T&Cs in claims against airlines

The Air Passenger Rights Regulation (No 261/2004) in its Article 16 leaves it to the Member States to regulate the enforcement of passengers' claims against the airlines when they are denied boarding, their flights get cancelled or delayed and the airlines don't provide compensation and assistance of their own will. In a previous case the Court of Justice of the EU established that the Member States may set the time limits for bringing actions to court against the airlines, as long as these time limits facilitate effective protection (case C-139/11 Joan Cuadrench Moré). In the UK this time limit has been set at 6 years (by the Supreme Court ruling in Dawson v Thomson Airways from last year), but some airlines, such as Ryanair, introduced into their standard terms and conditions a provision limiting their liability to 2 years. In a recent ruling against Ryanair the Manchester County Court declared such a standard term and condition not applicable. While the airlines may be outraged by this ruling (Ryanair loses flight delay court case), it does not surprise that a standard term and condition may not change to the detriment of consumers a mandatory time limit.

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