TRAVEL CLINIC

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL - SIMONCALDER’S

Ques­tion: Last month, our flight from Can­cun to Manch­ester was de­layed nearly eight hours due to a bro­ken wind­screen on the plane.

Nat­u­rally, this de­lay caused some in­con­ve­nience. In­stead of an af­ter­noon de­par­ture and an early morn­ing ar­rival, we left Mex­ico very late in the evening and ar­rived in Manch­ester in mid-af­ter­noon.

We ap­plied to the air­line for com­pen­sa­tion of €600 (£530). But it re­jected the claim re­fer­ring to what it said was an of­fi­cial doc­u­ment re­gard­ing what counted as “ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances”, say­ing that dam­age dur­ing a pre­ced­ing flight got them off the hook.

Is this cor­rect, and is there an op­tion open to seek com­pen­sa­tion? Mark R An­swer: The Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity has a list of cir­cum­stances that count as “ex­tra­or­di­nary”, and there­fore air­lines do not need to pay com­pen­sa­tion.

Ex­cuses in­clude: “In-flight dam­age to the air­craft dur­ing the pre­ced­ing flight, caused by a for­eign-ob­ject, and which re­quires im­me­di­ate as­sess­ment and/or re­pair.”

If the cracked wind­screen was caused by a for­eign ob­ject — typ­i­cally a bird strike — then the air­line is en­ti­tled to refuse your claim. But the car­rier should pro­vide ev­i­dence to sub­stan­ti­ate its as­ser­tion that a for­eign ob­ject was re­spon­si­ble.

As­sum­ing it is al­lowed to de­cline pay­ment, there is an­other lit­tle-used av­enue which may en­able you to get rec­om­pense: the Mon­treal Con­ven­tion.

If a flight is de­layed for any rea­son, and a pas­sen­ger can demon­strate ac­tual fi­nan­cial loss, then a claim may suc­ceed.

But it will de­pend on ev­i­dence that the de­lay was more than sim­ply ex­as­per­at­ing. You must show it cost you money.

So if you ar­rived late for a fam­ily event, that would not be cov­ered; but a claim for lost wages might suc­ceed.

TROP­I­CAL PARADISE: Can­cun is a pop­u­lar Mex­i­can des­ti­na­tion

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