Etihad Airways: Can I claim compensation even if my final destination is not in the EU?
Thursday, September 27, 2018
A recent Court ruling, dated May 2018, states that if a flight delay occurs outside of the EU but the flight is part of a single booking that originated in an EU member state then you are entitled to compensation. This only applies if you’ve arrived in your final destination with a delay greater than 3 hours (connecting flights are taken into account). According to the ruling from May 2018, your rights are protected under Regulation EC 261/2004.
Unsure if you can claim? Check your flight immediately!
A successful claim for compensation: Etihad Airways as an example
Here you’ll find a real-world example of how we claim your compensation for a flight delay or cancellation even if it happened outside the EU.
At Flight-Delayed, we’ve successfully claimed compensation for a passenger that was on-board Etihad’s flight EY 0233 from Abu Dhabi to Islamabad. His trip, a single unit booking from Manchester to Islamabad, originated inside the EU and therefore was covered by the EU regulation. His first flight, from Manchester to Abu Dhabi, was operated without any problems and arrived on time. However, his second flight, from Abu Dhabi to Islamabad, was delayed for 4 hours and 10 minutes. When he arrived at Islamabad, he arrived with a total delay greater than 4 hours; and because his whole trip was a single unit booking, it meant that Etihad had transported him from London to Islamabad with a delay of 4 hours.
Even though Etihad refused to pay compensation several times, our team argued and presented the proof necessary to successfully claim the compensation that the passengers deserved. Etihad then agreed to pay the compensation, €600 per passenger!
Compensation for a flight delay or cancellation outside of Europe
You might now find yourself questioning what this means for your rights as a passenger. Don’t worry, we can explain it to you. Below are two different cases that will clarify how this precedent will expand your rights when travelling from, to and inside the European Union.
Scenario 1: Entitled to compensation
You’ve booked with Qantas Airways, under a single unit booking (i.e. XHQG7C), the following trip:
- First flight: QF 010 London to Perth. Scheduled departure at 10:00 and arrival at 10:10 the day after
- Second flight: QF 476 Perth to Melbourne. Scheduled departure at 12:45 and arrival at 18:15
Your flight from London takes off with a short delay of 15 minutes. However, the pilot makes up for the lost time and you arrive exactly on time. Great! Especially after being on one of the longest flights in the world. You still need to make that connection to finish your trip though. Unfortunately, you deboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner just to find out that your flight QF 476 has been delayed for two hours. You grab a cup of coffee and buy the latest New York Times, those two hours will go by in a heartbeat.
You arrive at your gate and see that everyone is waiting, you ask the crew what the issue is and you find out: there is a problem with the plane, some sort of technical issue and the aircraft needs some work. Eventually, Qantas Airways informs you that your flight has been delayed by two and a half hours.
You become even more frustrated. You think that if this delay had happened in London you’d be entitled to up to £530 in compensation. You feel it is kind of unfair that you booked your trip from London to Melbourne with the airline, and you are arriving late at your final destination due to a mistake made by the airline. But you are in luck since the European Court of Justice recently agreed with you and has set precedent in a court ruling.
As it turns out, your whole trip is considered a single contract. So, regardless of where exactly the delay happened, you’ve been delayed for more than 3 hours on your trip from London (inside the EU) to Melbourne (the final destination set in your single unit booking) and, therefore you are entitled to compensation. How much? Well, according to EC 261/2004, you’ll be getting €600!
Scenario 2: Not entitled to compensation
You’ve booked your flight from London to Boston with British Airways (i.e. booking reference XXQ5TO) and you’ve booked a second flight from Boston to Nashville with JetBlue (i.e. booking reference HI2T5T). Two different reservations and reference numbers.
- First Flight: BA 213 London to Boston. Scheduled departure at 11:15 and arrival at 13:30
- Second Flight: B6 1907 Boston to Nashville. Scheduled departure 15:00 and arrival 17:05
You’ve arrived at Heathrow on time and everything went as expected. Your flight was a quiet one and very enjoyable. No delay whatsoever and you were fond the movie that you saw. You reach Boston and, unfortunately, the crew that was in charge of operating your flight have surpassed their hour limit. A new crew needs to be flown in and you are left waiting for more than 3 hours. Unfortunately, you booked your ticket with JetBlue separately from your first British Airways flight. That means that your contracted service with British Airways started in London but finished in Boston. Sadly you are not entitled to compensation.
Can I claim compensation for a missed connection due to a delay that occurred within the EU?
A similar rule that applies to single unit bookings also applies to missed connections that happened because of a delay within a EU member state. In theory, this means that for example, if you are flying to from Paris to Johannesburg and stopping at Frankfurt in between, where your first flight to Frankfurt is delayed by two and a half hours, you may result in missing your connecting flight to Johannesburg. Essentially, this means you are entitled to compensation as you booked the journey in a single unit booking.
A similar rule that applies to single-unit bookings also applies to missed connections that happened because of a delay within an EU member state.
Another example: Flying from Paris to Johannesburg with a stopover in Frankfurt.
You are at Charles de Gaulle and see on the screen something worrisome. Your flight from Paris has been delayed by 2 hours (not enough in to claim compensation). Due to this delay, you miss your connecting flight in Frankfurt and have to spend the night in the German city. The next morning, you get on an alternative flight and arrive in Johannesburg about 12 hours later than scheduled. You had booked your whole trip with Lufthansa, all under a single reservation. That means that you have the right to claim compensation! As the airline is responsible for getting you from your original airport of departure to your final destination and the delay that is taken into account is the one at your final destination. Even if that is outside of the European Union.
How your passenger rights have been expanded
To conclude, these are the points on which the Court has set precedent:
- The airline is responsible for the whole trip in the contract of carriage (all the flights included in your booking and under one reference number or PNR)
- The whole booking falls under the European regulations if it originates in Europe or if it’s being operated by an EU airline and has an EU airport as the final destination.
- All connecting flights are covered
If you are still unsure of what this means and when you may be entitled to compensation, then make sure you check your flight. You’ll immediately find out whether you can claim compensation or not. You can later choose to submit your claim with Flight-Delayed, we will make sure and do everything we can to get your claim paid out. Our team of legal experts will check all the circumstances regarding your claim and will take your case to court if necessary, where we have a 98% success rate! All our services are cover by our 25% success fee which includes any possible legal fees.
Don’t let the airlines get away with not paying the compensation you deserve. With our assistance, they won’t be able to avoid their obligations. Don’t wait any longer and exercise your rights!